A consumer class action suit has been filed against a Montgomery County bank over
claims that the financial institution has engaged in systemic violations of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Commercial Code relating to the repossession of vehicles secured by automobile loans from the defendant.
The civil action was filed Nov. 5 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by attorneys with Narberth, Pa.-based Flitter Lorenz P.C.
The defendant named is Jenkintown, Pa.-based Fulton Bank.
The suit was filed on behalf of Reading, Pa. resident Jessica Rodriguez and other individuals similarly situated.
According to the complaint, Fulton Bank, which regularly finances the purchase of automobiles for consumer use in Pennsylvania, repossess and resells vehicles whose owners default on their loans without giving proper notice of disposition of collateral as required by the Pennsylvania Uniform Commercial Code.
The UCC, the suit states, requires secured parties who utilize self-help repossession to provide consumers with proper notice when repossessing and selling a financed vehicle.
The defendant in the case has failed to do just that, numerous times, the complaint alleges.
Rodriguez, the lead plaintiff, alleges in the complaint that she purchased a 2005 Honda Pilot SUV from a used car dealer back in July 2008, with the financing for the vehicle arranged through Fulton.
Rodriguez made monthly payments to Fulton, who was the secured party in the transaction.
In the fall of 2009, the bank declared a default, and in November of that year it repossessed the vehicle.
The lawsuit states that Pennsylvania law requires a prompt post-repossession notice to the borrower advising of the repossession, how many days to act before post-repossession sale, how the vehicle will be sold, whether the debtor may be liable for a deficiency or entitled to a surplus, and other information.
Rodriguez was provided with a repossession notice on Nov. 23, 2009, the complaint states, but it did not advise the plaintiff that she would be liable for a deficiency if the vehicle brought less at auction than she owed.
“The Notice does not advise the borrower that she is entitled to an accounting of any unpaid indebtedness, nor the charge (if any) for such an accounting,” the complaint reads. “Fulton sent the same form of repossession notice to many consumers across Pennsylvania.”
In Rodriguez’s case, she was informed in March 2010 that the vehicle had been sold and a deficiency of $2,344.95 remained after the sale proceeds had been applied.
The plaintiff proposes to define the class all persons who bought a vehicle for consumer use that was financed through Fulton, those who were not sent a proper repossession notice, and those who were not sent a repossession notice at all.
“The class is believed to be so numerous that joinder of all members is impractical,” the suit states.
The complaint seeks declaratory judgment that the repossession notice used by the defendant in respect to the plaintiff and the class fails to comport with the provisions of Pennsylvania law.
Additional damages are sought as provided by the Uniform Commercial Code.
The case ID number is 121100105.