If you miss a payment on your car a creditor may take it back without going to court If you miss a payment on your car a creditor may take it back without going to court or warning you in advance. However, the creditor has to follow the law when repossessing the vehicle and can’t breach the peace. Keep watching to learn about a few other rights you may have. Welcome to our Webcast about the Basics of Auto Repossession in Washington State, produced by the Northwest Justice
Project. If you miss a lease or loan payment on your car, the creditor may pay someone to tow your car. A creditor can seize your car without any prior notice and they can come onto your property to tow it. They can tow the car from your driveway, as long as they do not move any other car, They can tow the car from your driveway, as long as they do not move any other car, or open your garage. It’s also illegal to commit a “breach of the peace” when repossessing a vehicle. That means they can’t legally threaten you with bodily harm, or open a locked gate. That means they can’t legally threaten you with bodily harm, or open a locked gate. But what if they do anyway? You may be able to sue the creditor to compensate you for harm done to you or your property. You may also have a defense if your creditor sues you later to try to get more money from you You may also have a defense if your creditor sues you later to try to get more money from you (after they re-sell the car).
Great. But the car’s still gone! And I had my backpack in there! Can they just take my stuff that’s in the car! The creditor does not have a right to keep or sell any of your personal property that’s in the car, and they also must use reasonable care to prevent any of your personal property that’s in the car, and they also must use reasonable care to prevent other people from removing the stuff, like in the tow yard. You should immediately make a written demand to have any personal property in the vehicle returned to you. You should immediately make a written demand to have any personal property in the vehicle returned to you. You should immediately make a written demand to have any personal property in the vehicle returned to you. So, what happens next, though? Can I get the car back? It’s likely that the creditor will try to sell the car, often for less than what it’s worth. If the amount they sell it for is less than what you owe on the auto loan, they may try to sue you to recover the debt. They may even add on the cost of the tow truck driver, they may try to sue you to recover the debt. They may even add on the cost of the tow truck driver, cleaning it up for the sale and the legal costs of suing you! This is no good! I was just going to make a payment on the car (even though I know I was a little late). Well, after it’s repossessed you may be able to renegotiate with the creditor, (even though I know I was a little late). Well, after it’s repossessed you may be able to renegotiate with the creditor, but it’s likely that they will just proceed with the sale. They’re supposed to give you a notice about where and when they’ll try to sell the car, and also tell you how much you will have to pay to get the car back. The cost of getting the car back (called “redeeming” the car) may include the cost of the tow truck The cost of getting the car back (called “redeeming” the car) may include the cost of the tow truck and other legal fees. I’m worried I might miss a payment. Is there anything I can do to keep my car so I can keep looking for work? Well, if you don’t think you’ll be able to keep up with all your auto loan payments, Well, if you don’t think you’ll be able to keep up with all your auto loan payments, you can try a few options. You may try to sell the car yourself. Find out how much it’s worth and if it’s worth more than you owe, , sell it off to pay off the loan. You may be able to negotiate with the creditor. Explain what is happening, and propose a new payment plan. You may ask for a lower interest rate or longer loan term so the monthly payments are lower. If you and the creditor agree on a new plan, be sure and get it in writing!
Okay, where can I find out more about what to do? For more free information on debt collection and other legal issues, including interactive forms and sample letters, visit www.WashingtonLawHelp.com. If you are low-income, you may qualify for legal help from the Northwest Justice Project. Call the CLEAR hotline at 1-888-201-1014. Call the CLEAR hotline at 1-888-201-1014. Click here to watch another video on
another topic, or just keep watching to learn more about debt, collections and the law in Washington State! or just keep watching to learn more about debt, collections and the law in Washington State! This video was made in January 2014. The laws may have changed since that time. This video provides general information only. The laws may have changed since that time. This video provides general information only. Your unique situation may be very different than those shown in this video. This video does is not a substitute for talking to a lawyer about your particular situation. This video does not create an attorney client relationship and it cannot predict nor guarantee an outcome in any legal proceeding. and it cannot predict nor guarantee an outcome in any legal proceeding.