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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    3

    Default Is a Private Party Repo Legal

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: WA/AZ

    I personally paid cash for a car for a friend. Verbally agreed they would make payments on the car and have it paid off by a certain date. The certain date has passed and they were late last month on the payment and did not pay the entire car off nor even a payment this month (car was originally supposed to be paid off by now). Car was bought in one state, I have the title, in my name. I pay the insurance under my name and they usually pay me back however was late on last month and haven't paid this month. I have a key, title in my name.

    They moved to another state, took the car with them without mentioning anything. I just want to take the car back and sell it, tired of hearing the numerous excuses of why they haven't paid. I am personally paying on the car through personal line of credit, and paying the insurance. Can I just take the car back? Friend hasn't paid off the car like said, also said over the phone that if they cannot pay it then just come get it. Everything including agreement to buy the car was verbally. Does the law change since the car is in another state? Car is still titled and plates are WA state.

    What are my options. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    25,822

    Default Re: Private Party Repo, Legal

    Can I just take the car back?
    yes, because of this:

    I have the title, in my name.
    It is, after all, your car. When you pick it up, I would have the title with me and it wouldn't be a bad idea to notify the police in the area that you have picked up your car so when the borrower calls the police to report a stolen car, they already know it isn't.
    I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Is a Private Party Repo Legal

    Thank you for the quick reply. That was exactly what I was thinking.

    Any suggestions on how about I should notify the police? Just give the local police station a call should work?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    25,822

    Default Re: Is a Private Party Repo Legal

    Quote Quoting markb85
    View Post

    Any suggestions on how about I should notify the police? Just give the local police station a call should work?
    that is what I would do. In my locality, there are 3 police departments that are active in my area. If I were doing this in my area, I would either ask the first department I called about whether I should contact the other departments or if just the one would be adequate or just go ahead and call each of them individually to be sure they were aware of the situation.

    and this is not really a repo as generally understood. You are not repo'ing a car titled to another party (which is what a typical repo involves) but taking possession of a vehicle that is actually in your name. I would make that clear with the police you speak to. It could make a difference how they view the situation. In some areas, repo agents must be licensed etc. and have certain documents to be able to repo a car.
    I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Is a Private Party Repo Legal

    Thank you!

    One last question. What should I do if they have stuff in the car when I get there to take it back? Put it in a bag and leave it with them? I'm mainly trying to avoid them creating a "scene".

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    25,822

    Default Re: Is a Private Party Repo Legal

    no matter what you do, that could cause some problems. If you simply bag everything and leave it on the porch, they could claim you took something or maybe the stuff gets stolen from the porch. If you give the stuff to them, you have to face them and risk a confrontation.


    I would suggest not alerting the person possessing the car but videotape the entire event. Take vid of the inside of the car to show what is there (as best you can) before even getting into the car. Then continue through with this and video you removing any property. That way, you have something to show what was in the car.

    Only after having this I would try to arrange a delivery with the person to return the property and preferably not bring the car in question with you to do this.
    I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.

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