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  1. #1
    exocompusa is offline Junior Member
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    Question Car Loan Statue of Limitations

    What is the name of your state? California
    Hello all. I'm hoping someone might be able to help me. I purchased a used car from a dealer back in 1997. The car was fine for about a year before it caught on fire. After the ordeal, I went through hell & back trying to get the insurance company to fork out the money to get the vehicle properly fixed. I met with difficulties with the insurance company claim adjuster. Needless to say after the limited "cheap" or lack of complete repair the car was never the same. The situation was that the fire department had to come and put out the car fire. The claim adjuster said and I quote "you should of let it burn". My interpretation was that it was more expensive to fix the car versus it's value at the time however the loan contract at the time was 18K to pay it off. I complained to the insurance company to no end. I contacted the finance company as well to let them know their vested interest in the car (18k) and the problems I was having with the insurance company which they "chose" (in the loan contract) in hopes they would get the insurance company to listen to reason and fix the car correctly was only met with yet more red tape and how this wasn't their problem. Shortly after that (2 months later and already a little over one year into the loan contract) I informed the car loan company I wouldn't be making any more payments on the car and to come and get it. They never came to get the car after repeated phone calls & letters. The car has been in my possession and in default since 1999. During the ordeal I also contacted the dealership who sold me the car as well as the car's manufacturer in regards to the fire, and was basically told they could not help me. In my opinion, the insurance company took me a ride on the whole deal and never fixed what needed to be fixed. So as a result, I never heard from anyone again for years until just a few days ago. It turns out that the auto loan finance company has sold the debt to a collection agency which has now sent me a letter requesting the amount due on the contract. But surprisingly, there is no mention that this amount is for "a" vehicle. I would of guessed that the year, make, model, even vin numbers would be on collection letter but it's not even mentioned. I have not contacted this collection agency because a friend told me there was a statue of limitations in effect and I no longer owe anything. I am afraid this collection agency will now try to take me to court so is there anything I can do protect myself. Again, the vehicle is still with me "as crisp as the day it burned" and I've neglected to take any actions on it because in truth the vehicle is not technically mine (hence a lien holder) on the registration. What can I do?
  2. #2
    Happy Trails is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by exocompusa
    What is the name of your state? California
    Hello all. I'm hoping someone might be able to help me. I purchased a used car from a dealer back in 1997. The car was fine for about a year before it caught on fire. After the ordeal, I went through hell & back trying to get the insurance company to fork out the money to get the vehicle properly fixed. I met with difficulties with the insurance company claim adjuster. Needless to say after the limited "cheap" or lack of complete repair the car was never the same. The situation was that the fire department had to come and put out the car fire. The claim adjuster said and I quote "you should of let it burn". My interpretation was that it was more expensive to fix the car versus it's value at the time however the loan contract at the time was 18K to pay it off. I complained to the insurance company to no end. I contacted the finance company as well to let them know their vested interest in the car (18k) and the problems I was having with the insurance company which they "chose" (in the loan contract) in hopes they would get the insurance company to listen to reason and fix the car correctly was only met with yet more red tape and how this wasn't their problem. Shortly after that (2 months later and already a little over one year into the loan contract) I informed the car loan company I wouldn't be making any more payments on the car and to come and get it. They never came to get the car after repeated phone calls & letters. The car has been in my possession and in default since 1999. During the ordeal I also contacted the dealership who sold me the car as well as the car's manufacturer in regards to the fire, and was basically told they could not help me. In my opinion, the insurance company took me a ride on the whole deal and never fixed what needed to be fixed. So as a result, I never heard from anyone again for years until just a few days ago. It turns out that the auto loan finance company has sold the debt to a collection agency which has now sent me a letter requesting the amount due on the contract. But surprisingly, there is no mention that this amount is for "a" vehicle. I would of guessed that the year, make, model, even vin numbers would be on collection letter but it's not even mentioned. I have not contacted this collection agency because a friend told me there was a statue of limitations in effect and I no longer owe anything. I am afraid this collection agency will now try to take me to court so is there anything I can do protect myself. Again, the vehicle is still with me "as crisp as the day it burned" and I've neglected to take any actions on it because in truth the vehicle is not technically mine (hence a lien holder) on the registration. What can I do?
    Statute of limitations in California for written contracts is 4 years. If they are going to take you to court to try to win a judgement against you, make sure you show up.

