Repossession of a vehicle or other property can be immensely frustrating for anyone involved. Still, when something is wrongfully repossessed, it can be not only an inconvenience, but also a legal matter.
For many consumers, the thought of taking on a large lender or finance company is daunting, to say the least. Mistakes were made, but repossession companies are not always forthcoming when it comes to admitting them and putting them right.
Fortunately, you do not need to challenge illegal repossession alone. At Bell Law, LLC, we specialize in representing consumers that have not received the level of service they should expect. Losing personal property without cause certainly fits the bill, and we are here to support you if and when you need to challenge wrongful repossession.
Challenge Wrongful Repossession With Bell Law, LLC
If something that legally belongs to you under an ongoing agreement has been taken away by finance companies, you need a wrongful repossession attorney.
The first step is to establish that wrongful repossession has taken place. The vast majority of vehicle repossessions are completely legal, with both the lender and the repossession company acting within the boundaries of the law. However, if you have kept up monthly payments on an auto loan agreement or otherwise operated according to your contract with a finance company, they might be in breach.
Whether you are sure that you are in the right, or would like further insight into your legal rights and how they apply to your unique case, we invite you to speak to a wrongful Repossession lawyer from our firm.
Contact our law office today for a free consultation and initial case evaluation at 816-281-0649.
How A Specialist Attorney Can Help With Wrongful Repossessions
First and foremost, a consumer lawyer can help you understand where your case stands and how the actions of repossession companies may have broken the law. They can also serve as the catalyst to ensure that you take action. Even if you’re convinced that your vehicle was illegally repossessed, taking action can be daunting and easy to put off.
Part of the legal help we provide involves taking action on your behalf where required. We can help evaluate the case and pinpoint exactly where the law has been broken as part of the repossession process. Our team will work diligently to gather evidence and can communicate with both the lender and repossession company on your behalf.
While it is possible for wrongful repossession cases to end up in court, it may not necessarily need to go that far. No matter the size of the finance companies involved, it can make sense to settle without a judge’s involvement in the face of indisputable evidence.
Through a combination of experience and expertise, your lawyer will ensure your rights are respected, state and federal law is observed at all times and that you receive a favorable outcome to your case.
How Wrongful Repossessions Happen
In some cases, you will have deliberately set a budget, made sure your agreement with the relevant company is affordable and made a point of keeping up repayments. As far as you’re concerned, everything is in order, and you have no idea how vehicle repossession could have occurred.
While cases of this nature inevitably involve the lender or repo agent being in the wrong, there are a number of potential causes.
The Repossession Agent Fails to Follow Proper Procedures
Even those with limited legal knowledge understand that a finance company cannot order a Repossession on a whim, and there are certain procedures that all involved must follow.
Specific regulations vary by state. In Bell Law’s native Missouri, it is unlawful to carry out auto repossession without providing the borrower with a repossession notice at least twenty days before any enforcement action is carried out.
The rules can vary in some cases. For example, the requisite notice period is different if the borrower has already defaulted on the loan agreement twice. Your attorney will be able to advise on the specifics of your situation, and it is vital to provide all relevant information to determine where each party stands. Past due payments might not justify repossession, but they can play a part in the evidence gathering process.
While just about everything involving credit bureaus and lending in general is digitized and automated, mistakes can still happen. However, if such a mistake leads to the repossession of property from the wrong person, or repossession of incorrect property, it can still qualify as wrongful repossession.
Of course, there may be more significant issues involved, such as identity theft. This can have extensive legal ramifications and will often require further intervention from your attorney.
Breach of Contract
While commonly associated with a vehicle, wrongfully repossessed property can be an issue spanning more than just cars, and a breach of contract can take place on either side of the agreement. A company might decide that they value possession of private property more than whatever the regular payments are worth. That can lead to them disregarding the agreement and attempting to repossess property on the basis that the borrower might not challenge it.
Challenging a Repossession Company Over Wrongful Repossession
Every case is different and some will undoubtedly be more challenging than others, but the process of tackling wrongful repossession starts with speaking to an attorney, then gathering evidence. As a contractual agreement, you’ll have access to various documents that prove your case, including some that the lender may not have access to.
