Has your vehicle been repossessed by a Buy-Here-Pay-Here dealership?
Repossessions are hard on folks. You’ve lost your car. You’ve lost the money that you’ve put into it. Your credit has taken a hit. Maybe your neighbors or co-workers witnessed the whole thing and it’s embarrassing. Simply getting a car repossessed is hard enough. But sometimes dealers and repo companies make it worse by not respecting your rights during and after the repossession.
Contrary to what the car sales and finance industries would have you believe, you have certain rights when your car has been repossessed. You have the right to be notified of what they’re going to do with your car, and you have the right to redeem it if you can afford it. If they sell your car, they can’t profit from the sale of your vehicle.
That’s right. If a car dealer or finance company sells your car, they can’t keep any money they make over the balance due on the vehicle.
Here’s an example:
You buy a car whose cash price is $10,000 with $600 of taxes and fees. So the total price is $10,600.
You pay a $2,000 down payment and agree to $300/month for 48 months. So the amount financed is $8,600.
After paying for 6 months, you miss a payment and the car gets repossessed. At the time of the repo, the balance due on the car is $8,200, and the creditor paid the repo man $300 to repo the car. Your balance is now $8,500.
The creditor sells the car. If the creditor sells the car for $8,000, then you owe $500. [$8,500 – $8,000 = $500].
However, if the creditor sells the car for $9,000, then the dealer owes you $500. [$8,500 – (-$9,000) = -$500].
This seems like common sense, right? But believe it or not, used car dealerships break this rule all the time.
Small used car dealers and buy-here-pay-here dealerships usually don’t sell their repossessed vehicles at an auction. Rather, they put them back on their lot and sell them to another customer. So if you paid $2000 down on a $10,000 car that was repossessed 6 months later, it is extremely unlikely that the car has lost $2,000 in value during that time. But when they go to sell the car to another customer, they want to make as much money as possible by selling it for as much as they can. If they sell it for more than the amount you owe at the time it was repossessed, then they have to pay you the money they made off the second sale.
Now, it’s very hard to determine the price they got for a vehicle. That’s why you call a lawyer who knows how to handle these sorts of cases.
If you’ve had a car that has been repossessed and sold from the same lot that repossessed your car, call a knowledgeable Alabama consumer rights lawyer to see what you can do about it.