Fort Lauderdale Auto Repossession Lawyer
Serving Miami & Fort Lauderdale - Call (844) 344-4813!
There is currently over $1.2 trillion dollars of outstanding automobile
debt in the US. Many economists are anticipating an upcoming bubble similar
to the subprime mortgage crisis that hit in 2009. With more than $23 billion
dollars in vehicle loans that are at least 30 days old, the current rate
of pending default is higher than it has ever been. Whether your debt
just got out of hand and you can no longer afford your car payment, or
an unscrupulous dealer approved you for a car loan that was beyond your
means to keep up with, under Florida law and depending on the contract
you signed, if you are as little as 30 days past due on your car payment
you may be subject to having it repossessed without any notice.
Statistically 9 out of 10 adults use their cars for transportation to and
from work. Having your car repossessed or the threat of repossession is
extremely stressful. Unfortunately there is no formal judicial process
required to repossess a car in Florida, as well as no legal requirement
that you have to be notified prior to your car being repossessed. Nevertheless,
there are several laws that need to be adhered to, which are often broken,
as well as several options available to you if your car has been repossessed.
Some of the laws that are frequently broken while carrying out a repossession are:
Recovery Agent: Any individual that performs repossession services in Florida must have
the proper licensing to do so. Licensing may be denied due to criminal
history, mental illness, or the inability to show good moral character.
Frequently the people who are conducting the repossessions, especially
in such a hot bed for automobile repossessions in Miami and Fort Lauderdale,
either lack the proper licensing requirements or have had their licenses expired.
Recovering Agency: In addition to the Recovery Agent, the Recovering Agency that they work
for also must maintain valid licensing with the state of Florida.
Breach of the Peace: Licensed recovery agents are lawfully permitted to repossess automobiles
only provided that there is no breach of the peace. Countless stories
abound of rogue repo men that have threatened harm, used violence, broken
personal property, repossessed cars with children still inside, and even
killed people in the process of repossessions. Recovery agents are forbidden
from carrying a firearm while carrying out a repossession, even if they
have a license to do so, and in the event of a confrontation they are
required to retreat.
Personal Property: All personal property must be completely and accurately accounted for,
and within 5 working days after repossession the debtor must be provided
with written notice of the location of their personal items as well as
the procedure for claiming them. Furthermore, the debtor must be notified
by mail (with proof of mailing or certified mail) of the intent to dispose
of their property at least 45 days prior to the disposing of personal property.
Notification of Sale: At least 10 days prior to the sale the lender shall notify the borrower
of the date, time and place of the sale, as well as provide them with
a written accounting of amount due on the loan. The lender must permit
the borrower to pay whatever is due and redeem the vehicle prior to its
being sold. Furthermore, the borrower is allowed to purchase the vehicle
at the sale.
Commercially Reasonable Sale: Since the borrower is ultimately liable for the amount due on the loan
it is forbidden for the lender to sell the vehicle at a price that is
unreasonable or far below market value. At times repossessed cars are
sold at rigged auctions where the prices paid are substantially lower
than what the car is really worth, resulting in the buyer being stuck
with a deficiency judgment for the difference in the amount owed. This
practice is commonplace and illegal.
Excess Proceeds: In the event that the vehicle winds up getting sold for more than what
the borrower owes, all of the additional proceeds must be returned to
the borrower within 30 days of the sale.
In addition to the above, it is not uncommon that the purported car lender
is no longer entitled to enforce the loan. Just like the subprime mortgage
crisis in 2009, almost every single auto loan in the US has been securitized,
packaged and sold off on the secondary market. Therefore the people that
are repossessing your car may not be entitled to do so.
What makes Loan Lawyers unique amongst the majority of consumer law firms
is that where others will often rush to put their clients in bankruptcy,
we use bankruptcy strategically and only as a last resort. In fact we
have been able to help thousands of clients get out of debt, and even
recover money due to violations of state and federal law, without the
need to file bankruptcy.
If you have fallen behind on your car payments and are worried about your
car being repossessed or if your car has already been repossessed call
Loan Lawyers today at (844) FIGHT-13 (344-4813) to schedule a free consultation
with one of our experienced attorneys to find out what your rights are
and how we may be able to help you. We serve clients throughout Miami,
Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, and all of South Florida.