For example, while you and the lender will both have access to the loan agreement and contract, only you can supply a bank or credit card statement proving that payments have been made on time and according to the agreement made.
Your lawyer will work through this evidence to identify any breaches of the law or consumer rights that have taken place.
With this evidence in hand, your lawyer will then help you decide how to proceed and file a legal claim on your behalf. They will help you decide on the appropriate court to file with and will also be able to give you an idea of the compensation you can expect to receive.
Negotiation and Potential Settlement
While the case is filed with a relevant court, that does not necessarily mean you’ll have to face repossession agents in front of a judge – although your attorney will be there to support you if it comes to it. Instead, with your permission, your lawyer will open a dialogue with the relevant finance company or repo agent to attempt to reach a settlement. The goal is to reach a settlement that suits all parties, and may involve the return of your vehicle, the resumption of the existing agreement with continued car payments, a refund of late fees and more.
Additional Factors in Wrongful Repossession Cases
The nature of a wrongful repossession can further complicate each case. For example, suppose repo agents used physical force to carry out the repossession, resulting in injury or damage to personal items. In that case, they might be not only liable for wrongful repossession but also additional charges from the local police department, such as breach of the peace.
The use of physical force and violence constitutes an illegal repossession in most states, regardless of the validity of the repossession itself, and may breach your constitutional rights. No court order enables a car repossession agent to threaten lenders or damage personal property belonging to them or a family member. If you have suffered in this manner, the repossession agents are clearly in breach of the law, and you should seek guidance from a legal professional.
Going to Trial
If you and your repossession lawyer cannot reach an agreement with the relevant parties, your case will go to trial. There, the same lawyer will represent you and make a case before a judge. If successful, you can expect to receive at least the value of the repossessed property, together with further damages for further financial losses and any emotional distress or inconvenience caused as a result.
Your attorney will also help you navigate further issues that arise during the case. For example, when a repossession company takes ownership of property, they will often seek a private sale to recover the money owed. If the purchase price fails to cover the outstanding amount, the company might seek a deficiency judgment. This signs a deficiency balance into law, indicating that the borrower must still cover the shortfall, even though they are no longer in possession of the car.
If you have received a deficiency order before your court date, rest assured that you do not need to consider filing bankruptcy and won’t need to appoint a bankruptcy attorney. Instead, your repossession lawyer will work to ensure that the judgment is cleared and that your balance with the finance company is brought up to date.
After Your Wrongful Repossession Case
Once the case is settled, your repossession lawyer can help you to fix anything that was affected by the initial wrongful repossession, such as any damage to credit reports.
This can be a time-consuming process as putting a car loan right does not always account for potential knock-on effects. For example, you might suffer from increased interest rates on other borrowings due to payment issues with your car appearing on your credit report.
At Bell Law, we are committed to ensuring that clients do not suffer from wrongful repossession. We will do everything we can to ensure that you have the support you need to address both direct and indirect consequences of the illegal repossession process.
Speak To a Repossession Lawyer from Bell Law, LLC Today
Our law office aims to ensure that consumers never suffer unfairly as a result of a wrongfully repossessed car or other personal property. We will aggressively defend your consumer rights and ensure that all parties respect and adhere to repossession law.
If a finance company has taken back property and you believe they have breached local or federal law in any way in order to do so, our team wants to hear from you. Not only can we help put things right, but we can also ensure that the repossession company understands that there are specific penalties for those that choose to ignore the regulations that govern their activities.
Suppose we can help you receive restitution to cover your losses, and ensure that other Missouri residents never need to go through something similar with a repossession company. In that case, we consider that a big win and supremely beneficial to the community.
Whether you have stayed on top of payments since the moment you drove off the car lot, have a dispute over the due date cited as the reason for repossession, are worried you might have to file bankruptcy as a result of an auto repossession or anything else that you believe may have made for an illegal repossession, we are here to support you.
Call us now for a free consultation to understand your circumstances, legal options and next steps at 816-281-0649.