OTTUMWA, Iowa — A local used-car dealer was reprimanded by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller for illegally repossessing vehicles. Goldy's Auto of Ottumwa acknowledged in an agreement with Miller's office that the dealer did not always make clear consumer protection laws regarding loan defaults and repossessions.
Under the agreement, Goldy’s, and owner Greg Goldizen, have agreed that in cases over the past two years where the dealer repossessed a vehicle without providing proper right to cure notices, the dealership will forgive any outstanding balance and will refund amounts consumers paid the dealer after it repossessed the vehicles.
In the agreement with the Consumer Protection Division, called an Assurance of Discontinuance
, Miller alleged that Goldy’s Auto illegally attempted to have customers waive their rights surrounding repossessions. Under Iowa law, a consumer cannot agree to give up those rights or any rights under the Iowa Consumer Credit Code.
Often called a “right to cure” or cure of default, the law requires that creditors inform consumers the first time they default on a credit transaction in a one-year period. Creditors must also provide consumers a notice informing them of their rights, including the right to correct the alleged default. The notice must describe the default, the steps the consumer must take to resolve it, and that the creditor must allow consumers 20 days to correct the default before the vehicle is repossessed.
In addition to convincing customers to waive their rights, Miller alleged that Goldy’s failed to provide consumers with proper right to cure notices. “Repossessing vehicles without providing a proper Notice of Right to Cure is a serious violation,” according to the agreement. “All repossessions made without providing a proper Notice of Right to Cure are illegal repossessions.”
Miller also alleged that Goldy’s failed to file a required consumer creditor notification with the state. Goldy’s has since filed that notification and paid all required fees, including late fees.