Car Repossessions: What You Need to Know about Repossession


Every day the nation’s repo men take to the streets to repossess cars on behalf of banks and specialist lenders. And, unfortunately, the number of repossessions is only going up. According to an NBC news report released during the summer of 2014, repossessions had jumped more than 70% in the second quarter of that year as compared to the previous quarter. In the first quarter 2015, they were up again by nearly 17%.

With 35% of all U.S. adults facing account collection, the chances of having a car repossessed are only going up. That is something the average worker cannot afford. Your car is important to virtually everything you do, including your work. Without your car, you may not be able to continue earning a living, making your debt problems even worse.

You need to know that the state of Illinois has very specific rules in place designed to protect both lenders and car owners. If you are falling behind on your car payments, then the first thing to do is contact your lender and see if you can work out new arrangements. The second thing to do is to find out what the law says. The law is your best protection against unscrupulous lenders who may try to take advantage of you.

Five Key Points to Note

Car repossessions are an unfortunate reality in an era when the vast majority of car owners either take out loans to purchase their vehicles or enter lease agreements. There are five key points to note if you have financed a vehicle purchase on which you still owe:

  • Collateral – The car you purchased acts as collateral for the amount you borrowed. As such, the car can be repossessed by your lender should you fail to make your loan payments on time. Your lender can sell your car and apply the amount received to your loan; you will still be responsible for paying the balance.
  • Notice – Upon repossessing your car, the lender must furnish you with a Notice of Redemption. This notice explains whether or not the car will be sold, as well as informing you that you have the legal right to buy back your car. A Notice of Redemption must contain specific information in order to be valid under the law.
  • Buy Back – You have the legal right to buy back your car by completely satisfying your debt (including the loan and any associated repossession and storage fees) or bringing your account current by making all missed payments and paying for associated repossession storage fees. The two options are applied according to the outstanding balance of your loan.
  • Repo Obligations – The contractor hired by your lender to take your vehicle has certain legal obligations. The repo man cannot take the car if you verbally protest at the time of repossession, and he cannot break into a locked garage or destroy any personal property in the process of taking the car.
  • Genuine Default – A creditor cannot repossess your car unless you are in genuine default. However, there is a gray area involved. If your creditor regularly accepted late payments from you without protestation, they must inform you in writing should they no longer choose to accept such payments. Without that notice, you may not technically be in default under the law.

Please contact our law offices to avoid possible repossession of your car. We may be able to help you find a solution that lets you keep your car and satisfy your lender.

Convenient Locations

In order to provide convenience for clients throughout Chicago and Northern Illinois, we have offices in the following locations: 

Chicago • Schaumburg  • Oakbrook • St. Charles • Naperville • And More


We have office locations throughout the Chicago Area:

Chicago (Downtown)


Oak Brook


All calls are routed through our Downtown office for your convenience.

Phone: 312-967-3159

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