If you are expecting repossession there are things you should know, and steps you can take, to mitigate or lessen the fallout. Read below to learn more, and then contact us for a no cost, no obligation repossession case review. You may be entitled to no cost legal help and money damages under the Truth In Lending Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Uniform Commercial Code and/or other federal and state laws.
What is repossession?
Generally, repossession is the exercise of a right by a lender to take possession of collateral that secures a loan when the loan is in default.
- For example, if a consumer purchases a vehicle on credit, generally the vehicle purchased serves as collateral for the loan. If the consumer pays their bill on time, they can keep possession of the vehicle; however, if the purchaser falls behind, the law gives the lender the right to repossess the vehicle.
- When a borrower falls behind on his/her payments, the lender generally has two options get the vehicle back. They can (1) file a civil action in court to get a court order directing the borrower to turn over the vehicle or (2) hire a repo man to just take the vehicle.
- Lenders generally prefer not to file court actions to gain possession of a vehicle because it requires them to hire an attorney to do so. Almost universally, lenders choose to hire repo men to take possession of collateral.
If you are concerned your vehicle will be repossessed, don’t just sit and wait—get in front of the issue with a no cost case review; if your rights were violated during any step in the process you may just be able to turn the tables.
How does a repossession occur?
- In a typical repossession, a repo man will come to your home (generally in the middle of the night when he expects you to be sleeping), attaches your vehicle to a tow truck, and tows it away as quickly and quietly as possible.
- Sometimes a repo man will have a key to the vehicle. In these situations, he’ll just get in the vehicle and drive it off.
- Sometimes a repo man can’t get to your vehicle (because it is locked inside a garage or another secured area). In this instance, the repo man will stake out your home and wait for you to go somewhere. When you leave, he will follow you and repossess your vehicle after you park it.
- In other instances, a creditor may require a GPS starter interrupt device to be installed in a vehicle as a condition to credit. If one of these devices is installed in a vehicle and the consumer falls behind on his payments, the device stops the vehicle from starting and notifies repo man of the vehicle’s location.
What you can do to protect yourself?
- First, if you catch a repo man in the act, video the encounter on your smartphone (or have a family member do so) so that you can prove what happened if the repo man breaches the peace.
- If you want the repo man to stop a repossession, you can unequivocally protest the repossession. Saying something as simple as “you may not take the car” will generally suffice as an “unequivocal protest.”
- If you are in fear for your safety, you can contact the police.
- If the police are present at repossession, make sure to get the officer’s name and a copy of any report the officer makes regarding the incident.
- If a loud and rowdy confrontation arises, make note of the individuals who witnessed the incident or were affected by it.
- If you discover that your vehicle has been repossessed from a locked area of your property, video the scene, focusing on any broken/cut or removed locks or chains, as well as any damage done to the points of entry.
If you believe that a repo man crossed the line in taking your vehicle, or has stolen your personal property from within a vehicle that was repossessed, consider contacting a consumer protection attorney. You may be entitled to actual and statutory damages under federal and state law, as well as legal representation at no cost. Contact a consumer protection attorney today.