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Repossession in California

Is repossession in California legal? Under certain circumstances, yes, a seller can repossess a vehicle. If someone agrees to accept a loan to purchase a car, the borrower usually signs a contract. The contract states the terms and conditions for granting the loan, and the borrower agrees to abide by those terms and conditions. If the borrower fails to do so, the contract may state that the lender has the right to seize the property.

Why Would a Vehicle Be Repossessed?

In one instance, if a borrower agrees to make monthly payments of a pre- determined amount but defaults on the loan, the lender may repossess the vehicle. However, the repossession agency employee must have a Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) identification card in his or her possession at the time. The lender may send someone other than a repossession agency to collect the vehicle, and this person will not be licensed by the BSIS. If the person repossessing the vehicle does have a BSIS identification card, the borrower can call the Department of Consumer Affairs or BSIS to verify that the employee is legally able to seize a car.

How Can Sellers Seize Automobiles?

If the vehicles are parked on the street, sellers may seize them. However, they may not break into an enclosed garage to do so. They must have permission to enter an area that is fenced in or has a lock. If employees of a repossessing agency do break a lock or enter the grounds without permission, they have broken California laws.

If borrowers are present when their vehicles are being repossessed, they must not interfere with the people seizing the vehicle. This action may open them up to criminal charges. However, they do have legal steps that they can take to have their vehicles returned to them.

What If the Borrower Doesn’t Know That the Vehicle Was Repossessed?

In some cases, the borrower is unaware that the vehicle has been repossessed. The entity that seizes the automobile has the duty to notify the borrower that this has occurred within 48 hours. If it happens on a weekend or a holiday, the agency has an extra 24 hours to inform the borrower. The repossessing agency also has the duty to notify the police that the car has been repossessed within 60 minutes of seizing it.

How Can People Have Their Vehicles Returned to Them?

Once their vehicles are in another person’s possession, borrowers can learn what they must do to regain possession of them and reinstate their contracts by contacting their lenders. This may require that they pay fees and penalties. They will also need to purchase a redemption release from the police department. After the lenders have been satisfied, they will present borrowers with a document indicating that they may take their vehicles.

How can Premier Legal Center help you?

The process does not necessarily run as smoothly as was described above. If there are other issues that need to be addressed, borrowers may contact Premier Legal Center for help. Premier Legal Center empowers consumers and is there to help those who believe that their rights have been violated by a seller or a lender.

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