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Thread: Repo Guys

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    Repo Guys

    I was reading through a thread the other day on whether or not Repo guys will take the heat for illegal stuff found in the car of the one they're repossessing but I have another question...

    Based on various state laws that you officers are privy to, what is the law on repo companies coming onto your property? Would it be considered trespassing and would a property owner be justified in telling the repo guys to leave and if so what methods are available to them? Could the police be called, etc.. and who be in the right in a situation like that? Also, if it were me as the repo guy I would be a little hesitant to just march onto someones property for fear of some kind of violence against me with the chance that the property owners actions would be justified. Thanks in advance for any responses!

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    Repo's are civil matters, and are treated as such by law enforcement. If you're late on your payments, if your car is parked in your driveway, in most states the repo guy can hook your car up. If it's parked on the street, it's especially fair game. Were you to park your car in a locked garage or other enclosure, there could be a question of whether or not the repo guy could hook up to your car. Keep in mind though, that sooner or later, you're going to move the car. If you haven't kept your payments up, the repo guy WILL get your car.

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    The car doesn't really belong to you until it is paid for in full. Different states handle the repossessions differently. I met a repo guy back in the 1970s or 1980s. He would go and knock on the door and ask for the keys. He was nice and polite and if you said "No." he would politely inform you that sooner or later he would get the vehicle and he really didn't want you to be inconvenienced when you came out of the grocery store and your car was gone. He said it worked more times than not.
    Ut humiliter opinor

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    Ah yes didn't think about that (car doesn't belong to you until paid for in full). Thanks for the clarification guys I appreciate it.

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    Repo Guys

    I actually was the Repo Guy until the end of 2010 when I retired. I was a Deputy Sheriff and we didn't call them repossessions when it got to my desk, but instead I was enforcing a Replevin Order. Most cops have never heard of replevins, unless they are deputy sheriffs. I know I never learned about them when I went to regular cop school. It wasn't until I got into Civil Process that I learned about them.

    Anyway, when it gets to that point, I would suggest that people comply and give up the vehicle as they agreed to when they signed a loan agreement for the vehicle. Otherwise, it is quite possible that a deputy will end up with a Replevin Order. While I certainly can't speak for other states or any particular order, in my case in Minnesota the Replevin Order usually included some very specific language ".....the Sheriff is authorized to use the full force of the county to enforce this order....." If I didn't have that language, and sometimes it was omitted inadvertently, I would contact the plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel. Anyway, when it does have that language we ".....break a window or door....." or however the order usually reads to enforce the order. It doesn't even matter if the vehicle is located elsewhere in the state, since the order is enforceable statewide.

    I have done many of those over the years. Sometimes I have had to use a locksmith in order to gain entry. Needless to say, this is all at the expense of the moving party, not the Sheriff's Office. Fortunately, I knew pretty much all of the apartment mangers from doing evictions for them, so if the vehicle was likely to be at an apartment, it made it pretty easy for me. They would tell me where and when I would have my best opportunity to grab the vehicle.

    Sometimes people liked to play games and not answer the door when the vehicle was locked up in the garage nearby. That, of course, wasn't a problem. Since I was in civilian clothing, I would simply have one of the PD guys or gals come meet me along with a locksmith. Usually, once the tow truck backs up the driveway and they realize you are taking the vehicle no matter what, they often would come out begging to get personal property out of the vehicle before hooking it!

    What was even more fun is when the irresponsible vehicle owner had active warrants for his arrest. I absolutely loved taking the car to "car jail" and the owner to "regular jail" at the same time. I did find that there is often a pattern in civil process. Usually if deputies are enforcing a replevin, it meant that they were playing games with the repo man before we got it. And the people that play games often were irresponsible in other ways, as well. It could be that they had warrants, it could be suspended/revoked/cancelled drivers license, or it could be something else. Ironically, the ones that can't afford to pay the car loan, are the same ones that come out of their home smoking a cigarette, drinking a beer, talking smart to somebody on their iPhone and tell you how short they are on cash.

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    The way I remember it is a repo man can go any where on your property a meter reader for the electric or gas company can. They can't go around or through locked gates. Front of the house is fair game. easy way to avoid the repo man is pay your bill.
    I'd rather be judged by 12 rather carried by 6.

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    Wow I didn't think that they had that much "freedom" so to speak. That's interesting. So it's basically not the way it is on TV where an angry trailer owner comes out wielding a 12 gauge...haha. Thanks guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr crowley View Post
    Wow I didn't think that they had that much "freedom" so to speak. That's interesting. So it's basically not the way it is on TV where an angry trailer owner comes out wielding a 12 gauge...haha. Thanks guys.
    Cautionary note. About 99% of what you see on so-called "Reality Shows" is total crap. Entertaining? For sure, but crap none the less.

