I was laid off in 2008. Just to stay afloat, I took a job working at a movie theater. As a result of the lower income, I fell behind on my car payments.
I concede that is my own fault and I take responsibility for that.
Three weeks ago, I got a new, full-time job and began catching up on my debts.
I had a 2007 Ford Mustang with a loan through HSBC Auto (which was acquired by Santander). I made the agreed upon payment, and they still took my car.
On 10/6/10 I talked to a collections rep (name unknown) with Santander who told me that my car had been assigned for repossession and I would need to make a payment of $275 by Friday, 10/8/10 to stop that from happening.
On 10/7/10, I made a payment of $310.
My car was repossessed ANYWAY the night of 10/7/10 - 10/8/10.
When I called Santander to get the situation resolved, 3 people (an account manager named Tasha, a collections person named Margaret Mays, and another account manager named Ed) said that it was their mistake or they empathized with the righteousness of my situation but they said it was out of their authority.
I was transfered to a woman in "reinstatement" (name unknown) who claimed that the reason the repossession had occurred was that since my payment had been made after business hours, the "stop" on the repossession had not reached their repossession affiliate.
At this point, I felt that although I had already missed a day of work at my new job for this, it was a relatively easy fix. They just had to contact their affiliate repossession company and have them return the car to me ASAP.
Unfortunately, it wasn't that easy. The woman in "reinstatement" with Santander said that what I had been told about having until 10/8/10 to pay was from "a different department" so therefore, it didn't matter, and that in order to get the car back, I would have to pay the ENTIRE past due amount, repossession fees of approximately $500, and whatever arbitrary fees the the repossession company might choose to charge me. Her explanation was that because the message between them and the repossession company was apparently "crossed" that they are not at fault.
This is ridiculous because:
- I had been told I had until Friday to make my payment; the payment was made Thursday, IT POSTED Thursday, and the car was still taken Thursday. Even if their story about it being after business hours on Thursday was true, it wouldn't matter because I had been told I had until Friday anyway.
- The repossession company is their affiliate.
- It doesn't matter if I had been told by a different department, it's all still the same company. What kind of business practice allows one department of the company to say that it doesn't matter what agreements another department makes?
I asked for a manager and was twice disconnected in transfer.
I called back and spoke with a collections person named Sal who repeated Santander's line "shedding responsibility" and was somewhat rude. I asked for his manager and was transferred to Mario Compean who identified himself as Sal's boss. He was much more polite, but he also repeated Santander's refusal to do what is right and rectify the situation. In addition he said that the 3 previous employees who had said that I was in the right would be disciplined for putting the company at risk.
I explained to Mario that if that was Santander's position, then I would file a complaint to the Better Business Bureau - which I have done. While he did not "write-it-off", he did not seem concerned.
Mario transferred me to a voice mail for Terra Stewart who is apparently a manager in the "Reinstatement Department". I left a message for her to please call back, but have not heard from her.
This is very much an unfair business practice.
A fair resolution would be for the car in question ("my car") and my property returned to me as soon as possible. Without any problems or "hoops" from either Santander nor their repossession affiliate.
- Not having to pay the entire past due balance BEFORE getting the car back, as this would not be the case if it had not been repossessed which as per my payment on 10/7/10 should not have happened.
- Not being charged a "repossession fee" - again because the repossession should not have happened to begin with.
- No associated fees (such as for clearing up police reports).
- Not being forced to pay fees including storage or other fees from Santander's repossession affiliate.
- No "hassles" such as "you must pick up your car 100 miles from your house during the hours of 1-3 PM" for example.
I would also like a formal, written apology from the company.
And finally, since this is CLEARLY an unfair business practice, I would like the policy amended not only for me, but for all consumers. It is not fair nor right for a company to offer an agreement, then refuse to honor their agreement because 1. the agreement was "made by a different department (in the same company)" and 2. "the message 'did not get to their own affiliate in time'"
Monetary Loss: $20.