Madison County, MO – June 1, 2012 – “If we don’t take the vehicle, we don’t get paid and we’re getting paid tonight.” These words were allegedly spoken by a repo agent to a borrower, despite having allegedly been told by a finance company collector that the account was current and that they needed to leave it. This reported exchange is one of many allegations that triggered a lawsuit against a reputable national repo company and its client.
While this may seem to be just another bad repo agent story in CUCollector, there are two sides of the story and while the allegations are not pretty, there may be some sensationalizing of the claims by the plaintiff’s attorney.
A lawsuit filed by Todd and Stacey Hindrichs on June 1, 2012 in Madison County Circuit Court in Illinois against United Repossessors Inc., three of URI’s employees and TD Auto Finance LLC, alleges that in February 2012 the Hindrichs were at home in Jefferson County, Mo. when a female employee of URI arrived and attempted the repossession of the couple’s 2005 Jeep Cherokee parked in the driveway. Todd Hindrichs reportedly went outside to ask the employee what she was doing and was advised that she was there to repossess the Jeep.
The complaint goes on to claim that Hindrichs called his finance company to confirm the account was not delinquent.
The Hindrichs claim that the finance company’s representative advised the URI employee that the account was current and the car was not to be repossessed.
At that time the Hindrichs say another URI employee pulled a tow truck into position to load the Jeep and told Hindrichs they were taking the car despite what the finance representative told them, allegedly saying, “If we don’t take the vehicle, we don’t get paid and we’re getting paid tonight.”
Hindrichs apparently elected to leave with the car and the URI employees attempted to stop him. Hindrichs reportedly fled with the vehicle and claims he was followed by the agent in the tow truck who allegedly prevented him from pulling into the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Hindrichs claims that the chase continued in an aggressive manner onto Interstate 55.
On the highway, another URI employee, driving a white Chevy Tahoe joined the pursuit, according to Hindrichs, and both were reportedly able to keep him from exiting the freeway. Hindrichs alleges that the high-speed chase went on for more than 40 miles before he was able to exit on the Reavis Barracks Road off-ramp.
Hindrichs claims that he was then trapped at the off-ramps intersection by the tow truck and Chevy Tahoe.
That is when the driver of the Tahoe allegedly opened the door of the Jeep and threw Hindrichs to the ground. While the third URI employee held him at bay with threats of violence, Hindrichs claims his Jeep was loaded onto the tow truck and taken away. He says he walked to a bank and called police to file a report. The next day Hindrichs and his wife, Stacey, say they drove to URI’s tow lot in Granite City to pick up their Jeep.
In interviews with a URI spokesperson, Pat Elliott, a somewhat different and much less sensational version of events was disclosed.
According to these sources, the incident began with a spotter locating the Jeep at the residence and contact being made with the Hindrichs. Mrs. Hindrichs reportedly began removing personal property as the tow truck was en route.
As the tow truck arrived and began attempting to back into the Jeep, Mr. Hindrichs jumped into the Jeep and drove off.
The URI representative admitted the agent followed the Jeep out onto the highway but stated no aggressive maneuvers were made and that the tow truck was at all times operated within posted speed limits. The second vehicle referenced in the Hindrichs Complaint was a spotter that was called from the field to assist in tracking the Hindrichs vehicle.
Mr. Hindrichs eventually stopped the vehicle as reported, got out and walked away at a location approximately 30-35 miles from his residence. URI’s representative specifically denies any allegations of assault and indicates the vehicle was recovered with no further incident.
According to URI’s spokesperson, Mr. Hindrichs received a ride home (30-35 miles) from a Deputy Sheriff.
While URI was willing to offer some clarification to the allegations contained in the Hindrichs Complaint they were also careful to point out this matter has been served and filed and were reluctant to go into much detail regarding their position in this matter. In short they denied the bulk of the allegations in the complaint.
Pat Elliott, the URI spokesperson told CUCollector that communications with counsel for the Hindrichs have been ongoing since shortly after the February 22nd incident and while the suit has been served and filed he believes communications will remain open with plaintiffs and their counsel.