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    Sidebar: In Alabama, most of the repo guys dont' even apply for an Order of Replevin, nor does the bank or finance company. In the rare event that they do, it simply adds to the cost of their doing business. It also adds to their determination to snatch the car, and they will. Trust me. Most of our repo guys work nights for all the obvious reasons. Stationed in Montgomery, I spent many years working 22:00-0:600 . It was a rare week when I failed to see a vehicle hooked up to the rear of a usually unmarked wrecker. Make your car payments on time, and that stuff doesn't happen. Also, for your added amusement: In the City of Montgomery, it's rather common for Repo-Guy to call the Montgomery PD, and advise them they're going to take a vehicle. When the "owner" calls to report his vehicle stolen, he is advised that it was not stolen, but repo'd. Great way to start your day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr crowley View Post
    Wow I didn't think that they had that much "freedom" so to speak. That's interesting. So it's basically not the way it is on TV where an angry trailer owner comes out wielding a 12 gauge...haha. Thanks guys.
    Just so you know that repo show...can't remember the stupid azz name for it is completely staged...while stuff like that does happen most repo's....at least here in Phoenix happen in the middle of the night to avoid any type of confrontation.

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    Another side bar: In the early nineties, I was assigned to the Governor's Mansion, which is in an older section of Montgomery.
    About 0200, Repo-Guy hooks up to a BMW parked in driveway across the street. About 05:30 the "owner" walks out, notices his ride is missing. Instead of calling MPD, he comes running across the street, arms flailing, screaming that his car has been stolen. My partner, doing his best to supress an ever widening grin, informs the gentleman that his car was NOT stolen, but reposessed.
    That was worth going to work that night. I finally asked the gentleman if he had missed a payment. He said he had missed two. Very entertaining morning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipCal View Post
    Another side bar: In the early nineties, I was assigned to the Governor's Mansion, which is in an older section of Montgomery.
    About 0200, Repo-Guy hooks up to a BMW parked in driveway across the street. About 05:30 the "owner" walks out, notices his ride is missing. Instead of calling MPD, he comes running across the street, arms flailing, screaming that his car has been stolen. My partner, doing his best to supress an ever widening grin, informs the gentleman that his car was NOT stolen, but reposessed.
    That was worth going to work that night. I finally asked the gentleman if he had missed a payment. He said he had missed two. Very entertaining morning.

    Phil that's classic....your partner should have told him at first that he watched the car being taken just to get the guy more worked up before telling him it was repo'd LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr crowley View Post
    Wow I didn't think that they had that much "freedom" so to speak. That's interesting. So it's basically not the way it is on TV where an angry trailer owner comes out wielding a 12 gauge...haha. Thanks guys.
    Back in the 70's and early 80's we would be dispatched to stand by while the repo man took the car from alleys or backyards. There were times shots would be fired at the repo truck, or us.

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    Car is fair game on the street, parking lots, here in Ill. Can't break into an enclosed structure (garage) to grab the car. The problem here is that most of these repo guys here are one step away from an arrest. They do crap like grab two for the company and one for me (and off to cousin's chop shop). There was one guy years ago that had an official Police-looking star made that said "State of Illinois Auto Repossession Unit." He flashed that a lot and people would open garages for him, tell him where they parked the car (over 2 blocks, behind the liquor store, etc). He went to prison a long time ago..

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipCal View Post
    Sidebar: In Alabama, most of the repo guys dont' even apply for an Order of Replevin, nor does the bank or finance company.
    Same here. We occasionally get called by the repo men when their operation goes south. We show up and ask to see the order. They get blank stares and say they don't have one. We tell them to have a nice day and leave. The look on their face is priceless.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotSoup View Post
    Phil that's classic....your partner should have told him at first that he watched the car being taken just to get the guy more worked up before telling him it was repo'd LOL
    Yeah, that WAS classic. And, you're right. It would have even more classic had my partner said that. But ya know, I really believe that thought went through the "victim's" mind at some point or another. Some nights it's really great to go to work. That was one of them.

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    So basically if a company comes onto your property and some idiot would come out wielding a firearm and would shoot at the repo man who was on that person's property then that property owner would be in deep s*&t? Or would that vary depending on state laws and the so called "Castle Laws"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipCal View Post
    In the City of Montgomery, it's rather common for Repo-Guy to call the Montgomery PD, and advise them they're going to take a vehicle. When the "owner" calls to report his vehicle stolen, he is advised that it was not stolen, but repo'd. Great way to start your day.
    In Dallas it's required to notify the city within one hour if you are towing anything within city limits. Prevents a lot of stolen vehicle reports.

