Repo Wrongdoing: What Is Allowed During a Repossession?

Wednesday night, a repo man sparked an abduction scare in West Philadelphia after inadvertently repossessing a car with a child sleeping inside.

On June 9, a different repo man shot and killed a man- firing up to 19 bullets- after an altercation over a repossession in Point Breeze.

After these recent repos gone wrong, what are the ground rules during a repossession?

According to information from the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, creditors must complete all repossessions peacefully, and comply if the individual says the creditors cannot take back the property, or enter onto property.

The creditors must then go to a court for a warrant to repossess the property. Breaching the peace during a repossession is a misdemeanor offense.

Cars parked on the street, public parking lots, or driveways can be repossessed. A creditor cannot repossess a vehicle that is locked in a garage or gate.

The creditor is not allowed to keep any of the personal possessions found in the vehicle.

The creditor must also present an official notice of repossession in person or by certified mail. The creditor is also required to provide the buyer with an official notice of when the car will be sold at auction.

Find more information about repossessions in this brochure.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, in many states, a vehicle can be repossessed right after the buyer defaults on their loan or lease, and can be seized at any time.

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