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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 17463
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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My vehicle got repossessed. The towing company told me I had

Customer Question

My vehicle got repossessed. The towing company told me I had ten days from the day it was repossessed to either get the car back or get the stuff out of my car. It's been 9 days. We only have one car and I work and had to go and hour out of my way to go get my belongings. When I got there they had already cleaned out my car and sent it off to be auctioned. I am missing a $200 tomtom, a $100 bottle of cologne and a $200 pool stick that I know for a fact that was in my vehicle. They cleaned out my console and gave me all of the belongings out of my console EXCEPT my tomtom and cologne, and my pool stick was in my back seat. They said they were going to question the person that cleaned the car and call me back. I know for a fact those items were in my car when it was taken. What steps do I need to take to get my items back if they claim to not know what happened to them or claim to have not seen them?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 9 months ago.

You need to make a formal written demand to the repossession company for the missing items to be returned to you. If your request is ignored or refused, then you need to file Small Claim against the lender for the return of the items. The lawsuit will be filed against the lender and not the repossession company (towing company) because the repossession company is just an agent of the lender. The lender is ultimately responsible for the action of its agent.

In the alternative, you can use the missing items as defense to any claim for deficiency judgment. That is, if the lender sells the car for less than what you owe and then files lawsuit against you for the deficiency amount, one of your defenses to the deficiency lawsuit would be that the lender took your personal properties that were in the car that were not part of the financed property and that the lender must be ordered to pay for replacement value of the items wrongfully taken.

If there is no deficiency lawsuit, but you were sent a notice of the deficiency and demand to pay and your account is ultimately referred to collections, your defense would be the same. Your claim would be that you dispute that you owe the deficiency because your personal properties in the car were wrongfully taken as part of the repossession. Therefore, you owe the lender nothing.