As part of our Auto Fraud cases, people contact our office all the time about defective cars they purchased. We also receive phone calls about vehicles being repossessed. The car owner fell on hard times and stopped paying their car loan. As such, the bank sent a repossession company to take back the financed vehicle. Most people think they don’t have any legal recourse. After all, they stopped paying on their financing. However, there are laws in Pennsylvania that a bank must follow in order to legally repossess your vehicle.
The owner usually calls us to tell us that his/her car was repossessed from their driveway, while they were at work, etc. Most of the time, they simply want to know whether it is legal from the repossessor to take their car that way. Repossessions are a hard area of law because, with certain limitations, a repossessor can take back a car by almost any means . . . as long as it doesn’t breach the peace. That doesn’t, however, mean you don’t have any legal rights. First, the person repossessing the vehicle cannot threaten you in any way. However, the physical threat cases are far and few. The better cases involve a repossession letter.
The #1 right you have, that is often violated, is the sending of the repossession letter from the bank.
Under Pennsylvania law, when your vehicle is repossessed, the bank must send you a letter. This letter must notify you that your vehicle was repossessed, tell you where you vehicle is, tell you how much you have to pay to reinstate your loan, and tell you have many days you have to retrieve your personal items from the vehicle before the vehicle is sent out for auction. If that letter is not sent to you in a reasonable amount of time, the bank has violated the law.
If your vehicle was repossessed, and you did not receive a letter, give our office a call. We need to make sure your current address is the same as your address when you took out the loan. If so, and you still didn’t receive the letter, we may be able to help.