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Auto Deficiency

Question: I was served with a summons and complaint for a deficiency for a car repossession in ’09. This is the first time I have heard anything from them since the day they picked up the car. Reading up on it today, I read I should have gotten a Notice of Redemption & an Affidavit for Defense within days after repossession. I don’t even know if the car was ever even sold. The deficiency is about $20,000, what should my next step be?

Answer: Consult an attorney. If this is a retail installment contract, the statute of limitations is four years after breach or last payment, whichever is later, so it is possible the debt is time barred. If proper notices were not furnished before and after sale, this may also bar a deficiency. The secured party has to prove that all aspects of the sale, including notices and the disposition of the car, were commercially reasonable. You may also have a claim against the secured party for failure to comply with the Uniform Commercial Code and other laws relating to collection of deficiencies. Collecting a time barred debt may violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

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