    In Texas, I believe the repo man can go anywhere that's generally open to the public. Can't jump fences or go inside buildings for example. Like others have stated, rarely do repo men bother to get court orders to repossess vehicles because it adds to the cost of doing business. As a result they tend to work in the hours of darkness and generally attempt to avoid involvement by law enforcement. The law is pretty clear that if they are confronted by the owner while still on private property, they are not allowed to tow. They tend to quickly hook up to the vehicles and then drive a couple blocks away to hook up all the tow chains.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr crowley View Post
    So basically if a company comes onto your property and some idiot would come out wielding a firearm and would shoot at the repo man who was on that person's property then that property owner would be in deep s*&t? Or would that vary depending on state laws and the so called "Castle Laws"?
    "Castle Doctrine" has ZERO applicability in that situation. You're absolutely correct. Property owner IS in deep duu-duu. Has a pretty good shot at the state providing him with "three hots and a cot" for several years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nefto View Post
    In Dallas it's required to notify the city within one hour if you are towing anything within city limits. Prevents a lot of stolen vehicle reports.

    In Texas, I believe the repo man can go anywhere that's generally open to the public. Can't jump fences or go inside buildings for example. Like others have stated, rarely do repo men bother to get court orders to repossess vehicles because it adds to the cost of doing business. As a result they tend to work in the hours of darkness and generally attempt to avoid involvement by law enforcement. The law is pretty clear that if they are confronted by the owner while still on private property, they are not allowed to tow. They tend to quickly hook up to the vehicles and then drive a couple blocks away to hook up all the tow chains.
    OK. another story from the "archives". Get home from work one morning,it's shortly after 6:00 AM. We had (have) take home patrol cars, so it's pretty obvious who I am. REPO-Guy has just hooked up to a neighbor's ride. He sees me, I see him, wave and go into the house. Box score: REPO GUY- 1. LATE WITH PAYMENT GUY- 0. Now, I know you're gonna ask, did the neighbor come running down to my house screaming his car had been stolen? Nope. I've been retired almost six years now, so that was about eight years ago. Guy is still my neighbor, we still wave. He's driving a different car now, and I assume the payments are current.

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    Nice. Thanks for the replies guys I learn a lot of s&*t on this site.

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    Repossessions are pretty open and close. Try having your car towed for not having a visible town sticker by the HOA. That one will get your blood boiling a bit. This happened to my wife, out of the driveway - and it did have a town sticker. After much research, the city cops determined that the cul-de-sac I live on was owned and maintained by the accursed HOA, and I had no recourse. Talk about a stepford mafia. Lord.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipCal View Post
    Were you to park your car in a locked garage or other enclosure, there could be a question of whether or not the repo guy could hook up to your car.
    Not where I'm from. No one has the right to break and enter private property, repo or not. If it's in a garage or some other enclosed structure where the only way to get it out is to trespass the property and enter a structure, it's not just trespassing, it's breaking and entering.

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    Last edited by Blueironfist; 09-10-2013 at 07:12 PM.

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    Wow.... Yeah... repo's are civil.... but, unless the repo guy is hooking it on the street, or from an open drive, or other place "reasonably" considered public.... to hell with them. unless they have an order signed by a judge, they have no LEGAL right to take anything.... ( NO... I have never had a car repo'd). I as a cop, cant take somones property without a legal justification. and THAT is spelled out in State and Federal code. if the guy gets away with hooking the car from your driveway. he can take it as far as I care. But he trys and gets stopped? "Without privledge to do so, enter, or remain on the property of another...etc...etc...". I have been asked time and time again to help with a repo..... guy calls in, ask us to stand by while he asks for the car...... not a chance.... they guys most often go up and tell the guy.."Give me the car, or the cops will arrest you for stealing it".. yeah.. I have heard it more than a few times.... I also have personally seen the repo guys "Lend" the car to whichever Dancer they are dating at the time.....yeah.. I know there might be other reasons somone else is driving it.. I do not make that comment without knowing that it was true in the cases Im talking about..... not every repo guy is like that... but the long term ones?

    me? im not going to stop the repo guy from taking the car unless he starts commiting crimes to get it..... he drives a vehicle into somones back yard? damaging property, breaking into somones garage, hooking one car in the drive to move it to get to the one he wants? sorry... he gets cited, arrested as the crime dictates... oh.. and I have one guy do just that..... he pulled up into a back yard... ruts all the way.... hooked one car...moved it 20 ft to get to the other car..... all he had was a note with an address and a plate on it......... the home owner? he called us.... showed us a court order from (Our) county Judge, demanding that ALL property (the car was listed) be held in place until the end of a hearing set a week later....... seems the finance company decided to "Change" the terms of his loan after the fact....... and in the end? He kept his car.... and got a refund...something to do with improper penaltys and charges... car had been paid off months prior to the bank trying to get it back.

    in the end? they are on their own...but they also get treated as ANYONE else would taking somones property.

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