Auto repossession doesn’t mean lenders can do anything they want

If you don’t pay on your car loan, the lender eventually has the right to repossess the car. This is something you know when you buy the car, and most people know that a repossession is coming long before it happens simply because they know they haven’t been paying.

However, just because you owe money and have missed payments doesn’t mean the lender has the right to do anything to get the car back. You still have rights and the repossession can still be illegal if done improperly.

For instance, they usually can’t show up without warning. Yes, you know the repo is coming and so do they, but they generally have to give you advance notice before taking the car. This often has to be done in writing. If you ignore it, they can then show up and take the vehicle, but this is something that normally doesn’t happen out of the blue.

They are also not allowed to violate your right to privacy or “breach the peace” while reclaiming the vehicle. That means they’re not allowed to break into a garage, even if you both know the vehicle is in that garage, or threaten you and force their way into your house. A repossession is not supposed to resemble a criminal theft, and something has probably gone wrong when it does.

Have you been the victim of a repossession that was either carried out when it shouldn’t have been or done in an illegal manner? If so, you need to know what legal rights you have as a consumer in Minnesota. Our website can answer some of your most pressing questions.