How To Find Out If Your Car Was Repossessed?

Last Updated on January 9, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

There are quite a few ways you can find out if your car was repossessed. For example, you should contact the lender to find out if your car has been repossessed. You should also look for a notice on your car. You can also contact local tow companies to find out whether your car was repossessed.

Key Takeaways

  • If you have an unpaid debt to your lender then the chances are high that the lender might process your car
  • If the car is in a public place then it is not mandatory for the owner to be present for a vehicle to be repossessed
  • Many lenders leave a notice on your car when they repossess it
  • The lender can repossess a car at any time, without any notice

Main Tips To Know If A Car Was Repossessed

Unpaid Debts
For a car to be repossessed, a person must have an unpaid debt to their lender
The Presence Of The Owner Is Not NecessaryThe owner of the vehicle must not be present for a vehicle to be repossessed while the car is in a public place
Seizure Within A Private PlaceIf the car is in a private place, such as a garage, permission from the owner is required to enter the place
Authorized Persons Required Seizure agents must be authorized by the government and have a valid license
Habilitation To Rehabilitate The SeizureThe authorization of the seizure is established with a breach of the contract between the owner and the lender

Can A Car Be Repossessed Without Notice?

A lot of homeowners who drive in California have questions about what the procedure looks like when a vehicle should be repossessed. Many people already know that non-payment of a loan is the primary reason for choosing to repossess a new vehicle. Sometimes the vehicle may even be repossessed or not.

1. Possibility To Repossess The Vehicle

Today the vast majority of new vehicle sales require some form of loan to be made. They are only a minority of people who have all the money to avoid accessing a loan. Also, many people feel that it makes no difference if they are a few days late in making their loan payments.

So, here people are confident when they don’t receive any kind of notice or notification. Beyond that, lenders can repossess your vehicle without notice to the driver. Even this is what California law requires, so lenders have no qualms about taking these types of actions.

The moment there is a breach of contract then the lender is free to act. So, this means that only one breach of any of the terms is required for the car to be repossessed. So, if a person needs to know if their car was repossessed, they should consider the terms of the contract.

If there is a breach of contract, then the possibility of repossession is possible. This can include an insurance expiration date as well as the failure to make a payment.

Of course, it is always highly recommended to read a contract completely before agreeing to a lender. Otherwise, it will be very easy to fall into some kind of default due to ignorance of the terms of the contract.

2. People Who Can Repossess The Vehicle

In this case, some exact persons have the possibility of seizing a vehicle with some breach of contract. A vehicle may be repossessed by a registered repossession agency or an auto finance company. Each of these entities is authorized by California law to pursue car repossession.

Of course, you must have a certain license authorizing these entities to repossess the vehicle. Otherwise, it is simply illegal when one of the persons seizing the vehicle is not authorized. To do so, you must have a license or registration. The company must register with the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

So, people who have gone through the Bureau of Safety and Investigative Services can only repossess the vehicles. Before a vehicle can be turned over to an agent, the owner must apply for a license.

This license must be expressly granted by the California Office of Law Enforcement and Investigative Services. In the absence of a license, the officer simply cannot take the vehicle. 

3. Time And Place Of Impounding

In principle, it is necessary to consider that a California recovery agent cannot take any type of action to repossess a vehicle. Here, the owner’s permission is required to enter certain locations or facilities. Thus, if it is a closed road, a locked or secured area, a garage, or a private building, the agent must request access to the owner in any way.

On the other hand, a vehicle can be perfectly seized if it is in an area of free access. Therefore, we can include parking lots, streets, driveways, and any other public access area that does not require the owner’s permission. Whether it is day or night, agents can seize the vehicle. 

Of course, the owner of the vehicle does not need to be present at the time of the car repossession. So, many people who leave a vehicle on the street for a few hours may find themselves without the vehicle later. Also, this way, the owner does not have the opportunity to meet the California recovery people and apply for a license.

There is also the possibility of avoiding car repossession if you are present. In this case, it is simply necessary to pay the balance due. Of course, this is not a possibility for everyone. Many people do not have this possibility as otherwise, they would not have fallen behind in their payments in the first place.

If the homeowner decides to pay the balance due, he or she should receive a detailed receipt with all the concepts of the debt. In turn, the same repossession agent must forward the payment to the appropriate lenders. This way, the debt will be paid off, the lenders will have their money, and the owner can keep the vehicle.

4. Procedure After The Seizure Of The Vehicle

After a vehicle is repossessed there are some important times for the owner. It is highly useful to know in the shortest time possible when a vehicle has been repossessed. Once the vehicle has been repossessed, then the recovery agency only has 48 hours to notify the owner about what happened to the vehicle.

Here, California law states that a repossession notice must be given with the contact information and name of the recovery agency and the owner. A certain list of personal property is also established at the time a personal property inventory is made. There may be some of the owner’s personal property inside the vehicle when it has been repossessed.

Besides, this inventory also includes the number of storage fees and information necessary to recover the property. All of these owner’s items are only stored for 60 days. Only during this time does the owner have the ability to recover his or her personal property. Once these 60 days are up, the personal property is simply discarded.

Here, we should mention that the various accessories installed in the vehicle will directly become part of the car. Some common causes of them are personalized tires or a high-level audio system.

To recover these additional accessories, the owner and the lender must negotiate directly. When there is no negotiation, the lender keeps the vehicle and these accessories.

5. Selling A Car Once It Is Repossessed

When a vehicle is repossessed, it can be put back on sale. However, a certain procedure is required by the lender to make the sale. Here, California law states that written notice must be given to the former owner. This, in turn, must be delivered by certified or first-class mail, or in person.

This written notice should simply clarify the lender’s intentions to sell the vehicle. This written notice must also be 15 days in advance and may be used by the owner. To effectively conduct the sale, the notice of intent to sell must be given within the first 60 days after the repossession.

When the homeowner reviews the notice of intent to sell, the homeowner can request a 10-day delay in the sale. So, the homeowner can ask the lender to wait a few more days. Some people use this right so that they can have all the money they need. Therefore, it is one of the last chances to get the vehicle back.

What Happens After The Sale Of A Repossessed Vehicle?

Of course, the lender may be able to get more money from the sale compared to the previous owner’s debt. However, this is a situation that does not occur very often. In this case, the lender must return any money that is surplus to the owner’s debt.

To repay this amount of money, the lender only has 45 days as required by California law. Conversely, the sale of the repossessed vehicle may not cover all of the previous owner’s debt. In these cases, the deficiency balance must be taken into account for the former owner to take over.

For the former owner to pay off the deficiency, the lender must file a lawsuit. So, this lawsuit must be delivered to the former owner. This is an excellent opportunity for some homeowners to fight in court and avoid paying off the deficiency. In short, it’s a good way to save yourself some money from a debt.