Auto Loans


Can I keep my car loan out of my Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? – Alabama Bankruptcy Attorney Judson E. Crump

 I’m going to file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, but I don’t want to include my car.  Can I do that? No.  At least, not unless you have a really compelling reason to do so.  I’ll tell you why in a minute.  But first, let’s talk about some definitions.  As a lawyer, […]


Opening Credits, the Q & A section of Creditcards.com, recently interviewed me about the law in Alabama as applied to minors who obtain credit cards in their own names.

Ms. Erica Sandberg writes a periodic advice column on the popular credit advice website CreditCards.com.  One of her readers had a question about the enforceability of a credit card contract entered into by a minor.  In Alabama, minority is a defense to a breach of contract lawsuit.  To enforce a contract, the creditor must show that there was an offer, an acceptance of that offer, consideration exchanged, capacity, and legality.  The age of the person entering the contract can create an issue regarding the person’s capacity to enter into a contract.  The general rule in Alabama is that contracts entered into by minors are voidable.  See Ex Parte Odem, 537 So.2d 919 (Ala. 1988).  This means that they aren’t automatically invalid, but the minor cannot be compelled to perform their obligations under the contract if they do not choose to do so.

This includes contracts for the extension of credit, such as a credit card.  In other words, if a lender is dumb enough to lend money to someone who isn’t old enough to enter a contract, the law doesn’t have much sympathy for them.  That’s why so many student loans are co-signed by parents or spouses.

Keep in mind, however, that lying on a credit application about your age or income can be considered fraud, and that could create a separate route for a creditor to take legal action against you.  Though to be honest, in hundreds of debt collection cases I’ve dealt with, I have never seen a credit card company or debt collector sue for fraud on a credit application.

The original Creditcards.com article can be found here:

https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/can-minor-be-sued-for-defaulted-card-debt.php


Buy-Here-Pay-Here Repossessions – Alabama Consumer Rights Lawyer Judson E. Crump

Has your vehicle been repossessed by a Buy-Here-Pay-Here dealership?

Repossessions are hard on folks.  You’ve lost your car.  You’ve lost the money that you’ve put into it.  Your credit has taken a hit.  Maybe your neighbors or co-workers witnessed the whole thing and it’s embarrassing.  Simply getting a car repossessed is hard enough.  But sometimes dealers and repo companies make it worse by not respecting your rights during and after the repossession.

Know your rights after a Repo!

Contrary to what the car sales and finance industries would have you believe, you have certain rights when your car has been repossessed.  You have the right to be notified of what they’re going to do with your car, and you have the right to redeem it if you can afford it.  If they sell your car, they can’t profit from the sale of your vehicle.

That’s right.  If a car dealer or finance company sells your car, they can’t keep any money they make over the balance due on the vehicle.

Here’s an example:

You buy a car whose cash price is $10,000 with $600 of taxes and fees.  So the total price is $10,600.

You pay a $2,000 down payment and agree to $300/month for 48 months.  So the amount financed is $8,600.

After paying for 6 months, you miss a payment and the car gets repossessed.  At the time of the repo, the balance due on the car is $8,200, and the creditor paid the repo man $300 to repo the car.  Your balance is now $8,500.

The creditor sells the car.  If the creditor sells the car for $8,000, then you owe  $500.  [$8,500 – $8,000 = $500].

However, if the creditor sells the car for $9,000, then the dealer owes you $500.  [$8,500 – (-$9,000) = -$500].

This seems like common sense, right?  But believe it or not, used car dealerships break this rule all the time.

Small used car dealers and buy-here-pay-here dealerships usually don’t sell their repossessed vehicles at an auction.  Rather, they put them back on their lot and sell them to another customer.  So if you paid $2000 down on a $10,000 car that was repossessed 6 months later, it is extremely unlikely that the car has lost $2,000 in value during that time.  But when they go to sell the car to another customer, they want to make as much money as possible by selling it for as much as they can.  If they sell it for more than the amount you owe at the time it was repossessed, then they have to pay you the money they made off the second sale.

Now, it’s very hard to determine the price they got for a vehicle.  That’s why you call a lawyer who knows how to handle these sorts of cases.

If you’ve had a car that has been repossessed and sold from the same lot that repossessed your car, call a knowledgeable Alabama consumer rights lawyer to see what you can do about it.


Fine Print Explained: Car Sale Contracts, Part 2 – Alabama Consumer Rights Attorney Judson E. Crump

Deciphering Car Sale Contracts, Continued. If you haven’t read the first part of this article, you should read it here. Today we look at all that fine print on the back side of your car sale contract, and figure out what it all means.   XI.  Finance Charge and Payments. […]


Why you never keep your car sale paperwork in your car. – Alabama Consumer Rights Lawyer Judson E. Crump

At 8:59 A.M., my office phone rings.  A frantic woman answers: “My car just got repossessed.” As she proceeds to tell me her story, it becomes clear that this isn’t a garden variety repossession.  Most repossessions, I confess, are totally legal.  A car was bought on an installment contract; payments […]


This Is Why People Think Lawyers are Full of Crap

I love my job.  Sure, I don’t get the huge payouts of the personal injury lawyers, or the television snippets of the criminal defense bar, or the posh offices and guaranteed salary of the corporate lawyers.  But I get something a lot of lawyers don’t: I get to ask for […]


Can the Repo Man Do That? The Law on Repossessions. – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorney Judson E. Crump 71

About a million cars are repossessed each year in the United States.  Many of these are illegal, though most debtors (and a lot of repo agencies) don’t know it.  So just what makes a repossession illegal in Alabama? Breach of the Peace. A secured creditor can only repossess their collateral […]


Dealer Didn’t Pay Off Your Trade-In? What To Do About It – Alabama Consumer Protection Lawyer Judson E. Crump 5

“My Trade-In Vehicle wasn’t paid off by the Dealer.  Now it’s still on my credit report as past due.  What can I do?” Believe it or not, this question comes up fairly often.  You go car shopping, and you find a car you like, negotiate a value for your trade-in […]


Car Paid for but still no Title? What you can do about it. Alabama Consumer Finance Attorney Judson E. Crump

You’ve worked hard.  You made your payments, and finally, the vehicle is YOURS!  Right?   So after your hard work and dedication, after you’ve made every payment that was due, you expect a free & clear certificate of title to your vehicle.  After all, that is what the contract entitles you […]