It can be frustrating to face the possible repossession of a vehicle on top of other financial difficulties. Your car is most likely your main means of travel to your job, shopping and other places. Without it, your challenges would become even worse. At (The Law Office of Kim Covington, we realize the threat of repossession can place a great strain on families in Oregon.
According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, most states will allow a lender to repossess vehicles when loans are behind on payments. In many cases, the creditor is permitted to take a car without providing any warning and can even go onto personal property to do so. However, certain rules and restrictions surround vehicle repossession in order to give consumers some measure of protection. For example:
- Creditors are prohibited from using force, threatening force or breaking into a closed garage to remove a car; this is known as a “breach of the peace.”
- Any personal items left inside the vehicle still belong to you and the creditor is not allowed to keep or sell it.
- You may be entitled to buy back your car for the full price of the loan, or to reinstate the loan by paying the past due amount, plus repossession expenses. You must be sure to make all future payments on time.
Additional restrictions may protect you in the case of electronic disabling devices, which some lenders install on a vehicle to prevent it from starting in the event of a missed payment. In some instances, the use of these devices is seen as a breach of the peace.
The loss of a vehicle is stressful, especially if your creditor decides to sue for the amount owed after resale. You are entitled to certain protections if the lender resorted to abusive or unfair tactics that hurt you or damaged your property. For more information, please see our page on vehicle repossession.