As winter finally gives way to spring nationwide, there can be many more dramatic incidents on the streets! It’s great to have “typical” days where you commute to work and back, make a few stops, and maybe stream some shows during the evening. Unfortunately, this past summer in Flint, Michigan, there was quite the disruption in peace and quiet. A Flint resident has now filed a lawsuit against a towing company and the police department after an unusual repossession attempt.
Repo Man Tows Car With Woman Inside
The operator of the wrecking company had allegedly used a strong-arm technique to seize the car. This case has now seen many people talking about the things that repossession employees are not allowed to do. The two lawsuits filed in federal court and reported in the Detroit Free Press provide more details. After midnight on August 24, Amika Ward was sitting behind the wheel of a Chevy Captiva.
The moment things turned drastic with the repo man:
It was purchased by her boyfriend, who Credit Acceptance Corp claimed defaulted on the payments. Alcar Recovery was the towing company hired to repossess the car, and wasted no time getting to work! As Ward sat in the parking lot, she prepared to drop off a friend’s birthday gift. The tow truck appeared with fervor, and two men menacingly stood on either side of the vehicle.
One demanded that she comply by signing paperwork, and the other demanded she hand over the keys. When she refused, one of the men reached in and attempted to remove the keys from the ignition. After that, Ward was even pepper sprayed and hit in the face. The confusion escalated a notch when one of the men claimed that Ward was brandishing a handgun.
All parties encounter more than they bargained for:
Even though it later turned out there was no handgun involved, the truck drivers got back in the truck. They drove away with Ward still in the vehicle, frightening her drastically. She didn’t know where they were going and feared the men may be angry enough to hurt her. She was then dragged through the apartment complex while she was pushing the brakes. With the situation having escalated to pure frenzy, the tires exploded from her pressure on the brakes.
The repo men then phoned the police, again insisting that Ward was in possession of a gun. The officers who arrived drew their guns on her, and she then threw her hands up. After shouting that she did not have a gun, she was shoved on the ground and put in the back of a squad car. As the incident became even more heated, the police claimed she could be charged with “resisting a repossession.” After she was eventually released, her boyfriend made the late payments and intercepted the car.
A disgruntled and damaged day in court?
Ward’s lawyer, Ian Lyngklip, lamented to the press that she is understandably upset. Ian had firmly insisted that it is illegal to tow a car with someone in it, not to mention doing so in front of authorities. One of the charges the repo company may potentially be facing is disturbing the peace. This can include threatening with violence and menacing behavior.
If any repossession scenario escalates massively, there is a defined protocol that should be followed. According to Michigan’s mandated guidelines for the industry, they should vacate and attempt the act at another time. Since many Americans are getting behind again on their car payments, they are concerned with repo companies’ practices. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that repo companies cannot take a car from a locked garage.
What other types of protection do consumers have?
In every profession that capitalizes on those who owe money, there are plenty of gray areas. One definite stipulation to abide by is that they cannot move another vehicle to obtain the one they are after. Since they cannot trick you into gaining access to the vehicle, other questions arise. Posing as another individual is a crime, but this is where asking about their identity could pose issues much as when serving a subpoena or motion.
The law states that repo companies cannot use police intervention without a warrant. If one were to position themselves in the place of the repo company here, they would begin to question the firearm. If they mistakenly thought Ward had a gun, this is what spurned the chaos in the first place. However, if they knew she did not, this was the juncture at which the police force was excessive.
A profession with a bounty of lines to blur:
In the classic Tarantino film “Jackie Brown”, a bail bondsman’s profession is shown in detail. Anyone that has this type of job may want to be armed considering its risk. In this interview with a professional repo man, the subject clearly outlines the fact that you cannot threaten somebody. If a repo employee ever has a gun pulled on them, they can secure a court order. At that point, the sheriff can come to get the vehicle.
If a car owner has defaulted on a loan at any time in the past, this may make the repossession company get their vehicle quicker. In some states, lenders are not required to give you official notice if they are preparing to repossess. The acceleration notice is the document that states you must pay the remaining balance to avoid this stressful incident. Once the vehicle is repossessed, you will owe storage fees on top of your balance.
Final thoughts on this “deal gone wrong” with a repo man:
As the economy fluctuates, there are always individuals who thought they could make good on a loan but can’t. We already see such turmoil every day in the world, but unfortunately, these are emotionally charged events. How would you have handled this if you were on either side of the story? Let us know in the comments below, or check out another article about surging car repossessions.