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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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My auto lender is charging me enormous fees on top of what I

Customer Question

My auto lender is charging me enormous fees on top of what I already paid when my car was repossessed. I already paid them $808 to get my car back and they attached an additional $750 for what they call repossession charges. I feel wrongly charged. What could I do to get rid of this situation?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Ask them for an itemized statement of charges.

They can charge for actual fees incurred in the repossession.

They can charge for fees that are permitted by contract (so check your loan contract carefully).

You may need to pay some (or all) of these fees, but you are entitled to an accounting for the fees they are charging you - and you are only required to pay for those fees that are actually permitted by the contract (they almost certainly will have a clause stating that the borrower is required to pay repossession charges - but check to confirm).

If you find that they are trying to overcharge, or mischarge you for fees:

There is a series of escalating things you can do to deal with this situation.

  • *First: start with the company's customer service and dispute the claim. Keep your complaint in writing. If you speak to someone by phone, follow up promptly with a "confirmation letter" (see my note below).
  • *Second: open a dispute with the BBB. The BBB offers consumer dispute resolution that is fast, free to consumers, and is usually effective, they have no enforcement authority, but all BBB disputes result in a public report regarding resolution so businesses do respond to them. You can open a BBB dispute here: bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
  • *Third: if you believe that the company is acting fraudulently (not just charging high rates), you can report them to the state Attorney General. The AG's office does not prosecute individual claims (so they will not get your money back for you), but they will investigate and potentially take administrative and/or criminal action against the company.
  • *Finally: you can file a small claims action against them for breach of contract. Small claims actions take approximately 3-8 months to go to trial. There is no guarantee of success in these disputes, but filing a small claims action does open an opportunity to negotiate a resolution (in addition to the above opportunities and can lead to mediation - many courts offer mediation programs for their small claims docket).

Confirmation letters: Keep written records of all communications - so if you speak to someone by phone, promptly send a follow up "confirmation letter" summarizing your conversation, who you spoke to, when, and any agreements you reached. Keep copies of your outgoing correspondence, as well as anything that you receive.

I wish you the best of luck with this dispute, and hopefully a speedy resolution.

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