Car Repossession Attorney Florida
When your vehicle is repossessed, you might not know exactly why it occurred, but you can definitely recover from car repossession by taking steps to take care of your transportation needs and protect your credit from any further damage.
Here are the top steps and debt solutions related to vehicle repossession that we recommend:
Ask why your vehicle was repossessed
You probably know exactly why your vehicle was repossessed if you’ve fallen behind on your car payments. Other times, it’s not super obvious why your car was repossessed.
In some states, your car can be repossessed if you don’t have insurance stipulated in a loan or lease contract, since this counts as a default. We recommend calling your lender right away to clarify why your car was repossessed and how you can move forward.
Find out if you can get your car back
A vehicle repossession company or bank will often allow you to get your vehicle back if you pay off your loan in full, along with all of the costs associated with repossession before your car is sold at auction. You can often reinstate your car loan and work out a new payment plan as well.
The vehicle repossession might not be removed from your credit report in these cases, but your new payments will typically be reflected if you choose to make a deal with your lender. However, your new payments will not be reflected if you buy your car back at auction. Before you try to get your car back, you should consider the following questions:
- If I got my car back, would I be able to afford gas, maintenance, and insurance? If you get your car back and get into an accident while uninsured or neglect crucial repairs, you could land in an even more tricky financial situation. And if you are unable to pay for gas, you can’t get from one place to another anyway. Getting your car back might not be the best option if you can’t afford these basic vehicle expenses.
- Do I have access to a carpool or affordable public transit? Getting to work by bus, train, or carpool might be a better option than reinstating your car laon or paying off your balance and repo expenses in full.
- Do I plan to declare bankruptcy? If you are way behind on all of your regular bills, you are probably already thinking about filing for bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy before the repo agency or bank sells your vehicle, you might be able to keep your car and work out a payment plan to catch up on the payments. This is a great time to speak to a bankruptcy attorney about whether this is a good option, depending on the kind of bankruptcy you’re filing.
Know your rights by hiring a car repossession attorney in Florida
Even when your vehicle is towed away, you still have some rights and protections, including:
- The repo agency or lender can repossess the vehicle but not the items inside the vehicle. If you left your laptop in your vehicle, the lender or repo agency is not allowed to keep or sell the laptop. In some states, the repo agency or bank might be required to give you a list of items inside your vehicle and tell you how you can get them back. You might need to ask if that is not the case. This typically doesn’t apply to accessories you have installed in the car, like an audio system or new rims.
- Your property cannot be damaged in the process. For example, if your vehicle is locked in your garage, a repo agency is not allowed to break down your garage door to retrieve your car. We recommend contacting a car repossession attorney in Florida if you think that your rights might have been violated during the repossession process.
Ask if you still owe money if your car is sold
You might assume that you don’t owe any more money on your car if a repo agency or bank repossesses your car and sells it at an auction, but that’s not always the case, unfortunately. For example, if a bank gave you a $10,000 car loan, you still owed $9,000 on it when you defaulted, and the car sold for $7,000 at auction, you could still owe $2,000 on the vehicle, plus repossession expenses in many cases. This amount is known as the deficiency balance.
Deficiency balances are very common, especially if your vehicle loan was for a new car. You can often lose about 10 percent of your car’s value just by driving it out of the car lot where you bought it. That being said, the repo company or lender has the obligation to conduct the sale in a reasonable manner, so if your car is sold for a price that is much less than the fair market value, then you can dispute the deficiency balance in court. We recommend working with a car repossession attorney in Florida to dispute the deficiency balance in court.
If you end up completely ignoring the deficiency balance, your account might be sent to collections, and the lender can sue you for the deficiency balance, as long as the debt is within the statute of limitations. Accounts that are in collections can stay on your credit report for about seven years, so it’s best to pay off the reminder to reduce the damage to your credit if you have the money to do so.
Work on improving your credit
Lastly, we recommend working on improving your credit, since a repossession can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. A huge part of restoring your credit after repossession is just about time, but you can also actively restore your credit by paying off other debt and paying all of your bills in a timely manner. By the time your repossession and negative history come off your record, your credit score will be in a much better place than before.
We recommend speaking to a car repossession attorney in Florida at the Van Horn Law Group to learn more about debt solutions related to vehicle repossession.
Has Your Vehicle Been Repossessed? We’re Here to Help
No one ever wants to have their vehicle repossessed, but we certainly understand how difficult it can be to remain debt-free and stay on top of our financial obligations. That’s why the Van Horn Law Group should be your first call if you ever run into trouble with vehicle repossession. Simply start the process by filling out the Free Case Evaluation form on this page.
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