You leave your house in the morning to drive to work and suddenly realize that your car is gone. Follow these steps to find out who took your car and how you can get it back.
Confirm whether it was repossessed or stolen
If you were behind on auto loan payments, it’s possible that your vehicle was repossessed by the lender. Even if you make a payment after several months of falling behind, your account may not be up to date.
Call your auto loan lender or local police department to confirm that your vehicle was repossessed and not stolen. Repossession agents should inform the local police department before the vehicle repossession takes place.
If your vehicle was repossessed, ask for specific details, such as which repossession company it was and when they notified police.
Gather any auto loan and repossession documents
Locate the loan agreement that you signed when you purchased the vehicle. This agreement should provide details about your rights if your car is repossessed. If you financed through a dealership, this is called a Retail Installment Sales Contract, or RISC.
If any of your documents were inside the vehicle at the time of repossession, you should be able to retrieve them by following these steps.
Your loan agreement will say whether you have to pay off the entire balance of the loan, or only the past due payments. In addition to these payments, the lender may also ask you to pay for any storage or towing fees.
You should also receive a notice after the repossession, called a Notice of Intent to Sell Property, that provides further information on how you can get your car back. The lender should send this notice before your vehicle is sold and give you enough time to satisfy the terms to get your vehicle back.
If the vehicle is sold, the lender will provide a Deficiency Notice that will tell you whether or not you still owe, or if the sale or auction of the vehicle has fully paid off your account.
Know your rights
Remember, whether you were behind on payments or not, repossession agents have to follow certain laws when they repossess your vehicle. If you think any aspect of your case may be considered an unlawful vehicle repossession, contact a wrongful repossession attorney to discuss your case.