Wednesday, July 21, 2010
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Saturday, July 3, 2010
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If you decide to buy a vehicle and you borrow the funds from a finan-cial institution, there are some things you need to understand.
1. First, when you obtain the loan you have to sign many different documents. These documents state, among other things, that you agree to pay back the money, with interest, in payments of a specific amount.
2. You also agree to notify the bank immediately if you lose or change jobs, move to another address, or if there is any change in the infor-mation they may have about you. This also means that you will not move to another state without their knowledge or permission.
3. You will be required to maintain all required insurance, notifying them if you can’t, or if you make a change in your coverage.
4. You also agree to make all of your monthly payments on time, pay-ing late fees if necessary.
II. HOW REPOSSESSION WORKS
The purpose of this guide is to help you understand what rights you may be entitled to when someone is attempting to repossess your vehi-cle. There are many reasons why a person (debtor) may be temporarily unable to make their payments. The best thing to do is to make all of your payments in full and on time; as you may know, this is not al-ways possible. The thing to remember is that the bank’s concern is not why you cannot make a payment; the only thing they want to know is how soon you are going to bring your account up-to-date. If they are not satisfied with your answer, they may or may not tell you; in most states they aren’t required to enlighten you, and they can lead you to believe everything is fine, while notifying a repossession company to pick up your vehicle as soon as possible. They may not tell you that they intend to take your car for fear that you will prevent it from being repossessed. If your vehicle is added to the repossession list, there are certain things a recovery agent (RA) can do and things he is not al-lowed to do. If you do not know what the laws or guidelines are that the RA must follow, then he can do anything he wants to do. If you don’t know the law and you try to stop him, he will know almost im-mediately that you are uninformed regarding the repossession laws. This also tells him that you really don’t know what he can or can’t do, and he will use this to his advantage.
III. What Your Rights May Be
You agree that you understand all of the terms and conditions of the loan. This means that, until all of the terms and conditions of the loan are met, the bank holds the title as lien holder; this gives them legal ownership of the collateral. This means that if at any time or for any reason you fail to live up to the agreements you made with them, the bank will have the right to recover their collateral in order to protect their investment. They have the right, excluding a few states, to go wherever it is necessary to pick up the vehicle without advance notice: your home, place of employment, church, repair shop, or anywhere it may be located. The law allows them to repossess on sight, meaning that if they can see it—they can pick it up, as long as they don’t violate the law. There are guidelines and laws in each state that spell out ex-actly what a lending institution can do to recover their collateral for a loan. If the repossession violates any statutes or laws, it becomes an is-sue that may allow you to pursue civil and sometimes criminal charges against the RA, the company that employs him, and the bank.
IV. SOME THINGS A RECOVERY AGENT CANNOT DO
He cannot: cut a lock or chain in order to gain access to any property or build-ing. use his own lock to secure your property. take a vehicle if it will cause a breach of the peace. take a vehicle if there is a threat of violence. do something that would cause injury to anyone. damage any property as a result of repossession. move any vehicle to gain access to the vehicle he is there to repos-sess. require you to move your vehicle nor have the police order you to move it. use any kind of weapon or physical force to make you relinquish the car or give him access. threaten you or force you to comply. (The repossession of a car is a civil matter. If the police are called to your property, as long as you don’t assault anyone or threaten to do so. The law is on your side—not his. The police will only be-come involved if there is a criminal act committed or the threat of one. You have the right to have anyone removed from your prop-erty that will not leave voluntarily.) injure, poison, or otherwise harm any animal you may have on your property. (If going in your backyard may lead to him getting bitten by a dog, then he cannot go nor can he disable or injure the dog. He cannot claim self defense if he trespasses, thus causing an animal to protect your property.) He cannot: open a garage door, even if it is unlocked, that is attached to your house. (This is breaking and entering/unlawful entry. This would be the same as entering your home without permission just because the door is unlocked.) return to your property after he has been given an official warning from law enforcement. (Although, if he returns and you do not see him, there is very little you can do about it. This means that the RA can return later and confiscate the car if you don’t catch him in the act. Another agent that hasn’t been warned can also return.) chase your vehicle or attempt to force you off the road or anything else that could cause harm, damage to any personal property, or fear for your safety. order or force you to remove yourself from your vehicle. pick up the vehicle if you are in it or attempt to move it in any way, because to do so could cause injury to you or damage to your prop-erty. (This means that, if you were asleep in your vehicle, the only way the RA can take it is if you agree and remove yourself from the ve-hicle.)
