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Repo man takes van from couple current on auto-loan

Debt collectors have a number of avenues to legally seek repayment under our laws. Creditor lawsuits are often filed against a debtor to obtain a judgment. The court order can be used to later garnish wages under Ohio law, or seize funds in a bank account. On certain types of transactions, the lender can seek return of property, such as a foreclosure action on a home, or through repossession of an automobile.

This blog has reported numerous stories about the grief people have suffered from these legal collection activities. We have also written stories about when debt collection activities go too far and become creditor harassment. A recent story from our neighboring state to the east is a bit different--it entails a wrongful automobile repossession--and the bank's response when called out on the error.

A Pennsylvania couple reportedly watched as a tow truck hooked up their minivan. The truck operator essentially told them that he was a repo man and had an order to repo the van. The couple knew that they remained current on the payments, but the tow truck showed up anyway.

The husband and wife say that the lender claimed that they had missed a payment several months earlier, and the bank decided to repossess the vehicle. The minivan owners scoured their records and found the cancelled check sent to make the payment for the month in question. The bank had credited the wrong account. But the bank held the minivan anyway for roughly two weeks, telling the couple that they had to pay for the missed month-essentially requiring the couple to make an extra payment due to the Bank of America error.

The issue was later resolved after the media got a hold of the story. The bank issued a public statement, saying, "The miscommunications in this case were unfortunate, but we are glad the situation has been resolved and we apologize for the inconvenience," according to NBC Philadelphia.

While the recent story involves a bank error that caused an unfortunate result in the repo, bank errors may lead to deleterious effects upon a person credit-if the creditor reports false information to the credit reporting agencies. Information in a credit report that is outdated, inaccurate or wrongly reported can unduly reduce a consumer's credit score.

Source: NBC 10 Philadelphia, "Couple: Bank Wrongly Repo'd Our Car," Harry Hairston and Karen Araiza, Nov 8, 2012

Our firm assists Cincinnati area consumers in correcting errors in credit reports. For more information on the firm, please visit the legal help in restoring credit page.

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