In which my bank forgets the Uniform Commercial Code, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and basic humanity

I kind of skipped a chapter in my crazy car drama. Let’s catch up with some highlights of this really complicated situation:

  • Bought car from Highline Autoplex of Plano, which was more of a one- or two-man shop consisting of an old dude and his grandson, October 22, 2012. 
  • Dude fails to register car or transfer title before temporary plate expire, December 2, 2012.
  • I contacted dude. He refers me to Moore Transport Services of Richardson, December 7, 2012. I begin my pursuit of answers from Moore.
  • Receive first contact from Independent Bank in Memphis, Tennessee, December 22, 2012 – a collections letter.
  • Verbally request loan details and copy of the cars title, December 26, 2012, and again intermittently by phone, email, and certified letter.
  • After weeks of prodding, Moore Transport Services finally files registration and title with the state of Texas, January 12, 2013.
  • Independent Bank of Tennessee hires someone to steal the car, January 18.

“Wait!” a reasonable person would ask at this point, “Isn’t there some kind of system in place that protects people from having their cars stolen all willy nilly?!” Yes, dear reasonable person, there are several measures in place to protect consumers. Most of us have heard of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, but even before that, the UCC should have kicked in. Specifically, when your loan is assigned or sold, the lender has to contact you and tell you how and when to pay your debt. Also, specifically, a lender’s first contact with the consumer can’t be a collection notice. None of those are true with my experience with Independent Bank of Tennessee.

I’ve had plenty of hindsight advice — much of it incorrect or helpful, but some of it very helpful. Most notably, “You didn’t do anything wrong!”

I practically begged Independent Bank of Tennessee to provide me with any relevant information, but I still don’t have remit-to information or official notification of my account number today, three months and one week later.

Two phone calls from Addison P.D. later, a manager at Independence Bank started responding to my phone calls. Thursday, the manager answered my call and had a few avenues of questioning. One was that the bank hadn’t provided me with the details of my loan. Two was that one of the bank’s “local investigators spoke with the dealership” and confirmed that “he” didn’t receive my payments. I pointed out that improbability; the “he” who sold me the car had heart surgery and wasn’t working any more. “He” did refer me to another entity in another city, which completed my transaction THREE MONTHS LATER. I’m confident that Moore Transport Services in Richardson did not receive the three payments I made to Highline Autoplex in Plano.

The third path of questioning regarded my repeated requests for information, which were easily proven and didn’t last long.

I got my car back. Independence Bank of Tennessee waived all fees, charges, late fees, and other absurd, consumer-gouging costs. Thank God.

Grand Theft Auto is more than a video game — it is apparently how Independence Bank of Tennessee starts its relationships with its customers.

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