V. SOME THINGS A RECOVERY AGENT CAN DO
The RA can come onto any unsecured property for the purpose of picking up your vehicle, to attempt to verify its presence, or to ob-tain information regarding the location of the vehicle. This includes opening a gate that is not locked. The RA can take a vehicle out of a garage that has the door open, in most states. The RA can pretend to be someone else on the phone or in person, as long as he doesn’t claim to be an officer of the law. The RA may disable your car by removing a part, letting the air out of the tires, or many other things that could prevent you from mov-ing it. He can then pick it up when it is more convenient for him to gain access. (i.e. after you move the vehicle that is blocking it or af-ter you have gone to work.) The RA can make a key and then be able to turn off factory alarms, unlock doors, start the ignition, operate the gearshift, and drive away if you have not made sure that it will not start, usually by removing some vital component such as a distributor cap or ignition fuse. The RA can locate your place of employment and take the vehicle from the parking lot while you are at work. The RA can also come to your place of employment to find out where the vehicle is located, or to try to convince you to turn over the vehicle voluntarily. The RA can try to trick you in any way he can to reveal the location of your vehicle, or to get you to bring it to a location where he will have the opportunity to take possession of it. The RA can follow you and take the vehicle anywhere you may leave it. He Can: If you make arrangements with the bank or catch up your payments, you are removed from the repo list immediately. Be sure it is by some-one with the authority to cancel the repossession, and get it in writing if you can. You must be completely up-to-date on your payments, or they may still come and get the vehicle. If you allow the repo man to retrieve your vehicle, and then pay your balance due, you will be required to produce the repossession fees, storage fees and the cost of a new igni-tion, if it is required to start the vehicle, and numerous other charges if applicable. The RA will try to tell you that it will look more favorable for you if you turn the car over to him and then arrange with the bank to get it back. The only thing you gain by giving the RA the car are more fees before you can get it returned. The bank does not care if you turn it over to the RA and then pay your note, or if you go directly to them and pay the amount requested. As long as they get their money, they are sat-isfied; that is the only reason they are picking it up in the first place. If they can get paid without repossession, this is what they want. One ex-ception is that if you voluntarily turn it in, the RA gets a reduced fee.
VI. SOME TRICKS A RECOVERY AGENT MAY USE
When a RA backs his truck into your driveway, if he is able to hook up to the drive wheels (front wheels on front wheel drive and rear wheels on rear wheel drive), it will usually take him less than 15 seconds from the time he backs up to your vehicle until he has the wheels up and pulls away! Many people will keep their front door open, with their security door closed and locked, so that they can see outside and keep an eye on their car. The problem is that it is just about impossible to keep your eyes on your vehicle at all times. In addition, while you can see outside the RA can stand somewhere nearby, looking into your home, and know where you are and what you are doing. Many times I have backed into a drive-way and, while I am hooking up to the car, the owner was not aware that I was outside. Sometimes they saw and ran to the door to stop me, only to realize the door was locked and they must find the key and unlock the door to come outside. By that time I would usually already be out of their driveway. It is highly unlikely that you can depend on watching your vehicle and then stopping someone when they try to pick it up. Remember, 15 – 20 seconds is not very much time at all. One option, if you must leave your car out in the open and unprotected, is to block it in with another vehicle. If you do this, make sure that the other 3 sides of the vehicle are protected by a building, fence, or some other immovable object. In addition, when you park it next to a build-ing, be sure to turn your front wheels away from the building. This means, if it is picked up from behind and pulled away, the car will turn into the side of the building; the RA cannot allow that to happen. If he is able to get to the front of the vehicle, turning the wheels will not mat-ter. If he has a key, which is a very real possibility, he will be able to start the car and drive away. Sometimes the key he has is a ‘valet’ key. This key will open the door, turn off factory alarms, and unlock the steering wheel and the transmission, but will not be able to start the ve-hicle, making it much easier to retrieve without your knowledge. The only way to make sure he cannot drive your vehicle away is to change your ignition and door lock. When a RA locates your vehicle, there are certain requirements that must be met before he can take it away: First, he must be able to identify the vehicle to be recovered. This is done by checking the VIN number. The first place to check will be on the dashboard on the driver’s side. He can look through the wind-shield from outside the car and see this number. If this number is concealed for any reason, he must open the driver’s door to verify it. The VIN is also located on the door frame inside the door. When he has gained access to the inside, he removes whatever is blocking the number. If he is unable to see the VIN from the outside of the vehi-cle, he is placed in a risky situation. He cannot, under any circum-stances, remove the vehicle without first verifying it is the correct one. If he accidently removes the wrong car, he can be held liable for any inconvenience or damage he may cause to the owner or the vehi-cle itself. If he were to leave with it, he could then be charged with car theft. He is required by law to verify that he is picking up the right vehicle, before he hooks up to it. If he were to pick it up and discover it was the wrong car, a claim for any damage he caused could be made against him, his business and the bank. If he is able to look on the dash or inside the door, and the VIN has been removed, he could then call law enforcement and inform them that your vehi-cle does not have a VIN in either place, and ask them to verify that it is the vehicle he is seeking. It is illegal to remove a VIN from a vehi-cle or cause it to be illegible. Tricks
