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Dealership Pays for Breaking Repo Laws

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Our client had purchased 2 vehicles from a dealership about a month apart. She made a down payment on each vehicle, and then made periodic payments. After the purchases, she experienced significant problems with both vehicles. After she stopped making payments, they repossessed both vehicles.

After our client hired us, our investigation revealed that one of the vehicles was a manufacturer buy-back. That means the vehicle was previously bought back by the manufacturer as a lemon. They did not disclose this fact to our client. Instead, they demanded more money from our client after the repossessions in order to get the cars back. Our investigation also revealed that they did not properly comply with the Florida laws that deal with repossessions.

We are familiar with Florida’s repossession laws because we have sued car dealers using those laws before. We have also successfully defended consumers who were sued by finance companies after their cars were repossessed. Based on our analysis for this case, we were able to demonstrate that our client did not owe them any money, but that instead they actually owed money to our client for both vehicles that they had repossessed.

The dealer hired its own attorney to review our claims. After we discussed those claims with that attorney, they agreed to a settlement that included a refund of all the money our client had paid them for both cars. The settlement occurred even without us having to file a lawsuit to enforce our client’s rights.

We realize that most people generally just do not randomly decide to stop paying on their car. Sometimes, the money just isn’t there to keep making payments. Sometimes, the car is not in the condition it was represented by the dealer. Regardless of the reason, just because you stop paying on a car does not mean you lose all your rights. There are important laws that protect you, even after your car is repossessed. Those laws apply no matter why you stopped paying. The dealer cannot simply decide to keep all the money you paid to that dealer without following those laws. Those same laws (and other laws) continue to apply even if you are being sued by the dealer or finance company for a post-repo deficiency.

We have even seen cases where the dealer repossessed a car when they did not have the legal right to do so. Just because you are out of a car does not always mean you are out of luck.