Can the Finance Company Replace My Car Key Without My Permission?

Question:

Dear Steve,

Vehicle repossession due to default on my payments. The vehicle was taken while I was at work.

Of course, the tow man didn’t come in to make me aware of this so I had no opportunity to get my personal belongings out of the vehicle.

I made arrangements to catch up the payments and recover the vehicle. Upon retrieving the vehicle I saw that all my personal belongings were gone/ taken out of the vehicle, including my vehicle registration, tag receipt, and any and all paperwork inside my glove box.

I had newly purchased items in my back seat and trunk that were taken and my driver side visor was torn completely off and thrown in my back floorboard. They also presented me with a “new” key at the auction house where my vehicle was being held. They gave no explanation for this and simply informed me that my original manufacturer Honda key with keyless entry would no longer work with my vehicle?

I also was made to sign an agreement that stated I was responsible for the fee for the new key, an additional $125. My car tag was taken as well, and I was told I would have to pay a $75 storage fee in order to retrieve my belongings.

My question is referring mainly to the fact that my original Honda key will no longer start my vehicle and I was not made aware of this until after the fact.

There is no notice or clause in my paperwork that I signed off on when I purchased the vehicle. I was made aware and signed an acknowledgment referring to the GPS system in my original paperwork as well as their ability to “turn my vehicle off” for nonpayment. Those were the only two things I acknowledged and signed off for when I purchased the vehicle. I live in AL.

And have researched the repossession laws here for my state but I can’t find any information regarding events such as an entirely new key being cut for a vehicle. Would you happen to have any information regarding this matter or do you know if this act is even legal? In any state?

Thanks so much in advance!

Amy

Answer:

Dear Amy,

There is a lot of information here that is irregular, unfortunate and needs further research. To fight this you will most likely need the services of an experienced attorney who is licensed in your state. One place to look for such an attorney is to click here.

Here is where your situation gets difficult. The repossession or auction company should return personal possessions to you. However, if they claim there were none in the car then how do you prove there were? You can be both a victim and without a solution at the same time.

Of course, the key advice here is when you are financing a vehicle through a high-risk lender, like the one you describe, it is never wise to leave anything of value in the vehicle if you miss your car payment by even one day in Alabama.

The repossession agent has no requirement to notify you your car is being taken away, especially if parked in a public place. The paperwork regarding the title, plate, and other items were most likely removed by one of the parties in this event. You didn’t say if the auction house claimed to not have them. Typically this information is organized to go with the sale of the vehicle.

Regarding the key. Since the vehicle was repossessed without your key in hand they could have rekeyed the vehicle and opted to not go for the more expensive keyless entry key. You could visit a dealership and ask them if a keyless entry key can be made for your vehicle. The critical item here is if your old key matches the new key or was the ignition was physically changed or reprogrammed. New keyless entry keys are expensive.

And while I hate to state the obvious, the ultimate way to avoid such turmoil and expense in the future is to not fall behind on the vehicle payment, even by a day.

This is a good time to evaluate if you can afford the car payment or you are at risk of this happening again. If you are stretched thin and this may be a possibility again in the future then it might be time to think about reorganizing your entire financial life. However, to get to the bottom of that you would really need to consult with a financial or debt professional to uncover your financial reality.

Steve Rhode
Get Out of Debt GuyTwitter, G+, Facebook

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This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt Guy and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

The post Can the Finance Company Replace My Car Key Without My Permission? appeared first on Personal Finance Syndication Network.

About Damon Day

As a Debt Coach and a Financial Advocate, I have saved my clients Millions of Dollars by exposing the debt relief scams that other consumers fall victim to. I work directly for my clients to create custom debt relief strategies based on their own unique circumstances. Consumers who speak with me first, come out far ahead of those who don't, every single time. Guaranteed. +Damon Day