VII: HOW TO HANDLE THE RECOVERY AGENT (RA) AND KEEP YOUR CAR Before you decide to hide your car from the repo man because you are having trouble making your payments, here are some suggestions: Try to refinance your loan for a longer term to lower your monthly payments. Modify the terms of your loan with a lower interest rate. Change your payment date to be closer to your payday if this will help. Defer or extend your payments, pushing a payment back a few weeks or to the end of your contract to give you a break, and this will allow you to get back on your payment schedule. Don’t be afraid to call the bank if you are having trouble. If you see that you will be unable to make a note, call the bank before you are late. Be sure you are able to tell them when you can pay and how much. They will usually work with you if you are up-front with them, but if you make arrangements with them and then fail to do what you said, the bank can become much more difficult to deal with. Remember, they don’t really want your car but, if they feel you are not going to pay, the only option the bank has to get their money is to pick up the vehicle before it disappears or something happens to it. What the bank wants most of all is for you to pay off the your loan. If the bank allows you to alter payments or any terms, in some states this would mean it could be difficult for them to hold you to the terms of the agreement at a later date. Nowadays there are some used car dealers that install a GPS as a condi-tion of the loan; this device can track the movements of your vehicle. It can also be used to disable your vehicle if you are delinquent on your note. If you get behind on your payments, you will have to make ar-rangements with the dealer who sold you the car or you will have to disconnect the device. It may be located in your dashboard, in your headliner, underneath the back seat, or several other places. There will usually be two wires, one going to the ignition and one going to the starter. This device is usually connected to your fuse panel and gets it power from there; without power it will not work. It could also be con-nected directly to the battery. Most or the time it will get its power by tying into another power line that then leads to a fuse box; it is difficult to identify the power source. It can sometimes be connected in a way that, if you interrupt the power source, it would prevent the car from starting. If you attempt to disable this device, the best thing to do would be to have a professional do it for you. But, if it is disconnected, they won’t be able to locate it or turn it off. If you disconnect or bypass the device, it may be considered a breach of the sales agreement and could be grounds for immediate repossession. Be sure you read and under-stand the Sales Agreement. If the RA locates your vehicle, it can be very difficult to prevent him from getting it. If you see him, or he makes contact with you and de-mands the vehicle, you can refuse to turn it over. However, chances are, he is not going to ask you; he will wait until he has an opportunity to take it without you knowledge. This is the one way he can be sure he is going to be successful. Usually the only reason he would make contact with you is if it is the only way he can repossess your car. For instance, if he knows you have it in your garage but he can’t intercept it outside or predict when the garage door will be open, he will probably knock on your door and demand that you turn it over. Sometimes after he has taken possession, he may offer to let you remove your personal belong-ings in exchange for the keys. He may tell you anything or make all kinds of threats but the fact is, if he is not standing there with an officer and a court order saying you must turn it over, there is nothing he can do. He only has two options, find a way to take it from you or convince you to turn it over to him. When a vehicle is towed by picking up only two of the wheels, those two wheels must be the drive tires. This means that, if your car is a front wheel drive, it must be picked up by the front wheels in order for it to be able to roll freely when the tow truck starts moving. If you have a front wheel drive vehicle and you park it nose forward in your drive-way, the RA will not be able to pick it up by the back wheels and pull it away. The RA could, however, pick it up by the back tires, strap them down to the lift, drag it from your property, set it down, and then pick it up from the front. The problem is, by doing so, the RA may cause dam-age to your transmission, and the extra time and noise it makes could allow you to catch and stop him. Another option would be for the RA to get into your vehicle while you are asleep. Once he gets the door open, he can then release the hood latch and put it in neutral by hand When this is done, the front wheels will roll freely, making it possible for the RA to pick it up from either end and drive away. If your wheels are turned and locked and the RA is unable to get to either end, there are still some things he can do. If you are parked on a hard surface, such as concrete or pavement, the RA may use what is known as wheel jacks. This is a type of tool placed under the drive tires and then jacked up manually. It raises the tires a couple of inches off the ground and has four hard wheels at each corner of the device. Once the two drive tires are raised up by these jacks, the RA can move the vehicle in any direc-tion just by pushing it. He can then push it around a parking lot, down a driveway, around obstacles his truck could not get around, even all the way to the security gates of an apartment complex. Security gates are no deterrent for most RAs; there are many ways to get past them. If your vehicle has a manual transmission (must use a clutch to change the gears), all the RA has to do is put the shifter into neutral and pick it up from either end. If it is a rear wheel drive, the RA does not have to get under the hood to put the transmission into neutral; the transmission and linkage for this type of vehicle can be accessed from underneath. Before the RA pulls his wrecker into the driveway, he will first try to approach the vehicle in question to identify it, and determine what he must do in order to pick it up and drive away. Mainly he wants to be sure he has the right vehicle, that it will roll freely when he picks it up, and see if there is a risk of someone interfering with the pick-up. If you see the RA hoisting your car up in the driveway and you run out and jump into the vehicle, he must stop moving immediately. Since your car may be locked at this time, jumping onto the car may be a problem. If there is any chance that someone may be injured, the RA cannot move the unit. He might then get out and demand that you get off or out of the car, but he cannot force you to comply because he has no authority over you. If the RA tries to physically remove you, this is assault. If you happen to be sleeping in your car, the RA cannot pick up the vehicle or remove you from it. The RA may make an effort to scare you into doing what he wants, but be sure the RA knows you are inside the vehicle be-fore he hooks it up. The RA can pick up your vehicle if you don’t know he is doing it; that is why most vehicles are repossessed at night or while you are at work. If you are present when the RA tries to repossess your car and you know your rights, he can’t take it without breaking the law. If you don’t give him permission - not stopping him is the same as allowing the repossession. Once the bank has possession of your car, they have no more incentive to come to any kind of agreement with you. Remember, the bank wants their money and the RA wants his. The bank does not care if you pay them before or after your car is repos-sessed. In most cases the only way the RA gets paid is if he gets your car. It doesn’t matter how long or how many times he tries, if he doesn’t pick it up, he won’t get paid. That means the RA will tell you anything if it benefits him. He really doesn’t care