Indiana Consumer Law Group/The Law Office of Robert E. Duff announces the filing of a lawsuit against North Carolina-based American Lending Solutions Corp. and Indianapolis-based Last Chance Wrecker & Sales, Inc. concerning the wrongful repossession of a motor vehicle. ALS is a self-described “Skip Tracing/Repossession Management Firm” that works as a middleman between lienholders and towing companies. Last Chance is a towing company. The lawsuit, which has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, alleges that the defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) when they repossessed an Indiana consumer’s truck even though the finance company they were working for did not have a valid lien on it.
The FDCPA provides that repossession companies violate the law when they repossess a vehicle they have no right to repossess. In this case, the reason they did not have a right to repossess was because the finance company they were working for did not have a valid lien on the truck. However, a repossession company violates that FDCPA any time it repossesses a car it shouldn’t have. This could be because the repossessor chose the wrong vehicle, the consumer was not in default under the terms of the finance agreement or because the towing company breached the peace at the time the repossession occurred.
The most common reason for a wrongful repossession the Indiana Consumer Law Group/The Law Office of Robert E. Duff sees is a breach of the peace. Repossession is an extra-judicial (outside the courts) self-help remedy that is by its very nature fraught with the potential for conflict, violence and injury. Therefore, the law says that a repossession is only permitted when it can be accomplished without a “breach of the peace.” A breach of the peace essentially occurs when the repossessor meets any kind of resistance to the repossession. The resistance might be that the car is in a closed garage or behind a closed fence (a repossessor may come onto private property to repossess if they have not been previously advised to stay out and the vehicle is not secured in a building, garage or behind a fence). Or the resistance may be the vehicle owner or someone on her behalf simply telling the repo agent that he cannot take the vehicle. Peaceful verbal resistance is enough to take away the right to repossess the vehicle at that time. As you can imagine, however, repo agents (who are generally paid only if they recover the vehicle and therefore have a strong financial incentive to make a recovery) often refuse to stand down and proceed to repossess illegally.
Here at the Indiana Consumer Law Group/The Law Office of Robert E. Duff, we protect consumers who have been the subject of a wrongful repossession by suing all kinds of companies involved in the wrongful repossession – from towing companies and middlemen to finance companies. If you believe you have been subjected to a wrongful repossession, click here to contact us for a no-cost evaluation.