Okay so, what type of property can you have repossessed? Well, let’s consider the word “Repossession” for a second. The word does suggest re-possession which means that the creditor taking back the property to ‘repossess’ it must have once possessed it in the first-place. Sure, that makes sense, right?
Now then, if you buy a car on credit, you don’t really own it until it’s paid for, the bank does. See that point. Now, while it is true that you are in possession of the car, you don’t own it, rather you have promised to pay for it over time, and once it is fully paid for, then you will own it, when the bank sends you the pink slip and removes their lien on the car.
If you fail to continue to make the payments you promised, the bank will want to get the car back from you. This is called repossession. Then, they will sell the car to someone else or auction it off. It is important to keep in mind that the Bankruptcy Code does allow a debtor in many instances to force a creditor to return a repossessed item.
What Type of Property Can Be Repossessed?
Anything you buy on a payment plan will come with a contract, one which you sign promising to make payments and pay interest. If you fail to pay the creditor or bank, they have the right to have that item back or repossess it. After all, they own it, not you. People buy stuff all the time where they promise to make timely payments and sign a contract to do so. Think of the things you may have bought or are currently paying on?
Maybe you financed some furniture, a smart phone, or a car? Maybe you bought a recreational vehicle, a boat, jet ski, or some other toy? All of these things can be repossessed.
If you had a built-in swimming pool installed, and bought it on credit, it obviously cannot be dug up and repossessed, but the creditor could put a lien on the property and with a court order force you to pay.
If you fail to pay on your home the bank can’t repossess it, but they can foreclose on it and with the help of the court force you to leave. Foreclosures may seem like repossessions, as it amounts to the same thing in your eyes, but both have different legal definition and different sets of rules.
Do I Have Protections Under the Law During Repossession?
Yes, you do have protections under the law during a repossession. A repo man cannot touch you, except in self-defense. If they threaten you with jail or prison, it’s an idle threat and it is actually against the law for them to make such threats.
A repo man cannot force you from your car, or reach into your pocket to take back property. A repo man cannot go into your backyard through your gate, open it and cut the lock to take your car back, nor can they break into your garage to repossess the car. They can take it from a public parking lot or take it if it is parked in your driveway or on the street.
A furniture company cannot come into your house without your permission and take their furniture back if you fail to pay, but they can report you to the credit bureaus and ruin your credit.
The repo company must first report to the police that they are going to go repossess your car. This way the police know it isn’t being stolen in case you call up and report it missing. A repo company can ask for a police escort to protect them while they retrieve the property they are after, but you can deny them entry, as it is a civil matter. The police are only there to keep the peace between parties. The police cannot get involved, unless the company has a judgement and a court order.
Can I Get My Car Back if It is Repossessed?
The law does provide you with a remedy to get your car back, if you pay the bank that is financing it all the money due, plus penalties, plus the repo fees. You may also be able to negotiate with them for a more favorable deal. It’s recommended that you have an attorney go to bat for you in this case.
There are consumer credit laws on your side, but remember the bank owns the car until it is paid for and the furniture credit company owns that furniture until you make that last payment like you promised when signing the contract to finance it.
We Are Here to Help
At Brent George Law we know that people can get entangled in complex financial hardships, often it’s a series of problems that bring about such situations. We can help you sort it all out. We offer a free 30-minute consultation. We can explain the law and your potential options.
If we can help, we will tell you upfront, if not, we’ll also let you know. Being informed will help you make the best decision for the most favorable financial outcome. Call today, let’s talk.