about the bank or you; he is just trying to earn a paycheck. He may threaten to call the police if you do not let him take it, but this is only a bluff. Neither he nor the police have the authority to come onto your property and order you to turn over the vehicle. If he does call them, you should inform the po-lice,when they arrive, that you intend on making arrangements with the bank as soon as they open. You can also tell them that, if the RA doesn’t get off of your property, you want him cited for trespassing. Once he has been given a warning by the police. he cannot return to your prop-erty with your knowledge. If you catch him trying to get back on your property. he can then be arrested for trespassing. If he can return and get your vehicle without being noticed. there is vey little you will be able to do about it. You can be assured that he is going to try again; only next time he will be more careful. If he is unable to do it himself, he will get another agent who has not been warned. If the police are called, it should be by you, to inform them that you need someone removed from your property. If an officer has to come out on a call regarding repossession, he will probably be on your side, no matter what the RA may say. You can tell the officer that you will deal with the bank yourself and you want the trespasser removed. Be sure you remain calm, rational and polite. There is no reason to yell or get excited as long as you know your rights; that applies to dealing with the RA also. He is used to dealing with loud, irrational and uninformed people every day of the week. When he sees you calmly explaining to him that he is wasting his time because you are not going to let him take your vehicle, he knows you are right. He also realizes that you know your rights, and that hollow threats directed towards you are a waste of time. Most likely he will leave quietly, while weighing his options on what he should do next. This doesn’t mean that he is going to leave you alone because he went away without yelling or making threats. It’s just a job to him, and it is his job to get your car. Chances are, he will be twice as determined to get it after being stopped by you. However, he will probably find a way to act within the law to retrieve the vehicle. As soon as you think you have him outsmarted, you may walk out to an empty driveway. He makes a living repossessing cars from people who try to prevent it. The only time a police officer will come to pick up your car is if he has a court order. The bank would have to obtain it from a judge in ad-vance. Before a bank will go to court for an order, they will most likely know for certain where the vehicle is located, or they will be sure that you know the location and exactly where they can find you. If the bank cannot locate you or your vehicle after an extended period of time, they will likely charge the debt off and take the tax credit provided by a bad debt. If the vehicle is charged off, the bank will sell the loan to another agency, usually for pennies on the dollar, who will then try to locate you. If it is charged off, it will usually show up on your credit report. Even if your car is up for repossession, you must still maintain proper licensure, registration and tags. You will still be able to renew your tags, possess a legal driver’s license, and purchase insurance. I would strongly recommend you keep all of these things current. Failing to do so will only lead to more problems. When you renew your tags, you will be asked to provide the address of your current residence, along with proof that you live there; the law requires that you do this. They don’t help anyone with collections, but your registration and ad-dress are put into a database which is available to the general public for a fee in most states. So the RA will know from the paper work provided by the bank when you must renew your tags. Once this date arrives, he will start checking the database for your new address, if you have one. Some people will try swapping vehicles with a friend or relative, but this usually does not work. The RA will look up the address of the tags on the car you are driving, and go there to pick up your car. Even if you change tags, he may get the VIN number and use it to identify the owner and address for the vehicle. Painting your vehicle a different color or doing anything else to change its looks will not help. The RA is going to go by the VIN, no matter what color or what emblems may be on the car. This also means that, if the VIN does not match his paper-work, he will not pick it up under any circumstances. If you can pro-duce a clear title to the vehicle when he is trying to pick it up, it is very unlikely he will pick it up. There are many circumstances that lead to the owner having the title. This usually means that the bank made a mistake. Banks do make mistakes, but not very often. It is very difficult to prevent a RA from locating you or your vehicle. He has the loan information that you provided to the bank when you purchased the car. This tells him where you were employed at the time of purchase, the names and addresses of your friends and relatives, and any other information you provided. If he is unable to locate you, he will go to your references, telling them that it is very important that he find you before the bank initiates legal action against you. He might as-sure them that he does not want to cause you any problems and they would be doing you a big favor, because if he can’t locate you the po-lice will do it. This is not true, but most people do not know that and may help him, thinking that they are helping you. If your friends and relatives are no help, he will try talking to their neighbors and yours. If he does not know where you live now, he will go to the neighbors at your previous address. He can also go to your place of employment. If you no longer work there, he will try to discover where you currently work. If none of these methods work, he may have a skip tracer run your credit, check phone listings, and also use the many resources available to them on the internet. He may also check with other busi-nesses in the area that would offer the same type of job as your previous employer. Many RAs now have a device in their truck that reads the tag numbers of the cars they slowly drive past in a parking lot. This means that there is also a good chance that, if he is unable to locate you but you still live in the same town or city, he may find you in some parking lot, grocery store, movie theater, restaurant or anywhere else you may just happen to go. If, after much effort, he is unable to locate you or the vehicle, he will eventually move on to the many other assignments that he is receiving on a daily basis. Remember, he only gets paid for the vehicles he recov-ers. As time goes by and he has no new leads, he will become reluctant to waste more time on your account. It becomes easier and more profitable for him, after a certain amount of time and effort, to move on to an account that he is more likely to recover. If the RA does know where you live, work, or the location of the vehicle, he will continue to try week after week and month after month. As long as he has the order, he will probably check the addresses he has whenever he is in the area. If he is unable to come up with any useful