September 16, 2006

"Not my fault" lame story of the week

Rosalie Hargroves leaves her five year old son in the car "to make a 'quick' phone call." During that time, a repo guy snatches her car. But there's a problem: the five year old is still in the car!!

The repo man claims he never saw the boy and is quite upset about the whole deal (so much so that he had to go to the hospital while being questioned by police). Hargroves doubts that he couldn't have seen the boy.

Who's to blame? Let's see: Hargroves claims "she normally paid $50 a week (on the car) but had fallen a month behind when she left her previous job in July." Hmm. A mere month behind?? Who the hell repos a car after a mere month's worth of late payment? That comes off as a phony statement. Strike #1 on Ms. Hargroves. Next, how "quick" was that phone call? Good repo guys are fast, but not that fast. What kind of parent leaves their five year old in the car for as long as it would take a repo guy to do his thing? (It was five to ten minutes according to Hargroves.) Strike #2.

Ron Roberts is the repo guy. Repo men are supposed to be as thorough as possible, and quickness is their first motive. It does seem a bit incredulous that Roberts couldn't have seen Hargroves' boy in the back seat (it was daytime) -- if the child was indeed in a booster seat as Ms. Hargroves claims. In addition, repo guys usually knock on the non-paying customer's door first, to inform them of the repossession. Clandestinely snatching a car is supposed to be a last resort due to the previous "repo-informing" leading to a possible confrontation. It's not noted if Roberts had made that attempt previously. If he didn't, swiping the car without at least an attempt at notifying Hargroves seems out of line. But still, as the police note in the article, repo men are not obligated to search a car before repossessing it.

Conclusion: The whole situation would not have happened if 1) Hargroves paid her bill and/or requested that the finance co. work with her while she had financial difficulty. (She claims she did call the co. to inform them she was making a payment; if this was the first time she had run into $$ trouble and hence, her payments, it is hard to believe that her car was repo'd so quickly. Again, repossession of a car occurs usually after multiple instances of non-payment and/or refusal to work with the co. on a new payment plan.); and 2) if she did not leave her five year old boy in the car for her "brief" phone call. People usually know if a repossession is in the cards, so leaving your vehicle unattended -- with your child in it -- during this time is purely dimwitted.

Full Disclosure: I worked in a collections dept. for almost two years, so I'm fairly acquainted with how collections and repossessions work.

Posted by Hube at September 16, 2006 07:35 PM | TrackBack

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Posted by: Mike M. at September 16, 2006 07:55 PM

and if I'm not mistaken.....didn't she say she would have $200 by friday?????????? If she was only a 'month' late of $50, why the larger amount?

Posted by: cardinals fan at September 16, 2006 08:06 PM

I believe the article said she paid $50/week, thus the $200 for 4 weeks. That's 4 payments. Why do people sign a contract to pay by the week? I haven't worked in collections but I suspect it's because they haven't made payments on time in the past. If you don't make your mortgage payment for 4 months, what happens? Ms. Hargrove obviously had past credit problems so was forced into one of these "pay by the week" contracts. As far as leaving your child in the back of a car unattended for 10 minutes, I won't even address the stupidity of that. What would have happened had a county police officer, while patrolling the area, saw a 5 yr. old in an unattended vehicle? She would have been arrested and charged with "endangering the welfare" would be my guess.

Posted by: Al at September 16, 2006 10:15 PM

"your job is your credit"

she was probably making weekly payments from day one. There is no "finance company", the used car dealer financed the sale (and kept a spare set of keys).

They probably sold her a car with a wholesale value of $1,000 for $50/week for 3 years.

Posted by: steamboat willy at September 17, 2006 02:51 PM

customer was a shitbag credit risk. She knew her car was on its way to being taken. She left the kid in the car hoping it wouldn't be taken. The repo guy saw his chance took the car. She new what what she was doing and is playing the poor me crap. I have no sympathy for her.

Her poor child though, that is where my heart is.

Ps work in auto industry now....

Posted by: donviti at September 19, 2006 10:17 AM