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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 113508
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I live in Maryland, Santander "charged off" my vehicle in

Customer Question

I live in Maryland, Santander "charged off" my vehicle in 2012. It impacted my credit for 100-200 points back in 2012. It has been 4 years and this morning the same vehicle Has just been repossessed by the Lender. Woke up this morning and the car is gone, called police and they said yes repo'd. How is this possible? Will it show up again on my credit as repossession even after a charge off 4 years ago?
JA: What state is this in? And how old is the car?
Customer: Maryland, car is 15 years old
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: I just don't see how this is legal, and I've more than been impacted by the charge off listed on my credit in 2012. Now suddenly , after not hearing from. Santander for 4 years, the car is repossessed ? Doesn't sound legal ???
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am afraid that it will continue to show on your credit for up to 7-10 years. Even when a vehicle is charged off, the lender typically sells the debt off to junk debt collectors and the debt can still be collected or the car can be repossessed. Unless they gave you a lien release when they charged off the loan (which is an administrative function to clear a loan off their books), you still owed them the money. So as you still owed the debt and they still held a lien on the vehicle they could still repossess I am afraid.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Even after 4 years of NO contact from them ? They initially placed the negative information on my credit report 4 years ago, are you saying that now the vehicle is repossessed that they can add a new entry on my current credit report ??
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
As long as they held the lien on the car and never released the lien they could repossess the car, that is the issue. They can indeed add a new entry on your credit report for the repossession, since they just repossessed it.
They could not repossess if they had given you a release of lien when they wrote off the loan, in that case you would have grounds to sue them for the unlawful repossession.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I never received a release of lien, and they never contacted me. A "charge off" appeared on my credit in 2012, and they've had ZERO contact w me ever since
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If you never received a release of lien, they still had a lien and could repossess under that lien I am afraid.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
it's common practice for a charge off to appear, then a "repossession"? I think they must have waited for me to medically retire after becoming a wounded warrior in Afghanistan. I guess it was illegal for them to repossess while I was recovering for the past 4 years, now they take adva
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
thank you for your reply.
Unfortunately, it is not illegal to repossess as long as they hold the lien. I'm sorry to say that as a lienholder even writing off the loan (just meaning they take it off their books as one they will likely not collect) does not mean they released their lien on your vehicle and under that they had the right to repossess since you never paid them for the vehicle you agreed to pay for.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I just don't think it's right that my credit now take another hit. I could understand if they repo'd the vehicle back in 2012 that they placed that on my credit, but to list as charge off, then 4 years later repo and have the ability to effect my credit for another 7-10 years doesn't seem legal 9or ethical
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Unfortunately, while it does not seem right to you, you also owed a debt on a car that was not paid for for whatever reason and the bank kept the lien on the car. So, to let you keep the car and write off the loan would be considered unjust enrichment to you. You can challenge them and seek to make some payoff agreement with them if you wish, but whether they agree or not is up to the bank, legally though if the lien on the car was retained they had a right to take it back.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I thought the whole issue was done when they charged off the loan, and sent me a 1099 back in 2012, that went against my taxes. Didn't that give the lender a relief of sorts from the government? They wouldn't be able to repossess the auto without having the lien, correct ?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
I am afraid that did not give the lender relief from the government. You still did not pay for the car that you were bound to pay for. So that is what they are repossessing the car for because they did not release the lien.
That is correct though, if they had released the lien then they could not repossess the car.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok, thank you. I just thought that it was "written off", and my cost would be thru my damaged credit. I was totally unaware the lien holder was still seeking the vehicle, or that they could repossess the vehicle. Any advice ?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Regarding my next move ?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
The best thing is to contact them and because the car is 15 years old you need to negotiate some buyout with them.

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