    Stand by as others may have further advice.
  3. #3
    debtcollector` is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by exocompusa
    The car was fine for about a year before it caught on fire. After the ordeal, I went through hell & back trying to get the insurance company to fork out the money to get the vehicle properly fixed. .... Needless to say after the limited "cheap" or lack of complete repair the car was never the same.
    This, while unfortunate, should not be surprising. Cars really aren't design to withstand burning.

    Quote Originally Posted by exocompusa
    The claim adjuster said and I quote "you should of let it burn".
    From your situation this sounds like an honest if improper answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by exocompusa
    I contacted the finance company as well to let them know their vested interest in the car (18k) and the problems I was having with the insurance company which they "chose" (in the loan contract) in hopes they would get the insurance company to listen to reason and fix the car correctly was only met with yet more red tape and how this wasn't their problem.
    This is correct -- the issue is or was between you and the insurance company. As for the finance company choosing your insurance company for you, I have never heard of that before. Their requiring insurance and writing that requirement in I understand -- even naming the company you selected but I do not believe it is legal for them to choose your insurance provider for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by exocompusa
    Shortly after that (2 months later and already a little over one year into the loan contract) I informed the car loan company I wouldn't be making any more payments on the car and to come and get it. They never came to get the car .... In my opinion, the insurance company took me a ride on the whole deal and never fixed what needed to be fixed.
    So, because you weren't happy with the your insurance company, you felt it was proper to default on your loan?

    Quote Originally Posted by exocompusa
    So as a result, I never heard from anyone again for years until just a few days ago. It turns out that the auto loan finance company has sold the debt to a collection agency which has now sent me a letter requesting the amount due on the contract. But surprisingly, there is no mention that this amount is for "a" vehicle. I would of guessed that the year, make, model, even vin numbers would be on collection letter but it's not even mentioned. I have not contacted this collection agency because a friend told me there was a statue of limitations in effect and I no longer owe anything.
    If you wish further info on the debt you need to send them back a letter requesting validation. -- Unless your friend is a lawyer specializing in debt collection law in your state, you need to speak with an actual attorney.

    Quote Originally Posted by exocompusa
    I am afraid this collection agency will now try to take me to court so is there anything I can do protect myself. Again, the vehicle is still with me "as crisp as the day it burned" and I've neglected to take any actions on it because in truth the vehicle is not technically mine (hence a lien holder) on the registration. What can I do?
    Yes you can protect yourself by paying the bill. And yes, I do believe the CA will take you to court. For the kind of money you are talking about it is well worth their time.

    If you informed the company to come get the car in writting and have a copy of the certified mail recept for the letter, then you do have some leverage regarding the total balance if they repo it and sell it today.

    This really requires a lawyer on your part -- If you do not want to simply pay the full balance they are requesting, the car is going to have to be sold. That means communicating with the CA. Also under consideration is whether or not you have driven the car since you stopped paying for it and told the company to come get it. If not, Whether or not you can be held accountable for the loss of value over the years, is a matter for court and judge. If so, you lose credability in court.

    If you try to do this without an attorney, I think you will most likely have your head (and the bill) handed to you.

    I'm interested to know how this turns out -- keep up posted.

    DC
  4. #4
    LSCAP is offline Member
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    I really don't know but,

    You are talking about a lot of bucks,
    Get an attorney, Get a mechanic who can testify about the car's condition to the attorney against the insurance company and/ or fix it up so you can sell it, hopefully for enough that you can pay off the rest of the loan.
  5. #5
    exocompusa is offline Junior Member
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    Make mine well done please !

