Vehicle Repossession: What to do if it Happens to You

Car repo laws govern the vehicle repossession process, meaning there is a specific set of rules protecting you in the event of car repossession.

Car repossession usually takes place when you have financed a vehicle and fallen behind on payments or otherwise have not appropriately paid off the property. A bank or other creditor lends you the funds for the car, so if you do not make the right payments, they can repossess the car instead.

If a creditor is attempting the vehicle repossession process, they have to follow the appropriate car repo laws to be in the right, legally. It is important for you to understand these car repo laws so you can be prepared if repossession happens to you.

The first step in the vehicle repossession process may be for the creditor to accelerate your loan, causing the entire amount to come due after a missed or late payment. This will give you a small amount of time to come up with the money, after which point, car repossession can take place.

Be aware that in Arizona, an agent attempting repossession cannot enter your home uninvited, and cannot use subterfuge to get you to bring your car into a shop after which point they will repossess the vehicle. They cannot use violence or threats, but they do not need to notify you prior to the repossession, nor do they need a court hearing.

Under Arizona car repo laws, you should receive a notice telling you that you are able to retrieve your vehicle if you deal with the issues relating to the repossession. You should also be told how you can get your personal belongings, if any, from the vehicle.

If you do not make arrangements to take control of your vehicle again, it may be sold at an auction, the proceeds of which will go toward the balance owing. It is your responsibility to cover the loan, so you should seek legal advice to ensure your rights are being protected.

If your car has been repossessed, all is not lost.  You may still be able to have the vehicle returned to you if you can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in enough time to prevent the sale of the car.

An attorney experienced in car repossession can advise you throughout this process. If car repo laws are not properly followed, you may have a defense that could get your vehicle back, or prevent you from having to pay off the balance owing. Talk to a lawyer about car repossession.


This blog is intended as a general discussion of legal issues and not as a statement of fact, legal advice or a legal opinion. No attorney-client relationship is created by this blog. Do not act or rely upon law-related information in this communication without seeking the advice of an attorney licensed to practice in the relevant area.

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