“CAN I GET MY CAR BACK AFTER REPOSSESSION BY FILING BANKRUPTCY”? (THE LETTER “Y” IS FOR YO-YO AUTO SALES}

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By Christopher C. Carr, Esq. Chester County bankruptcy attorney.

Tel: 610-380-7969 Email: cccarresq@aol.com

Website: westchesterbankruptcyattorney.org

A yo-yo sale is a consumer vehicle purchase under a valid signed agreement of installment sale which is followed, days or weeks later, by a phone call from a sales person at the agency that sold the vehicle who states that the consumer must return the vehicle, get a co-signer for the loan or sign new paperwork typically because, “the financing fell through.” Of course, this is impossible because the financing was locked in before the car was ever delivered but even so the befuddled consumer will fall for this line and present himself and his vehicle at the dealership for a new round of negotiations.

The way this scheme plays out the dishonest dealer will either negotiate more favorable terms after the fact or to repossess the car and resell it.   With touch ups to the paint and an (illegal) odometer rollback, he may be able to  pass it off as brand new. While yoyo sales are actually quite illegal under various federal and also state laws, they are quite prevalent especially in economic downturns. And they can result in the loss of your vehicle to repossession and oftentimes with it all the valuable property you left within it.

With the help of a skilled attorney, Yoyo’s can often be prevented especially if reported right away so they can be documented while in progress. However, you must still at least pay according to the original terms of the installment agreement or the vehicle can legitimately be repossessed by the dealer or the creditor.

Oftentimes, the Yo-yo victim, not knowing what to do or where to turn will simply stop paying his or her car payment entirely.  This is a very bad idea because they will have then not complied with the terms of the original agreement and have lost most if not all of the ammunition needed to fight the Yo-yo legally but also will ultimately lose the vehicle as well to the repo man. What remedies may be left to help you to get your car back in such a situation? Well, bankruptcy may still help, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on whether you elect to proceed under a chapter 13 or a 7.

SO, CAN I GET MY CAR BACK AFTER REPOSSESSION BY FILING A CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY?

If your car has already been taken out of your driveway, and if it has not yet been sold, you can get the car back in a Chapter 13. See Note 1 below. You will not need to come current (as you do in a Chapter 7, see below), but will just have to be able to make regular Chapter 13 car payments, which will almost always be smaller than the payments that you were making before filing. See Note 2 below for an example of how the car payments can be reduced.  You usually also have to pay a reasonable repossession fee, these range in the hundreds of dollars, and wait anywhere from one week to a couple of months before getting it back.

Most vehicle lenders  will return a car voluntarily once you file a chapter 13 (provided the car is not already sold) if you show adequate insurance. This policy generally must include collision and name the finance company as a loss payee, i.e. the policy must mention the loan companyby name as the entity which gets paid first in the event of a loss or claim.

But why deal with the delay, inconvenience, added expense and potential damage to your car and/or loss of personal property involved in a typical repossession? A Chapter 13 filed before the repo man does his dirty work is your best bet.

CALL ME IF YOU ARE BEHIND IN PAYMENTS AND WE CAN AVOID THIS NASTY SCENARIO AND LOWER YOUR PAYMENTS TO BOOT. See Note 2 below.

BUT, CAN I ALSO GET MY CAR BACK AFTER REPOSSESSION BY FILING A CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY:

In a Chapter 7, no, you cannot get the car back without the creditor’s permission because chapter 7 involves liquidation of the debtor’s non-exempt property. The only way that most creditors are going to agree to return your car to you is if you are able to catch up on the payments right away and sometimes the creditor will not even accept this but will accelerate the note and demand the entire balance due and owing on the vehicle. So, there is virtually no difference between this and not filing at all in terms of what you have to pay.

A Chapter 7 filed before repossession will stop the repo man temporarily, but it won’t take long for the creditor to get the court’s permission for relief from the stay and take the car anyway. The only sure way to save a car is in a Chapter 13, unless you can find a way to pay the value of the car in one lump sum but if you can chances are you probably aren’t thinking about bankruptcy.

Note 1:   In Pennsylvania where I practice, you can stop the repo man from coming on your property to take your car if you are watchful enough to spot him in the act.  That is trespass.  It is however suggested that if you meet with resistance, you call 911 and summon the local constabulary rather than attempt to defend the property yourself. This of course is not true for a sheriff who enters upon real properly with a valid writ of execution or if your car is parked on a public thoroughfare or in the parking area of your apartment building, since you do not own it.

Note 2:   For instance, let’s say you have a car that is worth $15,000.00, on which you still owe $20,000, and are paying $519.00 per month at 19% interest on a 60 month note. (This is only an example…every situation will vary.) I can always lower the interest rate down to 2 or 3 points above the prime rate and in many cases, assuming you have owned the vehicle long enough; we can set the payments based on the $15,000 valuation, rather than the $20,000 debt.

In this example, the monthly payments would be reduced to roughly $380.00, for a savings of $139 per month or a whopping $8,325 over the life of the loan, (based on the WSJ prime rate quote for 11/8/2012 of 3.25 plus 2% Risk Factor or 5.25% total.) If we are able to drop the loan down to $15,000 the payment would be only about $285 per month, for a savings of $234 per month. The same thing applies to boats, RV’s, motorcycles, motor homes, appliances, furniture, electronics, and any other secured property, except for primary residences.

©Christopher C. Carr, Attorney at Law 2009, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Law Offices of Christopher C. Carr, MBA,  P.C., is a quality bankruptcy and debt relief practice, located in  Valley Township, west of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, where Attorney Christopher Carr, a Chester County bankruptcy attorney, who has over 30 years if diversified ;egal experience, concentrates on serving the residents of and businesses located within Western Chester County and Eastern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, including the communities in and around Atglen, Bird in Hand, Caln, Christiana, Coatesville, Downingtown, Eagle, Exton, Fallowfield Gap, Honeybrook, Lancaster, Lincoln University, Modena, New Holland, Parkesburg, Paradise, Ronks, Sadsbury, Thorndale, Valley Township, Wagontown & West Chester,  Pennsylvania. If you reside or do business in the area and need assistance with a legal issue, please call Mr. Carr at (610)380-7969 or write him at cccarresq@aol.com today!  


I also provide Mortgage Modification Services.

Other lawyers asking “Y” include:

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2 comments on ““CAN I GET MY CAR BACK AFTER REPOSSESSION BY FILING BANKRUPTCY”? (THE LETTER “Y” IS FOR YO-YO AUTO SALES}

  1. […]  also work in autofraud and have posted previously here on YoYo’s.  Recently I answered the following question for […]

  2. […] An “emergency” bankruptcy filing can still possibly help you save your home or maybe your car can be returned to you.  It is a bad time because had you consulted with a bankruptcy attorney sooner, a different […]

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