States allow companies that loan you money for a car to have what’s called a security interest in the vehicle. The security interest means that if you don’t pay, they can go to court and take the vehicle back. Every state allows them to take what are called extra judicial or self-help remedies. Without warning and without a court order, if you get behind in your payment in any amount, they have a right to enforce the security interest and seize that car.
If you are in default, they can take the vehicle. Default means a day late or a penny short, unless the contract says otherwise. A wrongful repossession is where the consumer is either not in default or has cured the default and the creditor still repossesses the vehicle. Another thing that constitutes a wrongful repossession is when the repossession agent or the creditor breaches the peace in repossessing the vehicle. If the agent breaks into a garage, cuts a lock, or pulls a gun out, that would constitute wrongful repossession.
When Is Notice For Repossession Required?
Notice for repossession is never required. The lenders do not have to give you notice they’re going to repossess the car. The only thing that’s required is a default. The default is defined by the terms of the contract. If you read your contract, every single car contract says this contract cannot be changed unless it’s done in writing and signed by both sides. Many times, phone operators are encouraged to give consumers a false sense of security that the vehicle isn’t going to be repossessed, and that verbal promise is worth nothing because the contract says otherwise. It’s easier to repossess a car if the people don’t expect that it’s going to be taken in the middle of the night.
What Is A Breach Of The Peace?
In the context of repossessions, breaching the peace is making threats of violence or a crime being committed. Agents can’t kick a door in or enter when there are no trespassing signs up, in order to repossess a vehicle.
What Are The Remedies To A Wrongful Repo?
Remedies to wrongful repo can be anything from a nominal amount of money to three times the value of the vehicle, plus costs and attorney fees. It depends a lot on who performed the repossession. If the police are involved, there could be a civil rights claim. Police aren’t supposed to get involved when there’s a civil dispute regarding who has a right to possession of a vehicle. If the vehicle is locked in a garage, the police cannot order you to give the vehicle up, unless they have a court order. If the repo agent has your car loaded on the tow truck, they can’t order the repo man to give it back. Possession, in this case, is more than nine tenths of the law. Wrongful repo cases, especially where there’s no default or where there’s a breach of the peace, can be very worthwhile for consumers.
For more information on Wrongful Repossession Cases In Michigan, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 843-0550 today.