Repossession Laws

Repossession Laws For Automobile Owners. Understanding Repossession Laws & Your Rights.

Repossession Laws

When your car is repossessed, you could feel trapped in a situation that has many legal ramifications, made worse by the fact that those ramifications vary from state to state. Even with these variations, can easily help you determine your options and rights while stopping the repossession. Try to work towards understanding them carefully though. A missed step or opportunity is lost, and you might find that you can’t ask to go back and try it again.

How Does Reposession Work?

Repossession begins with default on the requirements of the bank auto loan or dealer auto loan that was signed at the time of the purchase of the car. Failure to miss a scheduled payment, even by a day, gives the creditor the legal right to repossess.

Failure to maintain insurance coverage that was specified in the loan agreement gives the creditor the legal right to repossess. If you can get the original creditor to agree to modify these terms to avoid repossession, you can make sure that it is put in writing.

Is The Creditor Required to Inform Me of Their Intent to Repossess?

The creditor may inform you of their intent to repossess, but is not required to do so. They may take the car from wherever it is, including on your property. They may be penalized or owe you compensation if they commit a breach of the peace such as careless property damage in doing so.

What is Voluntary Repossession?

You may choose to voluntarily repossess, taking the car to the creditor. This can save you from being charged in the future for the costs incurred during repossession. It’s a bad idea to hide the car or attempt to secure it from the repo men, as this is likely against the law in your state.

At this time you can approach the creditor with an offer to reinstate your ownership of the car. Once the situation has gotten this far, you might have to make a lump-sum payment of the loan and expenses accrued by the creditor. To do this, you could contact a third-party credit firm to get one of the many readily available bad credit car loans.

What Happens After They Repossess My Car?

The creditor must return any personal property that was in the car at the time of repossession.

The creditor may then attempt to sell the car. Depending on your state laws, the creditor may or may not be required to inform you of the site and the time of the sale. If you are so informed, you could get a bad credit car loan and try to buy your own car back.

The creditor must attempt to sell the car in a commercially reasonable manner. This means that they must honestly try to get a fair offer on the car. This stops the original creditor from simply dumping the car and then suing you for the loan balance.

After the sale, the original creditor must determine the overall gain made from the sale minus the amount owed and any costs of repossession. Not surprisingly, this almost always comes out showing that the creditor still has not made up its money. They will seek and get a deficiency judgment against you and you can be sued for the balance. This would be a comprehensive pursuit of a debt owed and could be pursued as far as wage garnishment.

Auto Repossessions

What are My rights within the Car Reposession Laws?

  • You can ask to modify the terms of the original loan agreement. The creditor may choose not to accept this.
  • You may get a new credit car loan from a third party and ask to reinstate ownership. The creditor technically does not need to accept this, but would be foolish to turn it down.
  • You may get a new credit car loan and attempt to buy your own car back at auction, if you are informed of the time and place of the auction.
  • If the creditor actually made money on the sale of your car, they owe you the profits.
  • You can watch the original creditor carefully and insure that they have properly followed the legal requirements of your state to execute repossession. If they make a mistake, they will likely owe damages and may even forfeit some of their rights.
  • You can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This can force them to give you back your car even if they have already taken it.

Check your state laws carefully as there are some variations on these requirements. can help you pursue bad credit car loans as soon as possible to give you maximum leverage in exercising your options.

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