Real Life Stories -Could Be You

Note: All of these stories are true. Some have fictitious names due to the desire of the individuals.

Auto Repossession: Elizabeth Lountz and her husband John Lountz are in their early sixties. They are through raising their family and decided after many years of being relegated to renting, that they wanted a little home of their own. Elizabeth works at one of the local hospitals and William works for one of the local car dealers as a detail man.

Neither have a college education, much less a high school education. Their meager savings (about $6,500) equated to a ten percent (10%) down payment on the home of their choice in their neighborhood. Doesn’t seem like anyone can purchase a home for under $75,000 but they found one. Well, when they applied for a mortgage, they thought that their credit was decent. After all, these poor folks paid most of their bills by going to the post office and buying postal money orders.

Being basically poor, the only thing that they ever financed was a few pieces of furniture and some used cars during their lifetime. They never had the luxury of buying a brand new car so they always went to the used car lots and listened to the false promises of you know who. Well it seems that Lizzie (nickname) bought a used Nissan from Ugly Rabbit Used Car Sales

They were kind enough to sell her a $1,000 car for $2,000 plus interest (about 36%). After a down payment of $250 and making monthly payments for over eighteen months, Lizzie got sick at work and had to take some time off. Naturally they couldn’t make the car payments so William and Lizzie drove on down to Ugly Rabbit and told the manager about their problems.

The manager was salivating because William had the car in better shape than when they bought it almost eighteen months previous. Lizzie was distraught because she couldn’t keep up with the payments. The manager told her not to worry about anything. They probably will sell the car and she wouldn’t have to make her last six months payments.

Lo and behold, we pulled up their credit report in the process of getting them approved for a mortgage. Yep, there in black and white was an entry. “Ugly Rabbit Auto Finance” for the family indicating a “voluntary repossession”. Mind you the word repossession means repossession. Whether or not it’s involuntary or voluntary, the credit experts don’t give a hoot. The simple fact that you have a, repossession is a no-no in credit.

When we read that, I immediately called Lizzie and asked her if she had received any correspondence from the dealer or finance company informing her of the date, place and time of sale. She was emphatic. She received nothing. Here is where knowledge steps in.

I was casually reading the Attorney General’s website for the state of Florida one night. I was curious about repossessions. Wow, what, an education. I found a test case in Tallahassee, FL regarding Barnett Bank versus Johnson. I believe it was the 6th Circuit Ct. The bank was suing Johnson for a deficiency judgment regarding repossession of his pickup truck

Failure to Notify

The bank failed to notify Mr. Johnson of the date, time and place of sale. Furthermore, the sale was conducted at a dealer only auction. Without notifying Mr. Johnson of any of the above, the Judge ruled that because Mr. Johnson was deprived of the right to redeem his truck and therefore lost any vested interest, the amount of what the bank received constituted full payment and the bank waived it’s right for a deficiency judgment.

Secondly, when the truck was sold at a dealer only auction, the public was deprived of the right to bid; therefore the amount received did not constitute fair marker value. The truck was sold in what was described as a commercially unreasonable sale.

When I realized the impact of this test case, it became apparent that the Lountz family was a victim of the same circumstances. Now remember the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Act. The dealer could not furnish the Lountz family with 100% of the information regarding their account.

Hell, he couldn’t furnish proof of sending them mailings telling them where the car was going to be sold. He knew he was selling it to his buddy down the street. There was no auction sale. The dealer clearly circumvented the law. So when they wrote the dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies and requested all of the information regarding the transaction, no one could supply a thing.

The result was that Elizabeth called me excited one night. She said “Mr. Regis, I have a letter from the credit reporting agency. They denied us.” I said “Elizabeth spell me denied”. The answer was spelled deleted. I said, Elizabeth, your repossession was deleted from your credit report. End of this story. They got their mortgage and send me a card every Christmas.

After helping about twenty-five people in the Orlando area, I see a strange thing happening. Now the local newspapers are heavily advertising bank and finance company repossession sales. PUBLIC INVITED, NO DEALERS. Amazing what one man’s quest becomes another man’s means of survival.

I have many stories about repossessions. The simple fact is, the dealers (mostly used car dealers) know the law or are totally ignorant. They think that these poor unfortunates fell off of the last fruit truck to leave town.

They have no place to turn to so they just go on about life and continue to be prey to high interest rates and unscrupulous lenders. I hope that the knowledge that I gained can help other poor, unfortunate souls. I can write stories upon stories about repossessions but still have other areas to cover.

Regis Sauger