information or leads, the bank may decide they are not happy with his services and reassign the order to another agent or another repossession company. When this happens, the whole process starts all over again. Moving to another state or even all the way across the country will not stop the RA. In most cases, it becomes easier to locate you once you have moved to a new residence, even in another state. The repossession company tracks your credit, which shows them your new address, as well as the name and address of your new employer. Once someone has moved to another state, they usually relax, thinking they are now out of reach. The repossession company that has your account has a book that lists the names and addresses of all the repossession companies in the United States. They can call the one nearest to the address reported on your credit report, and pay them a fee to pick up your vehicle and store it until they can transport it back to the state you left. In most cases, if the bank has to pursue you to another state to get your car, they won’t be likely to negotiate a deal for you to get your car back. If they do, you will have to first pay all repossession fees, storage, and transportation of the vehicle back to the original state, which is where you will have to go to pick it up. About the only accommodation the bank will be willing to make with you then is to pay all fees and the entire balance of the loan. Unless your car is very valuable and almost paid off, it probably will not be worth it to you to get it back. If he needs to, he can and will get a key to your vehicle. The only way to protect your car from a key is to change out the ignition, remove a part from the vehicle that is necessary for the car to start, or install a kill switch that is hidden from view and must be flipped in order for it to start. If given enough time, most RAs will be able to locate a switch. Most people are not aware that, when your car is picked up, if you find a way to retrieve it from him before he can return it to the bank, you have not committed any crime. All you are doing is the same thing that was just done to you. A RA knows this and it is very rare that he will leave it in a position or place that would make it possible for you to retrieve. There are times though, when a RA has picked up a vehicle and rather than drive all the way back to his lot, he may take it to a shop-ping center or large parking lot. He will do this if his office is a long way from the town where he recovered your car, or if he needs to try to get another one that is nearby before the owner wakes up or departs for work. If he drops your vehicle anywhere that does not require you to break and enter to retrieve it, you manage to follow him without him being aware of it, or if you happen to locate the vehicle after he has dropped it, you can just get in it and drive away. Once he discovers what has happened, he will most likely become very upset; he will say or do just about anything he can to get it back. Most banks have a pol-icy that says, once a RA has recovered a vehicle, usually defined as having already reported it as repossessed to the local police department, if something happens to it afterwards, the repossessopm company must take responsibility. Meaning, if it disappears and he can’t recover it, his company will have to pay off the remaining balance to the bank. This means that, if he knows you got it back from him, he will be after you day and night, no matter where you go or what you do.
VIII: ACTUAL ACCONTS FROM A RECOVERY AGENT
One night I received an order to pick up a woman’s car for a large bank. Sometimes I went out by alone and this was one of those nights. The address I was given was about 100 miles from the city, in the country. I got a map of the area from the internet, and located the address on a long gravel road, far from any neighbors. I arrived at the house around 3:00 a.m. The driveway leading from the gravel road to the house was about 200 yards in length. There aren’t any street lights, so I parked my truck at the end of the drive and left it running. I started easing down the driveway, keeping my eye on the front of the house. Several lights were on despite it being so early in the morning. I could see two cars parked next to each other, with one that looked like it might be the one I was looking for. I moved slowly, watching the windows in case some-one glanced out, and also tried to watch out for any dogs that might be running loose. I eased up to the vehicle and shined a small light on the VIN on the dashboard, while keeping one eye on the windows, since I was now only about 30 feet from them. As I was trying to verify that I had the right vehicle, a deep voice suddenly spoke from right behind me. He said “What the HELL you think you doin’ boy?” I almost jumped out of my skin! He must have been standing 2 feet away. As I turned around to face him, I immediately started saying “I’m here to pick up this car for the bank” As I was saying this, I saw a very tall and large man right in front of me, holding a glass quart bottle of beer. At the same time, I looked over his shoulder and realized there were about 7 other men 20 feet behind him who all had bottles in their hands, and they were all standing up and looking at me. These men had been sit-ting on stumps and lawn chairs under a big tree in complete darkness. They had sat there and watched me sneak all the way down the drive when they saw me leave my truck several hundred feet away. I was lucky they hadn’t just hit me in the back of the head with one of those bottles when I got close enough to them! I have found that, when I get in a situation like this, the best thing for me to do is remain calm and act as if we are standing out in a crowded parking lot in broad daylight. When I informed him that I was there to get the car, he said “No, you’re not”, so I looked at him and said “Yes, I am”. This confused him and his friends quite a bit, so he looked at me and then down the dark drive-way at my black truck running with the door open. It was so far away that he could only barely see it. He said “Who you got in that truck with you?” I said “Nobody is out there.” He looked at me with a look of ut-ter disbelief and said “There’s nobody out there, huh?” Again I replied “No”. At this point he started looking confused, as did his friends be-hind him, and he asked “Well, where the Hell is the Sheriff?” I said “I guess he is at the Sheriff’s station.” He seemed to find this almost im-possible to believe, then he asked “So where is your gun?” I looked at him and said “I don’t carry a gun.” “You mean to tell me that you are out here in my yard at 3:00 a.m. to get my car and you don’t have a partner, the Sheriff, or a gun?” he asked. I said “Yes, that’s right”. He looked as though he could not believe his ears. “Don’t you know that’s a good way to get killed around here-you really don’t have no gun?” I said “Naw, I don’t need a gun, do I? I mean, you wouldn’t just shoot a man over some car would you?” He considered this for a second or two and said “Naw, I wouldn’t, but you never know who you might run up on out here”. I said “Maybe, but I’m just doing my job. So, is there any-thing you would like to get out of the vehicle before I take it? “That’s when he looked at me real crazy looking and said “What? You ain’t tak-ing