The Legal Boundaries of Vehicle Repossession: Can a Repo Man Take Your Car While You’re in It?

If you’ve missed payments on your auto loan, you may be worried about your vehicle being repossessed. There are certain things that a repo man is not permitted to do in the course of a vehicle repossession.

This often makes people ask, “Can a repo man take your car with you in it?” It will help to understand more about the role of a repo agent and the applicable laws for repossession in your area.  

What Does a Repo Man Do?

Repo men have a primary responsibility to find and retrieve vehicles that have fallen into loan default on behalf of the creditor. These trained professionals must be cautious when seizing vehicles to avoid causing damage or breaking the law.

Every state has its own set of laws regarding the repossession process. The repo agent must be sure that as they carry out their duties, they are following these laws. In some states, they will need to provide notice in advance, which would allow the debtor to have a deadline to resolve the issue.

Even if your state does not require an advance notice of impending repossession, the repo man must not breach the peace. This means they can’t use threats, physical force, or unlawfully enter any private property to take your vehicle. They also must avoid causing unnecessary damage to the car or any property while performing their duties.

Can a Repo Man Repossess Your Car While You’re Inside It?

As a general rule of thumb, repo agents are not legally permitted to tow any vehicle with someone inside. Their goal is to avoid conflict during the process rather than cause turmoil. However, they do not have the authority to forcibly remove someone from a car they are trying to repossess.

This may mean that they need to call local law enforcement for assistance to peacefully resolve the situation. In some states, involving the police is considered a breach of peace. It may not be safe for the repo agent to tow a vehicle with a person inside. There are better ways to stop a vehicle repossession than getting into your vehicle.

How to Stop a Repossession of Your Vehicle

In most states, simply stating that you do not give permission for them to take your vehicle may be enough to get the repo man to leave. You’ll be better off if you nip things in the bud before the creditor sends someone to retrieve your vehicle.

Ideally, you should contact your lender when you are struggling to make payments. Document every conversation with them as you work with them to find a solution that does not involve repossession.

You can try to ask for a loan modification, but this is not usually granted. You can also try to make the loan payments and associated fees. If that isn’t possible, you can also sell your vehicle privately or trade it at a dealership as long as you don’t owe more than it is worth. However, be advised that selling your vehicle is only a good option if you will get enough money to cover the payoff of the loan plus the fees.

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the laws specific to your state regarding repossession. You may also find it helpful to discuss your case with an attorney who specializes in repossessions and other consumer affairs. They will be able to provide you with sound legal advice that will help you find the best solution for your situation.

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