Repossession is when a creditor comes to your house and takes property from you. This repossessionhappens most often with cars and trucks. The vehicle is the security or collateral for the loan. If you fall behind in your payments or let the insurance lapse they will come and get the vehicle from your driveway or they may even take it from the parking lot while you are in church or at work. The repo man doesn’t get paid unless he comes back with your car so he may be watching and following you to see where the car is located.
There is no law that says you must be two payments behind, or three payments behind, before they can repossess your car. If your payment is due on the 5th, and you don’t pay it, then you are late and your vehicle can be repossessed. Most finance companies do have a company policy says they won’t repossess until you are several months behind, but each company is different. Read your contract to see if you have a grace period. Unless the contract states you get notice, you are not entitled to be notified before your car is taken.
Mississippi law allows self-help repossession. This means once you are behind on the payments, the creditor or the repo man can get the car at any time, day or night. They like pulling the car out of your driveway at two or three o’clock in the morning, while you are sleeping, so you can’t try to stop them. Repossession can also be done by court order. This method is usually used to repossess household goods and personal property, since they are not sitting out in the yard like your car.
Under the laws in Mississippi, anyone using self-help repossession cannot commit any type of breach of the peace while repossessing the vehicle. This is why they like to repossess in the middle of the night. If no one is around there won’t be a breach of the peace. A breach of the peace happens when the person doing the repossessing acts in a disorderly manner or destroys property. For instance, they can take your car out of your driveway, but they can’t open a closed or locked garage to get to it. They can take your car from the parking lot at church or work, but they can’t force you out of the car to do so.
Mississippi law says a creditor must to notify you in writing that the property will be sold and they must give you ten days to get it back before it is sold. This notice will give you the opportunity to get the property back by bringing the loan current. If you don’t bring the loan current within the time period the car will be sold at the auction.
If the vehicle is sold, the creditor will send you a letter demanding the balance of the money you still owe after the sale. This is called a deficiency. If you don’t pay the deficiency a lawsuit may be filed against you. If they file a lawsuit and win, or you fail to respond to the lawsuit, the court will give them a judgment against you for the deficiency amount, plus court costs and attorney fees. This judgment will be a lien against any land you own and it can be used to garnish your wages and any bank accounts listed in your name. Some money and property may be protected or exempt from garnishment and seizure, but make sure you speak with a lawyer about this so you know what protections apply to your particular circumstances.
The quickest way to get your vehicle back if it is repossessed is to pay the back notes. If you can’t do it that way, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can get you the vehicle back without paying the back notes, but you must act quickly.Bankruptcy can stop repossession.
Don’t wait until your property has been repossessed to try to figure out how to deal with your financial issues. If you are behind on debt that is secured by property (car, truck, boat, other property, etc), filing bankruptcy can stop the repossession of your property, placing you and your property under the protection of the court.