my car!.” I said “Why not?” He thought about that for a second and said “Because I said you ain’t”. I then explained to him that this was not a good answer. He said “What do you mean?” I told him that the bank knew the car was at this address and had told me to pick it up. “If I didn’t pick up the vehicle first, the bank is going to inquire why I didn’t when they open. Just because you say I can’t is not a good enough reason for the bank. If that was all it took to prevent me from repossessing a vehicle, I could never repossess one. The only thing they would accept would be if I told them that you said that if I tried to get that car, you were going to shoot me. If that is the case, you want this car a lot worse than me. If I tell them that, they will just send the Sheriff’s deputy out here next time, but its up to you. What do you want me to tell them?” He seemed to think about this real hard for several seconds, then he yelled towards the house “Lucy, you better come get your stuff outta this car if you want anything.” What happened was that he could not think of a legitimate reason why I should not be allowed to take the car. If he had known the law, he would have known he didn’t have to give me a reason, all he really had to say was “You are trespassing; get off my property right now.” Had he said something to that effect, I would have known that he knew his rights and, if I couldn’t reason with him, all I would be able to do is leave. I would have then watched him constantly until I got a chance to get his car without him catching me. But if he had gone to the bank that morning after refusing to let me take the vehicle, and made satisfactory arrangements with the bank, I would no longer have been authorized to pick the unit up. The owner could have also taken the car and hidden it until he was able to make the payment. This would have prevented me from getting the vehicle, and he would have been able to pay an amount that was drastically reduced from what it would have been had I picked it up. I received another order from the same bank regarding a lady in a nice neighborhood in the city. I went to the address listed late that night and found that the house had a garage. This garage was one that had a row of windows across the door, which made it possible for me to see in-side. I took a flashlight and looked in the garage, and I could see a vehicle that appeared to be the one I was looking for—same make, model and color. Of course I would not know for sure until I checked the VIN against the paperwork. Since I knew it was there, I waited until around 6:30 a.m. and then returned. I knocked on the door until she got up and answered it. I politely informed her that I was from the bank and I was there to pick up the vehicle in the garage. I then told her to get the keys and open the garage door. Most people don’t know what else to do when confronted in this way. She looked at me with a surprised look on her face and slammed the door without saying one word. I didn’t even know if she was the owner of the car I was trying to pick up. I waited a minute or two hoping she was complying with my demands. She didn’t return, so I beat on the door for at least 10 minutes while yelling for her to open up, saying I was not going to leave until she did. She didn’t care. She never came back to the door and I finally gave up and left. No matter how often I returned, she never opened the door again nor did I ever see the vehicle in the garage again. Eventually she caught up her note with the bank, but I gave up trying to get it long before that. Most of the time, having no contact with the repo man and preventing him from gaining access to your car is all you have to do. I once had an order for a full-sized van, and the owner was listed as liv-ing in a nearby apartment complex. Apartments are usually the easiest to get a car from because the owner will almost never hear me, but if he does he is probably too far away from the vehicle to get to it in time. This man had been put on the repossession list several times before, and the bank assured me that I had the right home address. I would check the entire complex day and night, but never see the van. Eventually he paid and it was removed from the list. This meant that the time I had spent looking for him was wasted and I would not be getting a dime. This time, however, the bank had acquired his place of employment, work hours, and address. The next morning I went to his employment and there it was, just waiting for me. I had come to the address in my own vehicle, so I did not have a wrecker. This meant I needed to con-vince him to give me the keys so that I could drive it away. I parked in front of the van so it couldn’t be pulled away, and then went inside to confront him in front of his co-workers. Most people are too embar-rassed to put up much of a fight at their job. I located him in a meeting and asked him to step outside so I could talk to him, making an effort to be discreet. He came out, wearing a suit and tie and acting very professional. He said he would give me the keys, but asked if he could back the van up to the loading dock; there were several computers in the back and he wanted to get them out before I took it. This seemed like a reasonable request, so I moved my car to a parking space nearby. I then walked over to the dock to wait for him to back in. He started the van, drove over to the dock, and kept on going. I stood there for a minute be-fore I realized he was leaving. Once this had happened, there was nothing I could legally do except try to find out where he had gone and not give him another chance. I was furious that I had been dumb enough to let him do that to me because I knew better. One hour later I received a phone call from the bank, informing me that the owner had been waiting in the parking lot when they opened and paid his note. He was now off the list again and there was nothing I could do about it, except wait for him to get put back on it. If you are confronted by a RA asking where your vehicle is and you tell him you don’t know, he is going to demand that you prove it. He will have you call police and report it stolen. Since you are the registered owner, you are the only one that can report it stolen. If you do this and it isn’t stolen, it would then become a criminal matter (filing a false po-lice report), and will also put the vehicle on a stolen car list. Refusing to tell the RA where the vehicle is located is not a crime. If you are financ-ing a vehicle, you will not be charged with theft for being late on your payments. It is not a crime to be unable to pay your bills. When a RA picks up your vehicle without your knowledge, most police departments require that he call them and report it as being repossessed. This is so the police won’t look for a stolen car if you report it missing. If you discover your vehicle is missing, you should be able to call the local police department who can tell you the name of the company that picked it up. If you call the bank or the repossession company to discuss your situa-tion, it is a safe bet that they will trace your number in an attempt to lo-cate you. This includes cell phone numbers. They may also try to locate you and your friends on web sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Bankruptcy can protect your vehicle from repossession, but