Skip to comments.Seizing of debtors' cars is curtailed
Posted on 12/19/2006 6:52:35 AM PST by A. Pole
Sheriffs in three Massachusetts counties that once made a business of towing vehicles on behalf of unscrupulous debt collectors have adopted new rules to treat consumers more fairly and have sharply cut back on the common practice of seizing vehicles from beleaguered debtors.
In Norfolk County, deputy sheriffs are no longer seizing vehicles from consumers whose debt results from medical or dental expenses or in cases in which the amount owed is less than $1,500.
"We will no longer seize cars over medical bills, no matter what the amount," Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti said, calling the practice inappropriate because medical services are not a discretionary purchase.
And in Plymouth County, the Sheriff's Department has adopted an even more striking shift: treating debtors with simple consideration. The deputy sheriff now writes to anyone whose vehicle is about to be seized, said spokesman John Birtwell .
The change was made after the Globe reported that many consumers have no idea they are being sued for debt or that a debt collector has a court judgment to seize their property.
Current law, which is decades old, aims to protect a consumer's primary mode of transportation but only up to $700. State Senator Marc R. Pacheco also has filed a bill, which he plans to refile in the next session, that would raise the auto exemption to $2,600, with regular increases based on the cost-of-living index.
Robert J. Hobbs , deputy director of the National Consumer Law Center in Boston, said he thinks the exemption should go even further. As part of a package of debt-collection reforms his group is preparing to present to legislators, he suggests that every family ought to be able to keep one vehicle safe from collectors, no matter its value.
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
Free Market under assault in People's Republic of Massachusetts.
How many 2007 Escalades owners default on debts smaller than $1500 and have one car for the whole family? Zero?
Life of a Repo-man is intense.
"Life of a Repo-man is intense"
"You find one in every car......"
They could just find some "drugs" or too much cash in the vehicles if they really wanted to steal them.
The way I read this, the cars arent being repo'ed. They arent being seized for a lack of car payments, they are being held hostage to other debts. I had no idea anyone could steal your car for an unpaid debt. Perhaps in Massachusetts that is legal,but I never heard of it before.
While I was shocked that they could seize your car for unrelated debts, the fact that the Sheriffs office is in business with debt collectors really blew me away. I have never heard of either of these two practices.
The Boston Socialist at work. Note that creditors are automatically 'unscrupulous' for securing their loans. I dount that any of the Globe's Starbucks Marxist trust babies ever had to take a loan in their lives.
You can be sure the state collects a sizeable daily storage fee of the towed car. Then they use that to seize the debtors home, all while raising his property taxes for the common good. This article is just PR spin pretending to be the good guy. More likely they've discovered the guy with a $700 car will never pay their storage fee and they want to maximize their storage space with better paying extortion customers.
Garnish the wages. There is a time for decency in capitalism. Your kid gets sick, your job doesn't have crap for benefits. You get a massive doctor's bill for $1400 to treat your kid. Your car is a piece of crap but you can't afford a new one, so you eat up part of your paycheck keeping it on the road, and keeping a roof over your family.
Take it out of the paycheck in installments. Charge interest. Taking the means to actually make money is just punative and counter productive other than to get quick cash from the sale of the car.
It's why loansharks often make sure that their muscle hurt people but don't make them unable to work. How are they going to pay then?
It would absolutely shock you.
I was in a showroom one time and a customer was looking at an Escalade. We went to test drive a Lincoln. Whn we got back, the police were there. It seems Mr Escalade Buyer was suprised when his wife showed up at the dealership and stopped the buying process. She then proceeded to mop the showroom with his battered body.
The punch line? The Finance guy said the guy had such a low credit score, he couldn't have bought the car anyway. So the guy gets a butt kicking and his wife goes to jail. Meanwhile, he rolls his Electra 225 out of the lot in shame.
The debt in question was not a secured loan. The debt collectors are seizing cars that are NOT in lien to the debt being collected.
The full article notes that one practice they are stopping is seizing cars with existing liens to some other person, i.e. the car was already security for a loan from somebody else. They were also seizing cars from folks who had started bankruptcy, when the assets should be protected for fair distribution to all creditors.
The relief is being granted to those whose trouble is from medical or dental bills they have not paid.
The debt collectors are unscrupulous as they manage to get a judgement and start collection before the target is notified that there is a proceeding against them.
If it's like some spots NJ, they probably try to sieze cars worth way more than the loan, and then arrange to sell them at just enough (or less) than the amount of the loan to their partners. Thus, the loan gets paid, they get to resell the car at more profit. If they really underbid the car, they still have part of the original loan to collect on. This part of the process is only hinted at by the article, when it notes that they are trying to get more bidders at the car auctions.
There is no free lunch - if hospitals and doctors do not get paid, emergency rooms will close. If the debtors set up a payment plan with the hospital on their debt, I don't think the hospital would have their car sold to pay their debt. What likely happened here is that the debtors went to the hospital emergency room for "free" medical care, thinking that the hospital couldn't collect - ignored the bills - and then their car got towed and sold. How else can you make illegals and deadbeats pay when they work under the table? I'm with the doctors on this one - I pay for my medical insurance, why should my rates increase because deadbeats won't pay and they don't want their cars sold at auction?
Not after we get HilaryCare(TM).
How seizing the only family car worth $700 will help the hospital? One cannot squeeze blood from a stone.
Maybe restoring debtor prisons will help?
In my experience, debtors who make an effort to pay something regularly on their bill are not the problem - $20 per week would keep away the collectors. The usual problem is deadbeats who "disappear" after the bill is sent b/c they have no intention of paying anything. IMO, deadbeats like that deserve what they get, including having their $700 car towed. Why should I pay higher insurance rates b/c deadbeats want a free lunch and not pay anything?
If you feel sorry for the illegals and deadbeats in Massachusetts, send your name to the hospitals and agree to pay the deadbeats' bills in exchange for the debts - I'm sure the hospitals would be happy to get rid of these unpaid bills. I'm sure the deadbeats will astound you with their ingratitude when you call them for money to reimburse you, in other words, don't expect deadbeats to pay you back. FYI
Bet you think there should be no minimum wage and employers shouldn't be required to provide health insurance too.
In keeping with the season; "Are there no workhouses?"
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