Tuesday, May 29, 2012

3 Ways to Deal with Vehicle Repossession

"My car got repo'd!  What do I do now?"

Having a visit from the repo man is a dreaded and unsettling event.  But, truthfully, not expected.  You know you're behind on your vehicle payments, possibly 3-4 months, and that is what banks do when you cannot pay: they take them away.

There are essentially three ways to deal with the Repo Man:

First, refuse to let them take the vehicle.  If they do not have the vehicle up on their hoist or somehow have physical control of it, it is always possible to stop them.  The majority of these ways are illegal and I do not recommend it.  Some will insist on giving you the keys to the vehicle.  If you do not, they'll probably take the vehicle anyway and charge you an extra fee for it.  Here's the bottom line: if you refuse to let them take it, they can have a judge order you to do so, which will up the trouble you are already in.  This method I do not personally recommend at all.  Keep in mind, a repo man (or woman) is just doing their job.  They are not evil, and if you talk to them like a normal human being, they can be quite reasonable.  They'll still take your vehicle, but you can work out a way to at least take some possessions out of the vehicle first.

Second, let them take it and do not try get it back.  If you are unable to get caught up on payments and simply let the vehicle go, please be aware that when the repossession company sells your vehicle for a fraction of what is owed on it, the bank will come after you for the difference and try to collect.  Many times you can settle this like you would any other bad debt, but you need the money up front in order to settle a debt.  Otherwise, they can sue you and eventually garnish your wages.

Third, let them take it and work like hell to get it back.  This method is not easy, but if you have the ability to pay the payments once the vehicle is back, go for it.  But be warned: this is not easy and will require multiple phone calls and plenty of extra cash, as you'll soon find out.

From the moment the Repo Man takes it, you have roughly 14 days to get it back--if you so desire.  How this generally works is this: the Repo Man takes it to wherever they are located and waits these 14 days (the time may vary from state to state, so be sure to check this out).  If you're able to get the money together to get it back, you'll either have to wire it in to the bank or use Western Union.  After repeated phone calls to the bank, in which time they'll hopefully confirm they have your money, they'll give you a number to the Reposession Company.  This is NOT the Repo Man's place, but a "Middle Man."  Typically, these people can act nicer (in my opinion) then the banks themselves, and can act more professional (i.e. not treat you like you're a piece of scum or a doggie turd).  Once they receive confirmation (usually via fax) from the bank, they'll give you the number of the Repo Man.

When picking up your vehicle from the Repo Man, be sure to inquire as to how much money you'll need to get it back--this is on top of the money you've already given the bank!  And, be sure to get cash, and exact change if possible.

**Please keep in mind, the advice given above is only my opinion, and your situation may be different so it would be advisable to seek legal counsel**

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