Can a car lienholder force a borrower to have a car towed out-of-state for repossession?

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Can a car lienholder force a borrower to have a car towed out-of-state for repossession?

My husband lost his job (no severance, no warning). I still have $6,000 outstanding on my car. The lender is located in VA. I have moved to NC and properly registered the car and notified the lender of my new address. I can’t afford to keep the car. I know I’m still responsible for the loan. Lender says that either I pay to have it towed to VA or pay their tow company. I am relinquishing the vehicle and understand that the repo will hit my credit. They are threatening to garnish my wages if I don’t have it towed to VA. Can they do that?

Asked on November 24, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It sounds as if the lienholder is putting the cart before the horse as they say AND like they are using the kind of collection practices that are prohibited by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.  First, you can not garnish wages unless you are a judgement creditor.  In other words, they would have to have a judgement against you for a sum certain to be able to attach ANY property: wages, personal, bank account, whatever.  Next, they can not threaten you here.  Familiarize yourself with the FDCPA and you will be able to fight back there.  While they may not be able to force you have it towed back they will charge you for it if they do.  And that could be BIG bucks. So consider turning it over to them and/or working out some deal.  Maybe some advice as to what you can do to modify the agreement is warranted here.  Good luck.


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