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Does your lender have the legal right to repossess your car?

When you take out a loan to purchase a vehicle, you agree to pay it back based on the terms and conditions of the agreement.

There are many situations in which your lender may consider its legal rights for repossessing your car. However, there are specific steps your lender must take, all to ensure that they're not violating the law.

Here are some points of consideration:

  • Repossession: A creditor is permitted by law to repossess your vehicle as soon as you default on a payment. However, the word default can take on a different meaning from one contract to the next. Even if your lender can seize your vehicle after one missed payment, they don't typically do so.
  • Selling your vehicle: If your creditor legally repossesses your vehicle, they have the legal right to sell it. However, you may have the right to buy back your vehicle before auction by catching up on back payments and entering a new agreement.
  • Personal property is yours: If your vehicle is repossessed with personal items inside, don't wait to protect your legal rights. Your lender cannot legally keep these items, so make sure you do whatever it takes to get them back.

Even if your lender has the right to repossess your vehicle, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll follow all the appropriate steps in doing so. You have legal rights, and it's a must to protect them at all times. If anything goes wrong, such as the creditor attempting to keep property from inside the vehicle, learn more about the steps you can take to protect yourself.

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