Can a car dealer try and charge you2 months upfront to get your car back after repossession?

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Can a car dealer try and charge you2 months upfront to get your car back after repossession?

My sister’s car got repossessed after being late one payment. When she called this morning to find out what she needed to pay to get her car back they told her $1245. This included a $350 repossession fee, a $15 fee to clean out the car, and they demanded 2 months payments upfront for a total of $880. Is it legal for them to get these payments upfront?

Asked on July 25, 2011 Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It would be legal in this circumstance. Once the car has been repossessed, your sister no longer owns it--it's owned by the dealership or financing company. She also breached her financing agreement by defaulting on--paying it--in the first place; there is no right to pay late, even once. Since she breached the agreement and lost ownership and possession of the car, they don't need to give it back to her at all; they could sell the car and sue her for the money she owes under the financing agreement, for example. Since they do not need to return the car, if they choose to giver her the chance to redeem it, they may put conditions on that--including the reasonable condition of requiring someone who defaulted to put more money upfront.


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