While it can be difficult to obtain an exact figure on how many car repossessions occur each year in the United States, according to Bloomberg, it is estimated that there were 1.2 million repos in 2022—up more than five percent from 2021. If you are having trouble making your car payments the very first thing you should do is contact your lender before you end up behind several payments. Many lenders will work with you if you can convince them your financial issue is temporary and that you will be able to pay soon. Your lender might be able to negotiate a delay in payments or a revised payment schedule.
If you are the victim of a natural disaster, your lender could agree to defer your payments for a specified period of time. If you are unable to reach an agreement, it is definitely time to speak to a knowledgeable Centerville car repossession attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz. We will take a comprehensive look at your situation, and then work to come up with the best solution possible—hopefully one that will allow you to keep your car.
You depend on your car. It gets you to work and the grocery store. It gets your kids to school. It gives you the freedom to go anywhere, at any time. When you’ve fallen behind on your car payments or you’re struggling with other debts, you’re likely worried that you will lose your car. Without it, how will you get where you need to go? At Horwitz & Horwitz, LLC, we understand that you need your car. We can help you slow down the process, work with your creditors, and perhaps even keep your car permanently. Contact a Centerville car repossession attorney from our team today.
Overview of the Process of Car Repossession in Ohio
Timing is everything in an Ohio car repossession because the process tends to happen quickly. Under certain circumstances, Ohio law allows lenders to resell a vehicle in as little as ten days from the date of the repossession. Once your vehicle has been sold, your options become very limited. For this reason, it is important that you speak to an experienced Centerville car repossession attorney early on, so that you are able to keep your car.
A lender can sell your repossessed vehicle as a means of paying off your loan once you have missed a payment. Ohio’s auto repossession law gives lenders the right to repossess vehicles even when a payment is one day late. Your specific loan contract may give you more leeway and should clearly outline the actions your lender can take once you fail to make a specified number of payments. It is important to note that a lender can only repossess your car if you signed an agreement explicitly stating that your vehicle is the collateral for the loan (which is the most common type of auto loan terms). Repossession agents may not:
- Enter your home
- Use any level of force or violence to repossess your vehicle
- Deceive you into bringing your vehicle to a repo site by telling you that you are bringing it in for repairs or maintenance
- Open a closed garage door
A repossession agent does not have to notify you prior to showing up to get your vehicle, however, your lender does have to inform you of your right to retrieve your vehicle if you pay your outstanding balance prior to the auction date.
Ways You Can Potentially Avoid Centerville Car Repossession
Filing bankruptcy may be a viable way to avoid car repossession in the state of Ohio, assuming bankruptcy is a good option for you in other ways as well. If you choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it will usually not be possible for creditors to collect on your car loan—or other loans—thanks to the automatic stay order. As long as you remain in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your car cannot be repossessed unless the lender files a motion in which the court is asked to lift the automatic stay. This usually only occurs when the lender will lose money if you don’t pay your loan payment, or when the lender has a lien that allows them to repossess your car.
You can potentially stop a request to lift the automatic stay that Chapter 7 bankruptcy affords you by providing proof of payment or by demonstrating that you have enough equity in your vehicle to protect the lender from loss. If you plan on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and can do so, make sure you are caught up on your car payments before you file, and continue making your car payments regularly, both during your Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings and afterward. Occasionally, during Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to “cure the default” and pay what you owe on your car after you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, however, this is rare. You may also be able to buy back your car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy for fair market value, however, a motion must be filed with the court, and you have to make the payment in full.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy will generally allow you to keep your car. If you are behind on car payments, the amount you are behind can be made up through your Chapter 13 plan. If you happen to owe more than your car is worth, you may even be able to reduce the value of your loan to the current replacement value of your vehicle through a “cramdown.” If you own a vehicle that is worth less than what you owe on it, this is a method of reducing the balance and interest rate. If you are leasing your vehicle when you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can either reject the lease and return the car or continue with your regular lease payments. Stopping car repossession can be very stressful. Having a Horwitz & Horwitz attorney by your side throughout the process can significantly alleviate the stress associated with an Ohio car repossession.
What Are Your Rights Regarding Car Repossession?
Under Ohio repossession laws, your lender is legally obligated to notify you by mail stating that you have the right to retrieve your vehicle once you have satisfied all outstanding payments. The notice will also state that you must do so prior to your vehicle being sold at auction, which rarely leaves you much time for action. Anything inside your car is considered your personal property—while the lender can sell your car, they cannot sell your personal property and must return the items to you. The repossession agent is not allowed to damage your vehicle in any way while repossessing it either.
What You Should Do If You’re Facing Repossession:
There are some things you can do to help your situation when you know it’s inevitable that a creditor will try to repossess your car:
- Empty the car: The collections person will almost never return valuable items from the inside of a car during a vehicle repossession. Make sure the car is empty of valuables so that you don’t have to fight for their return later.
- Get a receipt if they have repossessed the car: It is always important to keep good records of what happens throughout the process.
- Call a Centerville car repossession attorney immediately: No matter where you are in the process, a Centerville repossession attorney can help protect you from repossession, or at the very least help make the process safer and more civilized for you and your family. We can work with the creditor to arrange for you to return the car at your convenience rather than having someone repossess it from your home or place of employment.
Contact A Centerville Car Repossession Attorney Near You
Filing for bankruptcy can temporarily stop the repossession and sale of your car. Contact Us today to learn your options from an experienced Centerville car repossession attorney. If bankruptcy is right for you, we’ll walk you through the process from start to finish, working to minimize the pain and stress.
While we primarily work with Centerville clients, we also serve those in Springboro, Beavercreek, Miamisburg, and Kettering. When you need a Centerville car repossession attorney, choose a law firm that is highly respected in the industry. Horwitz and Horwitz was founded by attorneys Jonathan Horwitz and Barbara Horwitz in 2009.
With more than 53 years of combined legal experience, we focus exclusively on criminal and juvenile law and bankruptcy. By narrowing our focus, you are assured of an attorney who has the necessary experience, knowledge, and skills necessary to stop your car repossession. Call Horwitz & Horwitz today to set up a no-obligation meeting.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.