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  1. #1

    Default Damage to Car During Repo

    My question involves an auto loan or repossession in the State of: Michigan

    I received a letter last Tuesday from the finance company that my auto loan is through, telling me that my account was delinquent (which I knew, I had to help pay for a funeral and missed work due to various complications) and to contact them immediately before other legal actions commenced. When I got home and received this letter, they were already closed, so I was planning on calling them the following morning, to tell them that I had 2/3 of the past due amount and would be paying that in cash that day, and if that wasn't acceptable I would find a way to get the rest of the past due amount.
    The next morning, my car, which was parked in my neighbor's driveway the night prior, was gone. I hadn't been driving the car because I didn't have insurance on it and I was afraid that something would happen and I would be stuck with a debt on a car that I couldn't drive. I called the finance company, they told me the amount they required to get the car back, which included the payment that was coming due and repo fees, and they also informed me that the company that took my car might charge a fee for my personal property that was in the car. I asked about my possessions, covered the "what-if" aspect... what if things are missing, what if my car is messed up. They told me that the company that was responsible for taking the car was insured and bonded and that everything would be fine.

    Fine. I screwed up, these were the consequences. I accepted that. I got the number for the company responsible for taking my car, and tried for 6 hours straight that day to contact them. There was no answer, and there was no returned call for the voicemails that I left. Reverse phone search showed that it was a cellphone, so there was no office to contact directly, as the company shows no public listing. I called back to the bank, and they gave me yet another number to call for the repo company. A woman answered the phone, confirmed that it was in fact the right number, and got irate with me when I asked where the car was located, where my possessions were located (including my health insurance cards, which I need for my prenatal care) and how much it was going to cost me to get my belongings. She hung up on me. I called back, no answer.

    The next day my fiance called, he was told that they would call him back with an amount and appointment time/place. No call. It took me a total of 6 days, but I managed to get all the money that they required to get the car back. (Still, no word on the whereabouts of my property or vehicle)
    I paid in cash, as they would hold any other form of payment aside from wiring for 10 days. Before I paid, they told me that I could find out where my car was as soon as the amount they required was paid, and that the (secret) location closed between 4-5 pm. After I paid, I was told that the car was at an auction and that they closed at 3pm (it was 4pm at that point).
    Fine, one more day without my car, no problem. Finally got the repo company to set up an appointment time and place, so I would pick up the car and go directly to their desired location.
    When I got to the auction that my car was held at, I showed my license, and gave them the keys to pull the car up. I watched from a distance as they spent about 15 minutes going around my car, it looked like they were taking pictures. I like taking pictures of it too, it's a pretty car. Fine. Finally, they pulled my car up, I was ecstatic. The closer my car got, the further my heart sunk. I could already see damage on it that wasn't there before. My foglights were falling out of the front bumper. The trim below the front bumper was falling off. The fender looked like it had been pulled away from the headlight. Now, I've done pretty well at holding it together through all this, like I said I know I messed up with the payments, but I did come through with everything they required, I called when and where I was told to call. I paid what I was told to pay, faxed what I was told where I was told to. I expected to see my car, devoid of possessions but still in the same general condition. They put the car in park and walked away, I walked the rest of the way around the car and found that not only had they messed up the front, but the rear bumper was smashed in, to the point that it pushed in my rear quarter panel as well, and the bumper was gouged, deep.
    One of the stipulations of getting the car back, was that I showed proof of insurance. I got full coverage the day I paid...which also meant I was going to be able to drive, rather than park. I called my insurance agent and asked them what to do about the damage, they took the info for the finance co, the repo co, and the auction where my car was held.
    The basic jist that she got from all of them, is that I'm screwed. My insurance can't cover the damage because it was non-existant when they took the car, hence it being parked. The repo people say their insurance isn't responsible because my car wasn't insured. The car wasn't damaged when they took it, it was parked and locked. I wasn't driving it because I couldn't afford the insurance... I was trying to get caught up. So now, I jumped through all the hoops, I did all I was told to do, and I'm stuck with a damaged car... a week ago it was gorgeous, today it's embarrassing.

    I guess my whole story boils down to this...
    Do I have ANY RIGHTS WHATSOEVER regarding this situation?? Or is what they're saying true, I'm just stuck with the bill for their obvious negligence in handling of the vehicle??

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Damage to Car During Repo

    You had important personal possessions, including your health insurance cards that you needed to obtain prenatal care, in a car that you didn't drive and left semi-permanently parked in a neighbor's driveway? C'mon.

    Does the repo company admit that the damage occurred when the car was in their possession?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Damage to Car During Repo

    Yup, I drove my car to the doctor's on Monday. Parked Monday night. When it all comes down to nuts and bolts I would rather get a ticket and make it to a doctor's appointment than miss the appointment. I also had my pool sticks in my trunk. Sometimes I'm scatterbrained, and if I know my insurance cards are in the visor, I know where they are. Bad habit, maybe... but it works (up until that point, anyways).

    The repo company wouldn't say anything to my insurance agent about responsibility for the damage except that there was a scratch on the hood... which there wasn't and still isn't. They hung up when asked for their insurance and bond information. When she called them back they used a lot of profanity and tried to intimidate her.

    I also found out that the day it was checked into the auction was the 19th, which means they had it in their possession up until that point and they had to tow it on the 19th. I had full coverage from that day forward. The bank is starting to cooperate, they did send my insurance agent the repo company's insurance information, apparently the fact that the last time they moved it, it was insured makes at least a slight difference.

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