Bristle Law

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Can my auto loan company repossess my vehicle?

If you took out a loan to purchase your vehicle, your car is at risk of repossession if you default on the loan. Whether it's a car you use for business or personal reasons, the creditor that loaned you the money to buy your car has various rights over your vehicle. These rights were established via the contract you signed when securing the loan.

Here is more information about auto repossession in Virginia:

The seizure of your vehicle

In most cases, the loan issuer has the right to seize your car without first going to court simply by virtue of the contracts and paperwork you signed when securing the auto loan. As long as the repossession process does not "breach the peace," the bank can send a repossession representative to your residence -- even while you're sleeping -- and simply tow your car away.

The repo man can even go onto your property to repossess the car. However, if your car is securely parked in your garage, the repo man may not be able to take it. But this will not stop the repossession representative from following you to your workplace or while you drive around town, then repossessing it as soon as you've left it in an unprotected location

It's important to note that different terms and conditions may be necessary for you to default on your loan and trigger a lawful repossession of your car. Sometimes a single missed payment is enough to lawfully permit the bank to carry out a repossession.

No "breaching of the peace" during a repossession allowed

Breaching the peace generally refers to carrying out an action that could damage you or your property. If the repossession representative breaks into your residence and opens your locked garage, it could be considered a breach of peace. Alternatively, if the repo man hurts you while repossessing your car, it could also represent a potential breach of peace. Vehicle owners can pursue compensation if a breach of peace occurs during the repossession process, in some cases.

Is your car in danger of repossession?

There are different strategies vehicle owners can use to postpone or stop the repossession process. One of those strategies involves filing for bankruptcy. If you think you or your family could benefit from filing for bankruptcy, investigate your legal rights and options.

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