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Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor
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My car has been repossessed with the finance company

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My car has been repossessed with the finance company claiming I breached the contract by not "keeping possession" of the car. I dispute this given that I have kept up all payments, I know where the car was left and I have a key, it has also been kept taxed and insured. I would like some legal advice regarding this
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Wales
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Complaint to the finance company and escalated to the financial ombudsman however this was regarding a separate issue. The repossession happened while the case was with the financial ombudsman.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I was originally chasing rejection of the vehicle given a second fault I believe caused by the fix to the original fault by the garage I purchased it from. After this second fault the car was sent back to the garage and remained there.
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
It may also be worth noting that they did this when I owed 33.1% of the car meaning the next payment would have taken me over the 33.3% which would mean they would need a court order to repossess. They also repossessed without any formal notice.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I will help you. I am just reviewing your question. Hopefully, we can get this resolved quickly.

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Don’t worry you do not have to wait here for an answer and you will get an email when I respond.

Now let me just take a look and your question and I will see if I can provide an answer for you.

On what basis did they say you did not have possession?
Please be honest about this.

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
They say that because I left the car at the garage I am not in possession of it. I argued that had I left the car at an airport car park or a street away from my house would I not be in possession, to which they said I would and that would be fine. My argument is that these aren't different and the contract doesn't state a time scale.

When you say ' the garage ' - is it your garage? Is it at where you live?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Contract states:
"Keep the Vehicle in your possession and under your control and not sell, rent or dispose of it or attempt to do so or allow someone other than you to become registered at the DVLA as the vehicles registered keeper"
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
The garage refers to the garage I bought the car from originally

So you didnt pick it up from the garage?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
They originally pursued me via phone to pick it up during lockdowns to which I said I could not. After lockdown I took advice from the FOS who said I should tell them the case is with the FOS and if they do not accept that to pick up the car but make it clear that it is against my will. The next time they rang I said it was with the FOS and they said "okay" and heard nothing more. I later received a letter from the recovery department of the finance company saying it was being repossessed with no prior formal warning.

So you didnt pick it up from the garage?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I would have done at this point if requested, but was not given that opportunity

Forgive me, did you pick it up from the garage- yes or no?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.

Had you ever picked it up since it was delivered to the garage?

How long has it been at the garage for?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
No, it was left at the garage after the incident in August 2020 and repossessed in August 2021.

OK - so it was there for 12 months.

What did the FOS rule?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
An investigator has initially sided with the finance company, I'm taking advice before appealing to an actual ombudsman

My initial view is that they are right.

I understand what you are saying about it being parked on the road

But if you go on holiday and its at an airport, you are generally only away for a few months.

In any event you would have a contract with the airport car park to look after your car for a period of time when it was parked.

Here its been 12 months.

If it had been your own garage, its a different issue.

I think you need to read the terms carefully. See what it says about the definition of 'keeping possession'.

But my view is that it is only land not belonging to you and has been so for a year. I can't see how you can argue its in your possession because of the above.

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want, nor the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Can I clarify anything for you about this today, please?

If you need anything further I am available for a follow up at no extra cost.

I was just following up to see if there is anything else I can assist you with today? If so, just let me know.

If not, then I am happy to have been able to assist you.

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Okay, but the contract also states that I shouldn't drive the vehicle if I become aware of a fault. The fault was that the driveshaft fell off I believe this was caused by the garage I don't trust that the car was safe to drive hence did not pick it up. Also the case was still with the FOS who had not ruled at the time and I was not given formal warning of repossession at which point I would have picked up there car. Previous to this they had said (verbally) "okay". Is this legal?
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Also the time period is primarily because of COVID, can this presented as a mitigating factor?

Lockdown was for 6 weeks, beyond this I don't think you have an argument really.

If the car was not roadworthy and still to be fixed you have an aegyment.

If they had fixed it, but you didn't trust them - then you could have gotten your own engineer to go and look.

I hope that clarifies

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I live in Wales, lockdown was certainly more than 6 weeks and differed in timings to England. An AA mechanic who picked up the vehicle confirmed the fault and likely cause - that new stretch bolts were not used. Also No job card was ever provided by the garage to dispute this.
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
They also "fixed" it after my explicit instruction not to, but this was done over the phone so no written evidence, as such I could no longer get it checked by a third party.

Ok - I think you have some argument. But it would be down to a Judge.

They can try and take you to Court and you can defend it.

i hope that helps.

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Okay, that's fine. Just to confirm, they are allowed to repossess without formal notice?

They need to serve a default notice. That is a requirement. I hope that helps.

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
They didn't do this, I only received a letter stating I failed to comply with a default notice I didn't receive. Is there anything specific I can do to query this?
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Do they have to prove they sent a default notice?
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I also have a question on GDPR, are you able to help with that?

They only need to show it was sent.

GDPR you need to post a new thread re that.

I hope that helps.

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
No problem, thank you for your help

My pleasure

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