If you have a defense
You should have received an Affidavit of Defense when your car was repossessed. The Affidavit of Defense will let you explain why you did not make payments on the car. If you send it in within 21 days of the repossession, you can stop the creditor from selling your car. But, you will need to go to court to explain why you did not make payments if you choose to claim a defense. You may want to meet with a lawyer to decide if you have a defense.
If you do not have a defense
If you don't get a notice, you can request the details of the sale within one year. You can send a written request to the creditor whose name and address is listed on the Notice of Redemption you received. The lender has 14 days to send you the details.
The explanation must have the following information:
- How much your car was sold for
- The expenses related to repossession
- The amount you still owe (deficiency) or is owed to you (surplus)
- Any other credits or expenses
Buying your car back
Buying your car back after it has been repossessed is done in one of two ways, depending on whether you have paid more than 30% of the car’s sale price.
If you have paid more than 30% of the total sale price of the car, you can get your car back. But you must do the following things within 21 days of repossession:
- Pay all the back payments owed
- Pay any late charges
- Pay the costs of repossession, like towing costs
- Pay off any other money you owe related to the car, like insurance
Your creditor must give you a written notice informing you of these rights within 3 days of the repossession. You can only get your car back in this way one time during the contract.
If you have not paid 30% of the car’s sale price, to get the car back, the creditor may require you to pay off the entire loan plus repossession and storage charges.
Getting back personal items left in the car
If your car was repossessed while it had your property inside of it, you might be able to get those items back.
The repo company is required by law to make a list of all personal property that is in, the car when it is repossessed. If the creditor does not have a lien (security interest) in the property you left in the car, the repo company must notify you within 5 days of repossession as to the where your personal property is located. The company cannot sell or get rid of your property until it has given you at least 45 days prior notice.
1. Make a list
Write a list of the items that you left in the car, and describe them as much as you can.
2. Fill out a form
Fill out and mail a Request for Return of Personal Property Left Inside Repossessed Car to the creditor.
If the creditor doesn't give your items back you may be able to sue for the value of the items in small claims court.
Note: You may not get certain items, such as a stereo or hubcaps. You may only get items back that can be removed from the car without decreasing its value. If you know your car is going to be repossessed, you can take these items out of the car, but you must put the original parts back in the car.
Updated: June 2017