Understanding The Repossession Of Your Car

by : James Copper

In its simplest terms, repossession is little more than a creditor coming to your house to ask you to return something that you have failed to make payments on. Perhaps in the past you had a good job and finally were able to buy that car of your dreams that has been beckoning to you from the car lot for quite a while now yet with the changes in the marketplace, your company may have gotten bought out and you may have been handed your pink slip, a couple of months severance pay, and have been working hard to find a new job.

Eventually the bills have caught up with you, and when faced with the choice of making the car payment, the mortgage payment, or going to buy food, you chose the latter two. In the meantime your car payments fell so far past due that the bank which lent you the money for the car has decided that the odds are against you and that you will most likely not pay your account due. You may feel as if you have no alternatives and many people are embarrassed or depressed over the issue.

When this is the case, the lender will commission professional repossession agents, colloquially known as "repo men" to come to your home to request that you hand over the car. The lenders stated goal is to take the car, clean it up a bit and then resell it at an auction or with the help of specialized car dealers whose corner n the market is the sale of repossessed vehicles.

The lender is not worried about recouping every penny they still have outstanding, but instead the bank wants to receive back as much money as possible. You will still be liable for the rest of the money.

Much lore has sprung up about the repossession agent and it has even made it into reality TV. While horror stories abound about agents allegedly driving off with children in the backseat, the reality is quite different: a repossession agent is permitted to hotwire your car in order to drive it away.

Furthermore, if the car is kept parked in your driveway or at the curb, she or he may simply walk up and drive off. Even if you keep your car in a garage that is not locked, the repo man may open the door and take the car.

The agent may not break into a locked garage, but that is pretty much the only restriction. Some consumers have opted to hide the car by parking it on different streets or keeping it in the care of a friend or family member.

This is a practice that can easily backfire If you are able to pay the lender the arrears in the immediate future, the bank does not have the obligation to return the vehicle as it would have to do otherwise and a court will find that your ownership of the car would constitute an undue business risk to the lender.