If your car is wrongfully repossessed, it can be really upsetting to even think of that tow truck taking it away. We use our cars every day to get to work, school, go grocery shopping and attend medical appointments. Falling behind on car payments can be difficult, but it can be even more scary to find your car missing or being repossessed. Repossessions usually happen at night because it is preferred by a repossession agent to avoid any interaction with the owner. This helps to minimize the possibility of a conflict during the process of repossession.
In the state of Florida there are laws in place that protect consumers from wrongful auto repossession. These laws provide guidance on consumer rights and how lenders must act if they decide to take back your vehicle. If you believe that your car was wrongfully repossessed, our experienced team of attorneys can help you get justice and reclaim your vehicle. We will work with you to investigate the situation and build a strong case so that you receive a fair outcome, including getting back your personal items that were in the vehicle and fixing negative information with the credit bureaus. Our goal is to ensure that the process is handled properly and that your rights are fully respected throughout every step. Please contact our office today so we can get started.
Can I get my car back ASAP?
Yes it is possible, please contact our office so we can consult with you about the possibility of getting your car back.
Can I sue for a wrongful repo?
Most likely yes, we need more information from you to put together a case.
Do I need a lawyer/attorney to help with my wrongful repossession situation?
Yes! The car loan company and repo company both have lawyers, you need one too if you want to win!
What is a “wrongful repossession”?
In Florida, if you have missed payments on your payment history or violate the financing agreement, auto loans or finance company with a security interest in your vehicle that can repossess it. There is no requirement for the company to send you a pre-repossession notice. The repossession must be done by a licensed “recovery agent” who is trained to carry out vehicle repossession, but they cannot use violence or force to do so. Wrongful repossession occurs when there is a breach of peace during the voluntary repossession process.
Repossession agents, who are also known as the repo man or men, are legally permitted to seize your car without prior notice as long as they can do it peacefully in accordance with Florida law. However, they are not allowed to enter your home without permission or force their way in. Additionally, they cannot break any locks to reach the vehicle. Repo companies are not allowed to use physical force or deception when retrieving the car, so they usually try to take the car without directly facing the owner to prevent any disturbance.
Examples of wrongful repossessions are:
- A case of mistaken identity occurred during the repossession where the wrong vehicle was taken. This is a common mistake made by auto lenders and repo agents, usually due to administrative errors or misidentification of the intended vehicle. It is considered a wrongful repossession and may warrant legal action.
- If you have evidence of making timely payments and your vehicle has still been repossessed, it is considered wrongful. Legal help can be taken in such a scenario.
- The repossession process included a violation of the peace.
A breach of the peace may occur in several situations, such as:
- Bodily harm or threat thereof. This can be as minor as grabbing your keys or pushing you out of the way.
- Trespass. The repo agent cannot enter a restricted area or open your garage or gate if they were locked.
- Repossession over objection. If you protest the repossession, the repo agent has to stop.
As the vehicle owner, you do not have to open a garage or move any vehicle that is blocking the repossession agents from carrying out their duties. Additionally, you are not obliged to unlock the vehicle that is being repossessed.
Florida law requires the recovery agent to return your personal or professional items found in the repossessed car or other valuable item. However, you may need to pay a small fee for getting them back. If the recovery agent fails to return these items, the individuals involved in the repossession may face criminal charges for petit or grand theft.
What happens after the repossession company takes your personal property?
In Florida, repossession companies are allowed to take a person’s personal property if they default on their car loan. However, the law requires these companies to follow certain procedures consumer laws and guidelines in order for the process to be legal. After the vehicle is taken, it is important for borrowers to know what happens next.
The first step after a repossession is that the lender will sell the item at an auction or other event. The proceeds from this sale will usually go towards paying off any outstanding balance or debt owed on the loan balance. If there is still money owed after the sale, then it is up to the borrower to cover those costs. In some cases, lenders may offer repayment plans or settlements in order to help borrowers with any remaining debts.
If wrongful repossession occurs in Florida, borrowers have certain rights. They are able to contact the company that took their property and ask for a return of the item or compensation if payment for it is not available. If this does not work, they can file a complaint with the state’s Office of Financial Regulation or pursue a civil lawsuit against the repossession company. This type of case may require legal assistance from an experienced lawyer who is knowledgeable about these types of situations.
In cases where wrongful repossession happens in Florida, borrowers should understand their rights and take action when necessary in order to protect themselves. It is important to obtain legal advice before filing any complaints or launching any type of litigation court order to ensure that all proper procedures are taken and that the necessary evidence is collected. Doing so can help ensure that any potential claims are successfully addressed and resolved.
Remedies for wrongful repossession
If a finance company or their recovery agent takes illegal or wrongful actions during the repossession process, they may lose their legal rights to repossess a vehicle or collect on your loan payments. Moreover, if any illegal or considered wrongful repossession or actions occur, you may have the right to receive compensation or get your car back.
Can I sue for wrongful repossession?
You may have several actions for the recovery of money damages for a wrongful repossession:
Statutory damages: In Florida, there are different options to recover money damages for a wrongful repossession. One of these options is through statutory damages, which are determined by adding the finance charges of the loan from the loan company and 10% of the cash price of the vehicle. For instance, if the finance charges were $5,000 and the cash price was $20,000, then the 10% amounts to $2,000. Therefore, statutory damages awarded would be $7,000. In addition to statutory damages, you may be entitled to the following:
Damages for loss of use of vehicle: Did you have to rent a car? Take Ubers?
Pain and suffering: How painful and traumatic was the wrongful repossession? Were you injured? Did you have to seek medical attention?
Loss of wages caused by repossession: Did you miss work or lose any other financial opportunities due to the wrongful repossession?
Was your vehicle damaged: If so, you would be entitled to recover from the finance company the cost of repair of you vehicle.
What can I do to avoid repossession if my auto loan is in default?
The first and obvious answer is to be careful of biting off more than you can chew when taking out the auto loan. However, we all understand that life happens and that monthly payments that we thought that we could afford have become unmanageable due to a change in our financial situation. In such instances, contacting the finance company and staying in touch with them can go a long way in preventing a sudden and unexpected repossession.
Can I get my car back?
It it not unrealistic for the consumer to have the repossessed vehicle returned. However, this depends on many factors, the most important of which is the credit report worthiness of the borrower. In any event, the consumer would be required to pay the costs of the repossession agency and any other related late fees or other costs.
Repossession Laws in Florida
There are several repossession statutes in Florida.
Call us for a free consultation
Call or text us for to get a free consultation at our law firm with an Florida Wrongful Car Repossession Attorney. We are here to help you get the justice that you deserve. We understand how difficult it can be to deal with wrongful vehicle repossessions, and we are here to provide you with the best legal advice and representation so that your rights are protected. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to helping our clients through this difficult process. If you’re still undecided, please take a look at our many great reviews.