you must meet with an attorney and determine if you are eligible. Even if you in-tend on filing bankruptcy, you are not usually protected until the paper-work has been filed with the courts. I once located a vehicle I was seeking in the mountains. It was in the driveway and had the key in the ignition (this happens more often than you may think). I had a partner with me, so I decided to drive the vehi-cle away. When I tried to start it, the battery was low and it wouldn’t start. I hooked my truck up to the back of the vehicle and drove away. When I was about 1 mile away, going down a steep mountain road, the front right tire came off of the vehicle I was towing. When I stopped to see what had happened, I discovered that the lug nuts had been re-moved from the tire and the tire tied back to the axel with some thin string. If I had driven it away and down the mountainside when this oc-curred, I could have had a serious accident. If so, my employer would have immediately filed criminal charges against the owner for deliber-ately causing me injury or death. On another occasion a man informed me over the phone that I could pick up his van and gave me the location. When I arrived, I found the vehicle in a parking lot near a busy intersection, with the keys in it. I started it and drove away. As I approached the stop sign and attempted to stop, I discovered that the brake system had been disabled. With no way to stop, I had to proceed into heavy traffic. I managed to steer into a parking lot across the street and drive in circles until I got the vehicle stopped. Again, if this had caused an accident, the owner could have faced serious charges. If you know the bank is sending someone to pick up your car, you should never sabotage it in an effort to cause an accident or injury to the person picking it up. This could lead to criminal and civil charges being filed against you, and could be viewed the same as attempted assault or manslaughter. It is not a criminal matter to prevent your vehicle from being picked up, but you could make it a criminal offense if you are not careful. Hiding your car; refusing to tell the RA its location; giving him false in-formation; not answering your door: these are examples of actions that are not a criminal offense, unless a court order has been issued instruct-ing you to do otherwise. Even not complying with a court order to re-veal the location of your car is not a criminal offense. It is, however, considered contempt of court and a judge could, under the right circumstances, put you in jail until you agree to comply, regardless of how long it may take. I received an order one night from a very large financial institution for a bright red 4-wheel-drive pick up truck. The information from the bank said that the owner’s home address was over one thousand miles away. He was working in construction, building hotels, and figured the bank could not find out where he was working, so he could pay his note when he felt like it. Well, the bank did find out where he was working and gave me the location, with an order and instructions to make every effort to recover the truck, as over $35,000 was still owed on the vehi-cle. The bank felt that, not only had he left the state of purchase, but he had no intention of paying for the truck. They couldn’t say absolutely that he was never going to pay, but he had not made a payment in over six months and he was employed. They also provided me with the key code. This meant that, if I needed to, I could go to the nearest Dodge dealership and have a key made for about $5. His location was about 150 miles from our office and I had other orders even further away, so I took a driver with me to help drive any vehicles I might recover while towing another one. This is common practice, to save on the time re-quired for transporting any recovered vehicles back to the main office. I located the job site at 7:00 a.m. and identified the truck. It was sitting in the middle of the construction site, surrounded by workers, tools, and other vehicles. I would not be able to retrieve it with the wrecker and drive away. With all of these possible obstacles to retrieval, I went to the dealership and got a key. I had my driver wait in the wrecker and follow me when I left. Since I had orders in other towns, my plan was to drive this truck to a town about 50 miles away, park it in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and pick it up on my return to the office. I walked up to the truck and got in while most of the workers were on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the partially constructed hotel. I put the key in the ignition and started it up. Unfortunately, there were very large and loud exhaust pipes on the truck. When I started it, the sound drew the attention of everyone on the site. The owner and several of his friends started yelling for someone to stop me before I could drive away. It was too late for that, but I had no way of knowing that the transmission was locked in low 1st gear. I pushed the accelerator to the floor and headed for the highway. The engine and pipes drowned out all other sounds in the vicinity, but top speed was around 6 miles per hour. I was not famil-iar with the operation of this truck and could not determine with a quick visual inspection what I needed to do in order to disengage the low 4 wheel drive. The owner and his friends realized this and started climb-ing down to come after me on foot. The only thing I could do was stop at the exit and retrieve the owner's manual from the glove compartment; luckily it was there. I started reading as fast as I could, while watching the men as they ran across the parking lot towards me. I finally man-aged to locate the information I needed when they were about 50 feet away. I disengaged the transmission and drove away, just as they were approaching the truck. The town where I was going to park the truck was located on a divided four-lane highway, with very few hills. This meant that you could see this bright red truck on the road from a long distance. I got to the town and parked it in a busy parking lot, locked it and left. I then called my office to inform them that I had located and recovered the vehicle so they could inform the bank. This made my boss and the bank very happy, since no one had been able to accomplish this in over 6 months. I went on to other orders and came back through town to get the truck around 3:00 p.m. This was about 6 hours after I had left it. I drove around the lot and could not find it. I then searched every row, with no luck. Next I went to Security for the property to ask if they may have had it towed away for some reason. They said they did not. This left me with only one conclusion: the owner and his friends had followed me, waited until I left, then used his key to drive it away. This was very bad news for me. Since I had informed the office, who then informed the bank that it had been recovered, we were responsible for the vehicle. This meant that, either I recover it again, or my em-ployer and I would be required to pay the balance owed to the bank and suffer the loss ourselves. Since the balance was over $35,000, this was not an option! Never underestimate the capabilities and commitment of an angry and desperate RA. By this time I had been working for over 15 hours and was still 