Jacksonville Auto Repossession Lawyer
Experienced Guidance From Jacksonville Auto Repossession Attorneys
Until the last loan payment on your vehicle is fully paid off, your creditor holds important rights that are established by state law. If you are late on your payments or default on your contract in any way, your creditor has the ability to repossess your vehicle. Repossession is an aggressive measure taken by creditors who demand delinquent payments. It can cause further financial damage because you may be required to make payments on a vehicle that you now no longer even own or possess.
If you are working to avoid repossession of your vehicle or other property, you will benefit from the assistance of the experienced Jacksonville auto repossession lawyers at the Albaugh Law Firm. We have more than 70 years of combined experience fighting for our clients’ rights and helping them achieve the most favorable results possible for their circumstances.
The Mechanics of Car Repossession
Creditors with loans attached to a vehicle as collateral (typically, the auto loan used to purchase the car) have the right to repossess your vehicle if you fall behind on payment. Unfortunately, there is no real grace period established by the law: Unless your loan contract specifies otherwise, the creditor can repossess your vehicle as soon as you default on your loan. A default may occur the day you miss a payment if your contract does not allow for late payments. If your creditor does agree to accept a late payment, however, you are no longer in default, and they cannot repossess.
There are limitations as to how a repossession can be carried out. Debt collectors cannot use physical force or threats of force to conduct a repossession. If a debt collector physically assaults you or threatens physical force if you do not turn over your keys, then they are breaking the law. You may be able to file a claim against them and collect a statutory penalty or recover for any damage they cause in their repossession effort.
Repossession Sale Proceeds
After the creditor repossesses your vehicle, they will typically sell the car at auction. If the sale proceeds are lower than the amount you owe on your loan, you will still owe the remaining amount–known as the deficiency. The remaining loan will no longer have collateral attached, but you will still owe the rest of the amount. If, on the other hand, the car sells for more than the remainder of your loan, the lender must turn over the excess profit to you. Under Florida law, creditors may not seek to collect a deficiency if the amount remaining on the loan was less than $2,000 at the time of default.
Preventing Auto Repossession
Even if you default on your auto loan, you might have a few options to prevent repossession. Your options may include, for example:
- Renegotiate your loan. Creditors might be willing to work with you if you can negotiate a delay in your payments or a revised payment plan. Lenders like to keep customers, and accepting delayed payments is typically more cost-effective than repossessing and selling a car at auction. You will need to show that you are willing and able to repay any missed installments.
- Refinance your loan. If your lender is unwilling to renegotiate the terms of your loan, but you believe you could keep up with monthly payments at a reduced rate, consider refinancing your loan. Refinancing essentially involves getting a new loan at a new interest rate and using the proceeds of the new loan to pay off the old. If the new interest rate is lower and the repayment term is extended, you may have an easier time keeping up with payments.
- Sell the vehicle. It might not be the ideal solution, but selling your vehicle before the borrower can repossess could be in your best interests. You may be able to get a better price than the lender would get at auction, allowing you to repay the loan completely. You would avoid any of the negative credit consequences of repossession and remove your monthly obligations.
Whatever options you consider pursuing, you can benefit from retaining the services of a0 Jacksonville auto repossession defense lawyer. We will help you weigh your best option for avoiding repossession, and we will represent you in any negotiations or legal proceedings that result. Let the repossession defense attorneys at the Albaugh Law Firm help you protect your property.
Stopping Auto Repossession Through Bankruptcy
If a lawsuit has been filed or a judgment has been obtained against you, one of your best options for the repossession of a vehicle is to file for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy places an automatic stay on any debt collection efforts, including home foreclosure, debt lawsuits, wage garnishment, and vehicle repossession. Whether you are trying to stop repossession of your automobile, boat, or another asset, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you keep your property. The deficiency from the auto loan can potentially be discharged through the process of bankruptcy, as well.
Get Effective Help From a Trusted Jacksonville Auto Repossession Attorney
At the Albaugh Law Firm, we understand Florida law and can use this knowledge to protect your rights. We can carefully evaluate your case to determine the most appropriate strategy to benefit your financial situation. Take advantage of the free case evaluation we offer to obtain the attentive representation you need. Call the Albaugh Law Firm at 904-471-3434 for a free consultation with a Jacksonville debt relief lawyer.