What is a repossession?

When you bought the vehicle you got a loan. The security for the loan is the vehicle. Under the contract if there is a default in the payments the lender has the right to take possession of the vehicle.

If the lender shows that the payments have not been made, either because the consumer has missed one or more payments, or because of the lender 's own bad records, they may take the vehicle. This is a repossession.

The vehicle can be taken without any notice at all. However, it is illegal to breach the peace in the repossession of a vehicle. The tow truck driver cannot break into your garage to get the vehicle. If it is in a carport or in the driveway they can enter the property to take it. The practical reality is that repossession companies routinely go into garages. If there was any doubt about it, there is a California case that states directly that it is illegal to break into a person's garage to repossess the vehicle. The finance company, whether it is a small regional company or the nations largest bank, has an obligation to see that the repossession is done legally. If it is is done illegally they may be liable for the damages that result, including the taking of the vehicle itself.

The Automobile Sales Finance Act...

...requires the Finance Company to do the repossession legally. If you have received a letter from your Finance Company after a repossession, fax it to us at 858/270-7710 or you can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., along with your phone number, and we will review it at no charge. Or contact us here with your repossession questions.

San Diego Lemon Law Center | The Law Office of Michael E. Lindsey
Tel: (858) 270-7000 Fax: (858) 270-7710 | 4455 Morena Blvd., Ste. 207 San Diego, CA, 92117 (see map)

General Information Only

The information in the San Diego Lemon Law Center pages is for general information only and is not intended to be taken as legal advice. If you have a specific legal question or problem, please feel free to contact us or you should promptly consult with an Attorney handling such matters in your area for advice.