3 hours from home, but if I did not find this truck today, it was very likely that I would never see it again. This was the first time it had been located and, now that he had it back, he may either hide it very well or just leave town. I could not go to the police because he had not broken any law, and most likely they would have found my situation very amusing. I went back to this town of about 50,000 residents but had no idea of where to start looking, as the only information I had was his job site. I could be pretty sure that was the last place I would find it. I still checked there first thing (just in case). The only other option available was to start driving around and looking. I started on one side of the city and drove up and down each and every street, checking every parking lot, apartment complex, hotel, and any other place you could park a truck. At around 9:00 p.m. that night, as I was going down the fourth street in a trailer park, I spotted the vehicle in a back yard backed up next to the rear of a mobile home. By this time I knew that the only way I wasn’t going to recover this truck would be if he shot me or if he and his friends were determined to stop me. I had no intention of coming up with $35,000 to pay off his truck! I got in it and took off without being seen, but, before I left, I was com-pelled to do a couple of doughnuts in the yard. Mistakes were made by both of us that day. If I had secured the vehicle after recovering it, he could have never gotten it back; if he had done the same, I may have never gotten it back. Don’t ever think that, be-cause you outsmarted the RA, he is going to go away. Many times a RA is more motivated and willing to spend more money to recover your ve-hicle than you are to keep it. If you trick him, or outsmart him, you can reasonably expect that, while you are eating, sleeping, and working, he will be doing his job 24/7. His job is to get your vehicle. If you are bet-ter at keeping your property from him than he is at recovering it, he would be out of a job very soon. He views your vehicle as part of his pay check, and he has no intention of taking a pay cut or getting his electricity turned off because you don’t want to let him have your car. If you make the decision to withhold your property from him, you will have to be committed to doing so and cannot ever let your guard down. The information found in this guide can help you, but always remember the odds are still going to be in his favor. He is a paid professional at re-covering property; it is unlikely that you can spend all of your time try-ing to prevent him from doing his job. This doesn’t mean that it is im-possible, just that even with the information you have been provided, it can be very difficult. Without this information it would be very unlikely that you would be successful. This is also a reminder that if the RA takes off with your car, he may not take it to a secure lot. There are many reasons for this, but it is always a possibility. If you try to follow him, you will have to be very discreet. He is used to people trying to chase him down, thinking there is something they can do to take it back when he stops. This is ex-tremely unlikely. But, if he does not secure the vehicle after repossess-ing it and you have knowledge of it’s location, there is the slim chance that you may be able to get it back without him being in a position to stop you. Just remember, if you do this, his #1 priority will be to find it and get it back. It is likely that his future employment will depend on it.
Friday, July 2, 2010
For a "repo" man to be successful he is depending on two things. The first is that you don't know he is coming and because you don't know any better will have your vehicle in a place that he can locate and then pick up. The second is that if he has to confront you that you want really know what the law says about what you can do to stop a repo and he will be able to talk you out of your car or scare you into thinking that you don't have any choice. Almost all the vehicles repossessed are due to one of these two reasons.
Most repo men are just trying to make a living like everybody else, but a lot of them resort to hollow threats, intimidation, and many other illegal methods to recover a vehicle. I was looking at the economy lately and I decided that the average person needed my help more than the lending institutions. The information I provide is all completely legal and is not intended for anyone to use for illegal purposes. The truth is, if you know the law and your rights you won't have to resort to anything illegal to prevent your car from being picked up.
The information I am giving you comes from years of experience, paying lawyers for the legal explanations, what people did to stop a repo, and what I was able to learn from year after year of doing my job. Not only that but keep in mind the cost to you if your vehicle is suddenly repossessed and the only way you can get it back is to come up with thousands of dollars if you are lucky.
I am sure that no matter what you may think you know about the “repo” business I have information ithat you probably were not aware of. I also noticed when I was looking around at the many forums online that it seems that it must be repo men that are answering the questions asked. I discovered that most of the answers to people's questions were either inaccurate or out right false.
MY BANK CALLED ME THE OTHER DAY, THEY SAID "DON'T WORRY WE WILL HAVE YOU ON YOUR FEET IN NO TIME." I GOT UP THE NEXT MORNING AND MY CAR WAS GONE!
ALWAYS REMEMBER WHEN YOU ARE TALKING TO THE BANK: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. ANYTHING YOU SAY WILL BE MISQUOTED AND USED AGAINST YOU.
It doesn't matter where you live, YOU STILL HAVE RIGHTS!!!
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE! KEEP YOUR CAR FROM REPO NOW!!!
Call Payment Solutions Center at (888) 348-4888
If your car is about to be repossessed, chances are that you haven't been able to pay avoiding for quite some time. You may be avoiding phone calls from your auto lender. The good news is, you CAN still stop the repossession. Here are some helpful tips:
Hide your car at a friend's house, so the bank can't find your car. Repossession experts will do just about anything to find out where your car is. Their job is to find the car. They want to keep the contract with the bank, so they want to do the job well.
Call Payment Solutions Center at (888) 348-4888 and ask them how they can find ways to defer payments, lower interest rates, and lower your overall car payment.
Get back out of hiding and enjoy your life the way it's meant to be!
Hide your car at a friend's house, so the bank can't find your car. Repossession experts will do just about anything to find out where your car is. Their job is to find the car. They want to keep the contract with the bank, so they want to do the job well.
Call Payment Solutions Center at (888) 348-4888 and ask them how they can find ways to defer payments, lower interest rates, and lower your overall car payment.
Get back out of hiding and enjoy your life the way it's meant to be!
Stopping the "Repo" man is our main goal with our clients. We do this with a series of steps that have been known to work with our auto industry background.
For more info:
call (239) 233-2477 and ask how to stop the Repo Man.