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Can a repossession company report a car stolen when it is sitting in the garage?

Phoenix, AZ |

I am filing for Chapter 7 this week, however a repo man left a message that he was reporting a car stolen twice, although the car does not appear in the Arizona Attorney General's Office database at A message was left by a 'detective' and the numbers indicate T-mobile cell phones. I am not sure the number is actually law enforcement and I am concerned that it is a farce and a violation of The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I would like to use the car to visit an attorney and file. Irregardless if this is a violation, I would just like to know if the repo man can actually do this, because from experience when you file a police report on a stolen car you must be on the title. If this is possible, I will take a bus instead to avoid driving till the automatic stay.

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Attorney answers 1


I do not practice in your state, but I would recommend having your bankruptcy attorney call the reposession agent. If the agent lied about being law enforcement that is a violation of the FDPCA. I also recommend keeping the car where it is for now, although a court order and civil deputy would be required to recover it form the garage, don't make it any easier for them by driving around, just take the bus for now.

You will need to consult with a consumer protection lawyer locally.

1. Start keeping a detailed log of all calls and letters and a paper file of all information.

2. Make a written demand that all further communications from creditors is in writing under 15 USC 1692 (c).
The letter should also contain a dispute of the validity of the charges and include a demand for a complete accounting with signatures, and all contents of the file.
The creditor then has 30 days to reply and they may not take any action until you have been sent the validation. Bear in mind that this may be motivation for the collector to work your account when the file comes to them from the original creditor with new information.

3. Do not give them any personal information because that is how collectors decide on which accounts to recommend suing.

4. If you are going to make payments use money orders and not personal checks or “check by phone” because if they find a bank account the collector will be more likely recommend a lawsuit the their legal department.

5. All collections are negotiable; the original creditor has given up and is losing up to 50% on the face value already either by splitting any return or selling at a huge discount. In addition, the costs of a lawsuit although discounted still are a factor in the decision to settle with you.

If you are going to settle mark the check “settled-in-full” at the very top back of the check and include a letter explaining you are offering a settlement, keep copies of everything.

6. Get written confirmation of any payment plan the agency will accept before making a payment.

7. Specify in writing all payments will be applied to principle first.

I do not practice in your state and you will need to consult with a local lawyer for additional protection under your state law.

I have pasted a link to the FDPCA to help you with your federal rights;

You should read the FDPCA from the link above and become informed about your rights; this will help you and your lawyer.

I hope this information and generic advice is helpful.

Good Luck

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