Continuing series: Car Title Loan Business. (Repossessions from the borrower’s perspective.)
Behind on your title loan payment? Your lender can take your car. This is called “vehicle repossession.”
What can I do if I am behind on my payments?
If you are having trouble making your monthly title loan payment:
- Talk to your car title lender immediately. Communications are the key to avoiding a repo.
- Try to buy some time. Explain your situation – honestly. Lost job, cut-back hours, medical expense…
- Sell your car. You’ll get more money selling it yourself than allowing the title loan company to sell it at an auction. You’ll have to coordinate this with your lender because they have your title.
Must the car title loan business tell me they are going to take my car?
No. The title loan company does not have to tell you in advance that they are going to take your car.
How do I retrieve my car from the repo company?
- Make sure your car was repossessed. Call your local police department to check.
- Call your title lender. You may have to catch-up or pay the entire loan balance. This is unlikely IF you communicate. Your lender DOES NOT want your car. They simply want their money AND know that you’re willing to communicate with them.
- You’ll have to pay repossession and storage fees.
How do I get back my stuff in my car?
Depends on the state/province you’re in. GENERALLY, within 48 hours from the time they take your car, the repossession company must send you a list of the things in your car and tell you how to get them back. You will have to pay storage fees to the repossession agent. If you do not pick them up within 60 days, the repo company can dispose of your stuff.
What notices should I receive?
Within 60 days after they repossess the car and at least 15 days before your car is sold, your title lender must send you a document called “Notice of Intent to Sell Vehicle” with this information:
- That they will sell your car after 15 days from the date they mailed or gave you notice.
- How much you have to pay to get your car back before they sell it. If the notice says you have to pay in full, it has to tell you why.
- Where to make payment and pick up your car.
- That you have the right to delay the sale of your car for 10 days if you make a written request. The notice must have a form you can fill out and send back to request the extension. (Do this if you need more time to pay the fees to get your car back!)
- That you will owe them money if the car sells for less than the total amount due.
- If you don’t take action and your car is sold, you have the right to ask your title lender in writing, how much they sold the car for, and how much it cost them to sell it.
Can your car title lender refuse to return my car?
The loan company can refuse to return your car, unless you pay the full balance, if any of the following has happened:
- You lied on your credit application.
- You hid the car to avoid repossession, or threatened the repossessor.
- You trashed the car, threatened to destroy it, or used it to commit a crime.
- This is the second time your car has been repossessed in the last 12 months.
- This is the third time your car has been repossessed since you bought it.
What happens after the vehicle is sold?
You may get a letter from the title lender with an itemized bill for what you may owe under the contract plus fees, with a credit for what the vehicle was sold for. You can ask for this itemized statement up to one year after the sale. The lender has 45 days to send this to you.
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