When you get behind on your auto loan payments, it may be just a matter of time before your lender decides to take the vehicle away from you. It may assume that you cannot pay off the loan in due time and that it needs to sell the vehicle to recover the funds that you owe to it.
However, even if you are behind on payments and told that your vehicle is going to be repossessed, you still have rights as the loan holder. These legal rights are designed to protect and keep you fully informed as a consumer during a car repossession.
Depending on what state that you live in, you must be given sufficient notice of the lender's intent to carry out a car repossession against your vehicle. Some states require that notice be given at least 30 days in advance. Other places may allow for a more generous warning and tell lenders to notify you 60 to 90 days before a car repossession.
With that, a lender cannot execute a car repossession without first notifying you in writing about it. You may even receive phone calls from your lender warning you that your car is about to be repossessed and that you need to get caught up on payments before you lose your vehicle.
Notice of Auction
After a car repossession, the lender must notify you if it intends to sell your vehicle at auction. It may have to wait for a certain number of days after a car repossession before auctioning off your vehicle. This time period is designed to allow you to get caught up on the back payments or make new payment arrangements and reclaim possession of the vehicle.
After the lender auctions off the vehicle, it also is legally required to notify you of any remaining balance on the vehicle loan. You must still pay off the balance of that loan, even if you no longer have the car in your possession.
Finally, before the car repossession takes place, you may be legally entitled to retrieve personal items from inside the vehicle. You must be allowed time to remove those items before the car is towed.
You still have rights as a borrower during a car repossession. You must be given written notification of the repossession. You also must be told of outstanding loan balances and allowed to retrieve personal items.