What are my rights if a repo company totaled my vehicle?

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What are my rights if a repo company totaled my vehicle?

I purchased a car from a buy here pay here dealer. The total price of the car was around $18,000; I put down around $11,500. I got behind on a few payments and the car was repossessed. Instead of towing my vehicle; the repo comp drove my car. While driving my car they were involved in an accident that was their fault and my car was totaled. The repo comp lied to my insurer and told them that a chain broke and my car fell off rollback into oncoming traffic. Both the dealer and repo comp have failed to notify me of the accident. I found out through my insurance company and my it did deny the claim. I received a letter from the dealer saying I have 10 days to pay the balance in full to get car back. What are my rights and what can I do about this?

Asked on March 5, 2014 under Business Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can inform them in writing that since the accident occured after the repo company had taken the car, you are not responsible for the damage and that they should seek compensation from the repo company. (Send it some way you can prove delivery.) If the dealer still insists on getting the money from you, you can refuse to pay and force them to sue; if they sue, you can defend on the basis that you were not responsible since the car had been taken by the repo company and was in their control; you should also, if sued, file a cross-claim against the repo company to sue them for any amounts which the court otherwise should find that you have to pay (i.e. to force them to reimburse or indemnify you). If sued, also notify your  insurer; if they will not step in to pay or defend you, you may wish to sue them for breach of contract (that is, for not honoring their obligation to you).


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