Repossession Guide

Vehicle Repossession Section


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Vehicle Repossession Article

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´╗┐The Challenges Of Vehicle Repossession


One of the most common types of repossession is vehicle repossession and most repossession companies will do the bulk of their business in this area. Since vehicles are highly mobile, often trying to complete a vehicle repossession is not an easy process, especially if the owner is aware that their vehicle may be seized. Individuals that work for or own vehicle repossession companies must be aware of what they can and cannot do from a legal perspective to get the car they have been sent to find.

Probably the biggest challenge to most agents or "repo men" is to locate and confirm the identification of the vehicle they have been sent to repossess. This means that they must somehow gain access to the vehicle to verify that the VIN or vehicle identification number on the car or vehicle matches the VIN on the repossession paperwork. The VIN is typically displayed on the dash by the front window and also on the driver's door. Owners can cover the dash VIN and keep the vehicle locked, making it difficult for the confirmation to be made.

Many consumers that know that their vehicle is going to be repossessed will engage in activities such as hiding the vehicle or locking it up on a property, or storing it somewhere other than their home or residence. Since individual states will have different laws regarding a vehicle repossession, each agent must be sure they are acting within the laws of the state with regards to going onto property and removing vehicles. Repo agents cannot come onto private property to just look around for the vehicle and the owner has no requirement to allow the agents to search the property. In some states and cases where the property resident calls the police, the repo agents can be charged with trespassing, depending on the actual activities they were engaged in while on the property.

In many states the repo agent can only remove the vehicle off private property if the vehicle is not in a locked yard or in a building that is locked. If the vehicle is parked on the driveway or on the road in front of the house it can be seized and towed or driven away. Public spaces are typically fair game, however if the owner is present and refuses to surrender the vehicle the repo agents cannot use physical force or threats to the individual to secure the vehicle. In all states vehicle repossession must not "breach the peace" or violate any personal or property laws. The repossession cannot damage or destroy any property in any state and if this happens the property owner has the right to claim for damages through a court procedure.