    It sounds like I'm going to need to consult a lawyer. I was under the impression that I might send the original loan contractor an Expired Statute of Limitations Notification Letter, but whether this will prevent them from "selling" the car note to a collection agency is questionable. Assuming they can (and after all have), would this mean that I would have to send each and any other additional collection agency the same letter, or does an Expired Statute of Limitations Notification Letter to the original loan holders prevent them from "selling" the account to someone else? At any rate, I'll do just that, consult a lawyer on the subject. As far as the question why the loan agency "chose" an insurance carrier for the loan is simple; when I purchased the car, roughly six month afterwards, I canceled the insurance I had placed on the car. In the interim (2 months), I received a letter from the car finance company stating that the car "had" to be insured, and they had insured it and added the premiums to the car note. The only issue was that I didn't have "liability" insurance which I squeaked by until the fire occurred which thank god was only limited to damage to the car and not anyone else. But to recap, I thought since it's been so many years since I even heard from these people, they had written it off as a lost and considered the car lost or beyond repair and is why they were not pursuing it any further. It was to my surprise that 6 years later, I get a letter from a totally "new" identity (collection agency) demanding payment of 18.5k. My further understanding after some research on the web was that "time barred" prevented anyone on the enforcement of debts. Although a debt's SoL had expired, I realize that this does not prohibit creditors and or collectors from attempting to collect the debt however that can be done if this means the legal court system cannot be used to force you to pay the debt through legal actions such as judgments, liens, wage garnishments and so forth. But again, I guess in the meantime, I need to seek the advise face to face from a professional that can give me options aside from forking out 18k for a slightly crisp automobile. As far as what could of been done to prevent this headache, the answer has been in front of me all along, the insurance claim adjuster even said it, I should of let it burn completely rather than call the fire department and had them put it out.
    As far as "So, because you weren't happy with the your insurance company, you felt it was proper to default on your loan?" not entirely. This was basically prompted because it was them that chose (and I understand I opted to go along) the fly by night insurance company & their fly by night body shops which incidentally I had no choice in making. An example on how this claim adjuster went about figuring out what would be covered and what would not; all newer cars have a computer system onboard that regulates basically the entire car. In my case, the heat from the fire damaged the control unit which alone was in excess of 4k to replace, yeah just that part. Because the "assigned only" body shops were 1/2 butts in really knowing how to fix it let alone diagnose it (all they knew how to do was mix bondo and apply it and give you an Earl Jive paint job), the claim adjuster basically just eye balled it and said, "oh that's fine, there's nothing wrong with it", however after a trip to a local dealer (and of course no insurance company ever allows repairs done by the dealer though they do it right but are expensive), I later learned the car doesn't run correctly (stalls, doesn't start or shuts off at any given time) because the on board computer is fried. Another example, and tell me what the insurance company claims adjuster & even body shop said is right, the rear parking break cables which basically melted don't even work and weren't replaced. Sure I complained, in writing, to the insurance company, to the finance company, to the dealer that sold me the fireball lemonade death trap, and even the car manufacturer and I got the same response from everyone, it's not our problem. So in retrospect "did I feel it was proper to default on your loan, of course. It's the consumers and cows like me and you and all that pay the price, while mega giant companies like the finance company, insurance company, car manufactures sit behind the letter of the law (in written contract) and basically sit back and deny accountability. Was it proper to default ~ ethically, and legally, more than likely no, morally, yes !
    My only regret was that I didn't seek counseling before a year had passed and taken them all to court myself. Anyhow, excuse my steam, it's yet another saga on how uneducated people get screwed every day of week. If I would of know a fraction of what I know now then, it certainly would of been a different story. Oh, on an ending note, isn't it customary at least when a loan is for a vehicle that the vehicle is first "repossessed", "sold", then what ever is left on the contract after sale is what I would generally have to pay ?


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