Falling behind on a car loan can result in the lender repossessing the vehicle. While it is possible to stop repossession by filing for personal bankruptcy, protecting a car from the creditor may only be temporary. It is important to understand the rights a creditor has to repossess a car during a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Consumer assets that are not protected by state or federal law are sold in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to repay creditors. Lenders of auto loans usually file liens against the vehicles. This makes them secured lenders and gives them rights to the vehicle that supersede those of other creditors when the court releases the vehicle from the automatic stay. If the time comes that your vehicle is in jeopardy of being repossessed, do not panic, you still have rights. Repo men must follow the law when taking your personal property.
Repo men have many tricks in locating your vehicle but generally are not allowed to use force when doing so. Typically, repo men will wait until you have gone asleep or have left your vehicle for an extended period of time. Regardless, they are not allowed to “breach the peace,” a term that is defined broadly. Hotwiring vehicles or using duplicate keys are usually legal. Further, courts have found it to be legal to repossess cars in open garages (door is up), or carports. However, if the garage door is down or there are locks, the courts will likely find it to be illegal.
If you ever happen to catch a repo man in action, make sure you object or someone else (family, friend) at that time. Repo men do not have all encompassing power. Once there is an objection the repo man must stop, or it will be a breach of peace. With that said, do not act in a way that will put yourself or others in harm’s way. However, the repo man can try again another day.
Also, you should be aware that the repossession company is not entitled to your personal property found inside your vehicle. The creditor must use reasonable care to make sure your personal items are not lost or damaged. If your creditor can’t account for articles left in your vehicle, you may want to speak to an attorney about your right to compensation.
Finally and perhaps most important, you may still be able to get your repossessed vehicle returned to you by filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In order to accomplish this, you need to contact a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney AS SOON as possible after the actual repossession to learn about your options.
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"Benjamin Wright with Wright Law Office made a very difficult time for us much easier. We were struggling and did not know what our options were. He explained all our options and helped us to make the best financial decision. They made things easy and were always available to answer any questions we had. I would definitely recommend him."
Why should you hire our firm to represent you in bankruptcy?
Great question. Here are a few reasons:
- 1. Bankruptcy is our sole area of practice. Attorney Wright has over 10 years of experience in the field of bankruptcy and has helped over 1000 people successfully file.
- 2. Attorney Wright has an accounting background that is useful in analyzing complex financial documents. Prior to law school he obtained a degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin School of Business. He exercised his strong numerical aptitude in the field of accounting, including several years with The Kohler Co., before ultimately deciding to pursue a law degree.
- 3. New clients meet with an attorney during their first visit. We understand your time is valuable. It is important your questions are answered quickly and accurately so you can take appropriate steps to secure a better financial future and eliminate fear and stress.
4. In business, referrals are the highest form of professional compliment. We frequently receive referrals from other lawyers and previous clients.
- 5. Our firm is small which enables us to focus on quality over quantity. We don’t have billboards on the I-10 or banners affixed to public transportation. Our approach is a bit more understated. We care about people and doing things right and it shows in our low employee turnover and positive reviews.
- 6. Perhaps the most important consideration is the cost of filing bankruptcy. We continuously assess our fees to ensure we offer fair and competitive pricing. We want to offer you a deal without sacrificing the quality of your experience.
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What our clients are saying…
Mr. Wright and his staff were amazing. They made a negative situation a lot better and turned it into a positive. Could really tell they care helping people and I will refer their Phoenix Bankruptcy Attorney firm to friends and family. Thanks again.
I called around looking for the right bankruptcy lawyer and came across Benjamin Wright. He personally called me for the consultation seeing how I live in Kingman AZ. He was very helpful from the start and his staff was very friendly and explained any questions I had, sorry for all the questions. I would definitely recommend Wright law offices, and I do!! Thanks for everything, you made what seemed like a hard thing to do simple!! You guys rock!!!
Great lawyer, he really helped my mother out of a jam. She was totally new to bankruptcy and he talked with us for about an hour and a half to make sure she wouldn’t be worried.
Ben is a kind and down to earth attorney. He worked around my busy schedule as a single mom (school, full-time job, and daycare pick up and drop off times). He explained absolutely everything to me and was good about e-mailing. I am writing this review as a THANK YOU.
I had a very positive experience with Attorney Wright. He or his staff returned my e-mails and calls promptly (even after business hours occasionally). His fees were reasonable. He was patient with me when I showed up in court missing an important document. He is aggressive, but fair and nice.