Things debt collectors cannot do

Anyone struggling with debt in Minnesota knows how stressful the situation is. Many debt collectors will try to capitalize on that stress by illegally attempting to seize your property, including your vehicles. If a repossessor calls for your vehicle, you must take steps to ensure the action is legal.

Illegal tactics that debt collectors try to use

Because your car is often a considerably large asset, a debt collector may go after it to sell it and help repay the money you owe to creditors. They may use one of the five following tactics to accomplish wrongful repossession of motor vehicles:

• Pretend to work for a government agency or a consumer reporting agency

• Threaten to have you arrested or say that they will make you appear in court

• Publicly shame you you about money you may owe

• Attempt to collect your vehicle for a debt that you don’t owe

• Harass you in various ways, including using obscene language, calling repeatedly, or contacting you in writing after you have told them to stop

Many vehicle repossessors and debt collectors regularly flout the law to get you to comply. Request proof if you’re unsure whether you owe money on a debt, including a vehicle loan.

Fighting abusive debt collection

Abusive debt collection tactics can take many forms, including official-looking letters that ask you to appear in court. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers from illegal activities from debt collectors, including vehicle repossessors.

You have options if you feel that your vehicle was wrongfully taken. Typically, you need to receive advance written notice from a loan company about an impending repossession. In addition, companies that accept late loan payments for vehicles usually cannot repossess your car if you are behind and keep making payments.