In early 2022, Kristen Jennings, a Missouri resident, filed suit against American Credit Acceptance, an auto lender, and JHG Mid-American Services, Inc. Most crucially, her lawsuit alleged that American Credit Acceptance, a major auto lender, retained a tow-truck company to repossess her Dodge Charger even though the vehicle was paid off in full.
Ms. Jennings’ Case
In her lawsuit, Ms. Jennings alleges that, just after midnight one day, she noticed that her prized Charger was missing from the driveway. Naturally, Ms. Jennings called the police, assuming her car had been stolen by a traditional auto thief—i.e., a criminal person. Because Ms. Jennings’ neighbor, the lawsuit alleges, maintained a security camera, Ms. Jennings was later able to determine that her car had been towed away.
The lawsuit describes a situation in which Ms. Jennings contacted her (former) lender, American Credit Acceptance, to inquire whether it had repossessed/stolen her Charger; the lender told her it had not. So, Ms. Jennings alleges, she had to call numerous tow lots and pay to be driven around town in a futile search for her vehicle. Eventually—a couple days or so after the Charger had been stolen—Ms. Jennings, according to her lawsuit, found out from the police that the Charger had been repossessed. Thus, Ms. Jennings alleges, she refocused on American Credit Acceptance even though she not only hadn’t defaulted on her payments but also didn’t owe any payments at all. Ms. Jennings alleges that, when she was finally able to get her car back, the Charger appeared to drive differently from before and its check-engine light was on.
Ms. Jennings’ lawsuit alleges claims for abuse of process, violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA), wrongful repossession, conversion (similar to theft), negligence, and civil conspiracy (between American Credit Acceptance and the tow-truck company). Ms. Jennings’ lawsuit seeks monetary relief, including for attorneys’ fees.
Bell Law, LLC
While Ms. Jennings’ case, as one alleging that her vehicle was taken by a lender even though the car had been entirely paid off, may be relatively rare, it’s likely not the only one. And there can be no reasonable question of whether unlawful repos generally occur persistently, because it’s apparent that they do. If you believe that your car or other property was illegally repossessed, you should consider contacting an attorney right away. Bell Law, PC will be happy to help: you may call us at (816) 886-8206 or reach us via our online form.