Legal Question in Mediation in Washington

Repo Gone Bad!

I have had a car that I did on an in-house financing program from a dealership. Long story short I became very ill with heart problems, and moved. A few months later I went in person to the dealership to pay off the car balance, and the owner literally yelled at me, threatened me, and even spit in my face. So I left the lot, the matter was left unresolved, and a couple months later I get a court summons stating that I either return the car or pay the balance. I want to return the car. I have a court date coming up, and i'm worried what could happen in court. I have no representation, I tried to take care of this matter, and I have scheduled a state patrol officer to meet me and take the car so that the dealership can't claim any damages, etc. I need to know about the worse case scenario, and what could possibly happen?

Asked on 7/23/08, 12:59 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Amir John Showrai The Pacific Law Firm, PLLC

Re: Repo Gone Bad!

A state patrol officer will do little to help you document the state of the car upon return. You should take photos of it and have the officer (if willing) to sign a declaration that the photos accurately reflect the condition of the car as of the date the photos were taken.

You should also be careful, since it appears that the dealer has sued you. You should try to get him to settle by dismissing the case, since he either wants the car or his money. If the car will do the trick, then get him to sign a document wherein he stipulates that by you returning the car, he forgives the debt and agrees to dismiss any civil action against you, and that he agrees the car is in satisfactory condition such that he does not plan to pursue any further claims against you. You'd also want him to agree that he will not report any late payments to any credit reporting agency as part of this settlement.

Honestly, there is a lot more I'd want in such an agreement and I am not using the language and terms of art that I'd use in an actual stipulated settlement agreement, so this is meant more to give you an idea of what you need than anything. I am not sure how much is at stake here, (is this a $500 car or a $50,000 car?) but it might make sense to hire a lawyer to at least draft the settlement once you reach a settlement- for your own protection.

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Answered on 7/23/08, 5:00 pm

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