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How NOT to Fight a Vehicle Repossession


When signing a car loan, debtors are giving their creditor the right to repossess the vehicle in the event they default. And creditors take full advantage of that right. They will send a “repo man” out to your home to take possession of a vehicle and haul it away even before you have had your morning coffee. Some repo men even follow people around town, nabbing the car when the owner enters the grocery store or post office.

How do you fight a car repossession? First, there are certain things you absolutely should not do.

Don’t Get into a Fight with the Repo Man

This is absolutely the last thing you want to do. Even if your car is being repossessed by mistake—and believe us, it does happen—you absolutely shouldn’t get into a fistfight with the repo man.

Also avoid escalating the situation by shouting, screaming, or trying to block the repo man from going about his business. You not only run the risk of escalating the situation, but you could be sued if a fight breaks out and the repo man is injured.

To that end, don’t send your pit bull our Doberman pincher out to confront the repo man either. You have options after a repossession, such as paying what you owe to get current on the loan or, if possible, paying off the loan balance. You don’t need to compound the problem by making yourself vulnerable to a personal injury lawsuit.

Don’t Break the Law while Fleeing

If you see the repo man pull up with a tow truck, you don’t need to stand idly by as he takes your car. However, you shouldn’t break the law while fleeing. This means no speeding or driving over someone’s lawn to get away from the repo man.

Don’t Destroy Your Vehicle

Doing anything that reduces the value of the car will not help you legally or financially. You will still owe a certain amount on the car loan, which will not be reduced if you take a crowbar to the windshield or burn out the engine.

How a Bankruptcy Can Help with a Car Repossession

If you are in such poor financial shape that you have defaulted on your car loan, then you want to act quickly. If you file for bankruptcy, you can halt any auto repossession. Once our clients file, the bankruptcy court enters an automatic stay that halts all collection actions such as wage garnishments and lawsuits. It also halts a car repossession.

However, you need to file before the repo man takes the vehicle. Once it’s gone, bankruptcy won’t help you get it back, so time is of the essence.

Of course, the automatic stay is temporary, and you will need to think through options for getting current on your car loan. Once the stay is lifted, your lender can come for the car again.

Reach out to Nowack & Olson, PLLC today. We are Plantation bankruptcy attorney with more than 40 years of combined experience. We can help you decide whether bankruptcy is right for you.


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