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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Question Can a Private Lien Holder Repossess a Vehicle Even if You are Not in Default

    Hi everybody, I had a question regarding an issue that I'm having.

    I recently purchased a vehicle from an acquaintance that I had known for a few years. He found out that I was looking for a car since my last one had been totaled in a car accident and said that he had a vehicle he could sell to me for a reasonable price. We discussed rates and terms and such and the next day I took the car for a test dive and loved it and we discussed the terms of payments and how much I could give him each month, roughly. With a witness to attest to this conversation, we came to an agreement of anywhere between $100-$300 a month and that I could give him whatever I could afford each month. The transfer paperwork was signed, our agreement was made and the title was transferred over to my name with him as the lien holder until the car was paid in full. The license plates were registered in my name, insurance was taken over in my name, etc. He told me he was about to leave the country for a month and I gave him the first monthly payment (in cash, but the transaction is documented) and he left the country. I told him I would make the next payment as a transfer online so I could still pay while he was not in the country.

    Now this is where the story gets tricky. Early/mid January I informed him that I had just sent through a transfer online and that he needed to go accept the transfer for it to go through. I told him to let me know when he got it. Four days went by and I got a notification that the transfer still had not been accepted. I attempted to text him about it and received an instant notification saying my message had been blocked. Days went by and still he hadn't accepted the transfer. I attempted to contact him two more times and each time received a notification that my messages had been blocked. Three days ago, he finally contacts me out of the blue with no reason as to why he had been blocking my messages (keep in mind, he was only supposed to be overseas for a month and was gone for two months) stating that he never received my transfer. I told him that the transfer had cancelled after 14 days of not being accepted and that I would resend it on Monday now that he was contacting me again. I sent him screenshots of my attempts to message him over the past month and that's when the conversation went south. He stated that this arrangement was no longer working out and that he wanted the car back. I demanded to know why since I had been making my payments on time even though I did not accept the last one and that I had been making all of the insurance payments as well. He said that he now wanted $200 a week for the car and I refused, stating that we had never agreed on an $800 a month car payment. He then just outright demanded the vehicle back and said he didn't want any payments anymore, he just wanted the car back. I refused, saying that the car was in my name and we had a legal agreement and that I would continue to uphold our previous arrangement. I told him he would not be getting the car back and to expect a transfer on Monday. I told him to make sure to accept it this time. That's when he threatened legal action against me.
    I had my attorney call him (my attorney just handles personal injury) and my attorney informed him to no longer contact me. My attorney told me that he does not want to continue our previously agreed arrangement and just wanted the vehicle back.

    My question is then, what exactly can he do against me? I'm not in default, I'm not in violation of our contract, but he's demanding the vehicle back. I'm in constant fear that I'm going to walk out to my car and it's no longer going to be there because he had it repossessed. Keep in mind that I'm in the state of Texas and a verbal contract is legally binding, especially since I had documentation of our verbal agreement. Please help me out here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Can a Private Lien Holder Repossess a Vehicle Even if You are Not in Default

    His position appears to be that you are in default -- that he never received notice of the online transfer, and certainly didn't receive the money. You have known this person for years, but you apparently didn't try to reach him by any means but text message, even after you found the text messages were blocked? Why didn't you send an email or place a phone call?

    You are already discussing this matter with your lawyer, even if he primarily represents you in another legal matter, and your lawyer remains the best person with whom to discuss the "what if's".

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