The Repo Man Always Rings Never

Tim fell behind on his car payments, then made one big payment to get all caught up. The next day, Hyundai Motor Finance Company repossessed his car.

Tim writes:

Hi Consumerist,

I’ve seen plenty of people helped with you guys before; maybe someone has guidance for me now. I lease a car through Hyundai Motor Finance, but I was late on some payments. Yesterday, September 19th, I made a payment online covering everything past due, so I would be all squared away. However, this morning (the 20th) I discovered my car was gone. My landlady confirmed that it got towed away at around dawn.

I called Hyundai Motor Finance to see why this happened and what I could do. The representative said that they had no way of knowing to stop the repossession because I didn’t make my payment over the phone, but online. While they confirmed that they received the payment and it was received and processed on the 19th, they had no indication they should stop the repossession and that I should have called. My car is currently impounded and could go to auction at any time. He said there was nothing they could do. I just had to fill out and fax in the reinstatement paperwork and pay hundreds of dollars in fees.

I asked to speak to a supervisor, he sarcastically said “Gladly,” and the phone rang for a while until I got disconnected. I feel I should not have to pay the repossession and reinstatement fees, nor should it have been taken away in the first place. I’ve called several times but keep talking with the same unhelpful representative. Do you have any advice for what I can do to talk with someone else and/or get my car back without having to pay huge fees?

Thanks,
Tim

That sucks. But this is the latest story I’ve heard/written about where adverse action on a consumer’s account could have been prevented if they had followed up to make sure their money went through. Shouldn’t the systems work they way they say they do? Sure, but when you’re riding the line with payments, an overabundance of caution is prudent.

That said, Tim, maybe you could try escalating past this first level Cerebus. I did some searching and found the email address format for this company is firstletteroffirstnamelastname@hcamerica.com. But darned if I could find any executives or faces behind the wall the hook that up to. Which is as they probably intended. Maybe you’ll have more luck. You can also try EECBing Hyundai Motor America itself, as this division reports to them, according to this org chart at Businessweek.