Local police are often called to the scene of vehicle repossessions. When called, law enforcement's primary job is to help keep the peace and insure public safety. This means, police officers may only insure that no harm comes to people or property. If the repossession is at the home of the consumer, police officers can assist in making sure that a repossession agent does not trespass on private property or use violence to complete a repossession. Police may not "help" or provide a “police assist” to the repo agent at the scene, or give legal advice about who gets to keep the repossessed vehicle. Most importantly, police are not allowed to interpret repossession laws or resolve legal issues about who is entitled to the car. Above all, they should never direct a consumer to turn over their car to a repossession agent or the lien holder.
Consumer protection laws and the US Constitution prohibits police officers from conducting a “curbside courtroom” to determine if there was a wrongful repossession, or if the repo agent my continue with the repossession. If you would like to know if the police overstepped their bounds, call for a free consultation, (877) 400-CREDit | (877) 400-2733 or contact us now through this site.
Police At the Scene
Even though car repossessions may be a once in lifetime even for a consumer, police departments are familiar with them and have procedures that may be illegal.
In many cases, law enforcement will arrive quickly at the scene of a repossession, whether it is at the consumer's home or a parking lot. This happens because most repo men call the police before they begin to tow a car away, so that the police can be on standby. The repossession company will provide the police with a VIN number or license plate number of the motor vehicle, and the location where the repossession is occurring.
Once the repossession company reports the repossession to the police, two things happen. First, the police will likely have officers ready to go to the scene. Second, the police will regularly refuse to accept a police report about the repossession from the consumer unless there is an assault of some kind. This is so that the consumer, the legal owner, cannot report the vehicle as stolen under the state's motor vehicle code. If the consumers resist the repossession it is usually the repo man that calls the police, because they understand and expect that the police will either bully the consumer or directly order the consumer to turn the car over after the consumer collects their personal property. The police do no have the authority to assist in a repossession or to keep you from your personal effects.
If the police ordered you to turn over your car or helped a repo man take your car, we can provide a free consultation about your rights. (877) 400-CREDit | (877) 400-2733 or contact us now through this site.
Police, Out of Control
Most police departments ignore the law when it comes to repossessions. Courts have long held that police may not help in a repossess. Still, most police treat repo agents as being entitled to take any steps to collect a car for the finance company. These same police may view assisting in the repossession as a city service that they provide. This is not the law, and police who ignore a consumer's right to object to a repossession can be sued. If the police help to repossess your car, call toll free for a free consultation to find out your rights , (877) 400-CREDit | (877) 400-2733.
No Fees for Help With Your Police Repossession
Ian Lyngklip has been litigating repossession and consumer protection cases for nearly 30 years. He can help you recover compensation for your police repossession. We won't charge you any up front fees for a consultation, and if we file a lawsuit for you, your fees are paid by the other side. There is no charge unless we recover for you. Call now for help to keep mistaken death records off your credit reports, (877) 400-CREDIT | (877) 400-2773 or contact us now through this site.
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What is the most common cause of repossession?
Most repossessions happen because a consumer has missed their regular car payments on their car loan. Another common cause is a lapse of insurance on the car. While many finance companies will place their own insurance on the vehicle of the consumer's policy lapses, the lenders may still take the car
Can a lender repossess my car without a court order?
Yes. Repossession is a “self help” remedy for the creditor in an auto finance transaction. If you signed a car note and there is a lien on your title, your financial institution can take your car without a court order or any prior notice as soon as you fail to make you car payments.
Can I object to a vehicle repossession?
Absolutely! Consumers have the right to object to any repossession. If they do object before the car is taken, the repossession agent must stop and go away. They can only repossess a car if they can do it without breaching the peace. If the consume objects, that is deemed to be a breach of peace, and the repo man must stop.
Can a repossession agent come on my property to take my car?
Yes, but not over your objection. Most finance contracts include a clause allowing a finance company to enter your property in order to repossess the car. But, as the owner (or renter) you have the right to keep out people who you do not want on your property. So, while the repo company may enter your property, they cannot remain if to tell them to leave. More importantly, they do not ever have the right to break into locked spaces or private buildings.
Why can't the police get involved in a repossession?
State law prohibits repossession agents from using police or other law enforcement to help in repossessions. At the same time, federal law prohibits police from determining people's legal rights. They are not equipped to take evidence or affidavits, and they have not training in resolving civil disputes like the right to take a car. When police get called they cannot hold “curbside courtrooms” to determine the rights of the parties, so they must simply keep the peace, and leave the parties as they find them. That means they can't order a consumer to give up their car if they already have possession.
Can I get my car back if the police help with the repossession?
Yes. Both state and federal law will prevent the police from helping with a vehicle repossession after they are called to the scene. If the police have helped to take your car, a court may find that the repossession is illegal and issue a court order to return the car to the consumer. The consumer would need to prove that they are the registered owner of the car and provide an affidavit or some other evidence that the car was taken illegally with the help of the police. If the car has not been auctioned, the law may allow you to get your car back.
If the police get involved will they impound my car?
No. Even though the police may be on the scene or be involved in the repossession, they are not taking your car and won't keep it for the towing company. Storage of the vehicle is the responsibility of the repo company, and the police will not impound your vehicle. Instead, the repossession agent will take it back to the towing company for storage until the creditor decides what to do with the car.
Can I get compensation if the police helped in the repossession?
Yes. Both state repossession law and federal civil rights laws allow consumers to ask for compensation when the police help with a repossession. Consumers can get actual damages for any harm caused by either the police or the repossession agents, include emotional distress.
Can the Repossession Agency charge storage fees, repossession fees, or administrative fees?
Yes, but only if your finance statute and your contract allows. Most car finance statutes authorize the charging of storage and repossession fees, but only if the contract has a provision for this. Administrative fees are not usually authorized by statute. Check your local car finance statutes and your own loan agreement to find out if storage or repossession fees can be charged.
Will a repossession show up on my credit report?
Yes. While most credit reports have information about credit card accounts and mortgages, they also have information about your car payments. Most lenders and finance companies report repossessions to the credit bureaus, even if the repossession is improper or illegally involves the police. The repossession agency will not likely appear on your report, even if your creditor reports the repossession.
Can the polices make me open up a private building or locked yard to repossess my car?
No. Police do not have the authority to search your premises or enter private property to help in a repossession, unless there is a court order.
If the police help take my car, will it show up on my driver's license record?
No. If the police show up and help a repo, they will file an incident report, but the repo will not show up on your driver's license or driving record.
Our office is located in Metropolitan Detroit, Michigan. We practice throughout the entire state, and we have been admitted to practice and made appearances in several other states where we are not licensed: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Virginia. If we are unable to practice in the state where your case needs to be filed, we can make a referral to another qualified credit report attorney near you.
If you are looking for legal advice on a police repossession, call us our toll free phone number at (877) 400-CREDit | (877) 400-2773 or contact us now through this site.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has more information about consumers' rights and repossessions.
https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/vehicle-repossessionCan a lender repossess my car without a court order?
Yes. Repossession is a “self help” remedy for the finance company. If you signed a car note and there is a lien on your title, your lender can take your car without a court order or any prior notice as soon as you fail to make you car payments.