Question: i had a vehicle repossesed almost five years ago and just got a letter in the mail from a law firm (collection agency) telling me i need to pay commerce bank $16,000.i don't even think i owed that much on the vehicle when they took it.i was never notified when they resold it or have no clue what they sold it for.is there any statute of limitations on this at all?can they really sue me for this?my residence is in illinois.please give me some good news.this has been a really crappy year.how can they sue me when i don"t even have a job.lawyer left a message on my phone that it is in my best interest to contact him or face the reprocussions.my girlfriend says to call them but if i do i know it will get heated and i"ll probably drive across the river and let him know how it really is.
Response: Unfortunately, the Statute of Limitations has not run on this debt. So, they can sue you for the debt. The Statute of Limitations for this kind of debt in Illinois is 10 years! See 735 ILCS 5/13-206. However, you do not have to pay a cent on this debt without a Court Order. You can and you should challenge the balance given to you by the lender ("creditor').
Let the lender sue you. You have some defenses to the deficiency claim. One of your defenses would be that the sale of the vehicle was not done in a commercially reasonable manner. Once you make this claim, the creditor would then have the burden to prove that all aspects of the sale were reasonable including the notice provided to you before the sale, the advertising made to the public, the timing of the sale of your vehicle and how the creditor ultimately got rid of your vehicle.
You also would have other defenses and counterclaims such as
(1) Was there even a valid security interests on the vehicle? (2) Did the repossession breach the peace? (3) Was your personal property in the car seized when the vehicle was repossessed? (4) Were notices proper? (5) Were you offered the required opportunity to cure the default or reinstate? (6) Were the creditor's expenses of repossession reasonable? (7) Was the deficiency correctly computed? (8) Deception in original sale of vehicle. (9) Defects in the vehicle's performance. (10) The terms of the financing. (11) The creditor's debt collection conduct.
You can send a simple validation of debt letter to the collector. Here is a sample letter:
RE: Validation of Debt
This letter is being sent to you in response to a notice sent to me on (insert date letter sent by collector). Be advised that this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692(g) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.
This is NOT a request for "verification" or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named title and section. I respectfully XXXXX XXXXX your offices provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.
Please provide me with the following: a copy of credit card agreement, assignment of debt, the name and address of the original creditor, and the original account number. Also, please show me that you are licensed to collect in my state and provide me with your license numbers and your Registered Agent.
Your anticipated cooperation in this regard is greatly appreciated.
so i need to contact law firm and ask them for validation?im sorry im asking so many questions.i always have a criminal lawyer on retainer but when it comes to this i have no clue what kind of lawyer to retain
Response: It is premature to retain an attorney at this time. However, if you need an attorney in the future, you would need to retain a local consumer lawyer who handles debt collection defense cases. Do not contact the law firm or the bank. Wait till they contact you again and then ask for their mailing address so that you can send a request for validation of debt to them. It is important that the request be done in writing for record keeping purposes.
You can use the following sites to find local consumer lawyers:
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