Our cars are a prime symbol of independence, so the thought of creditors repossessing them is daunting. If, unfortunately, it comes to that, Tennessee law still grants you certain rights in that the repossession company must not commit a breach of the peace when carrying out the repossession. In the event they do, you may have grounds for legal action.
A Tennessee wrongful repossession lawyer with Sue the Collector can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and ensure you are treated fairly from start to finish. Our team has secured millions in awards from debt collectors, and now we’re ready to help you. Connect with us today for a free consultation at 877-BAD-REPO.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Repossession in Tennessee?
When you miss or are late on a car payment, even if it’s just one day, you are considered to be in default. As a result, the repossession agency can seize the vehicle. However, they must respect your rights and not violate any breach of the peace law. Examples include:
- Using physical force or violence to access the vehicle or in an attempt to get you out of it
- Breaking into a locked garage or gate to seize the car
- Causing a public disturbance by yelling or excessively honking the horn
- Damaging the car or your personal property inside when taking the vehicle
- Threatening to harm you if you don’t hand over the vehicle
- Entering your home or enclosed area without your permission
- Seizing the car, even though you told them they couldn’t
- Moving other vehicles so they can make way to tow yours
There are instances in which you are not in default, but the repossession agent still tries to repossess the vehicle. It could be an honest mistake, like a glitch in the system or a miscommunication.
You may benefit from getting one of our attorneys involved. They can assess the situation and determine if the repo agent acted within the scope of the law. If not, they can explore your options for legal action with you.
How Should a Repossession Agent Act During the Auto Repossession Process?
The repo agent can seize the vehicle as long as:
- You’re in default.
- They don’t cause a disturbance.
- They don’t object to your wishes or commands.
With that, they may carry out the repossession by:
- Towing the car from a public parking lot or garage
- Seizing it while you’re at work
- Taking the car if it’s parked on the street in front of your home
The repo agent typically tries to be discreet to avoid conflict or confrontation. If they end up running into you while seizing your car and you object, they may submit a court order to continue with the process. Should the judge grant their request, you must allow them to take your vehicle.
How You Find Out About Your Car’s Repossession in Tennessee
The repo agency doesn’t have to tell you that they will take your car. However, they must notify you and explain your rights about what they plan to do with the vehicle.
They must also tell the county sheriff immediately. Per TN Code § 55-5-128, this notice must contain the following information:
- Your name and address
- Serial number, make, and model of the vehicle
If You Left Personal Property in Your Repossessed Car
You have every right to retrieve any of your belongings in the car at the time of the repossession. Reach out to the repossession company immediately to set up a date and time to go and collect your things.
Tennessee repossession law, TN Code § 47-50-113, says that you have 14 days from the date of the vehicle repossession to do so. The repo company cannot charge you a storage fee during this time. However, after it passes and you still haven’t picked up your belongings, they can do whatever they wish with them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vehicle Repossession in Tennessee
We’ve been serving victims of illegal repossession for years at Sue the Collector and have seen everything you could imagine. Our team has noticed common questions and compiled a list to help you feel at ease and informed.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Car Repossession in Tennessee?
According to TN Code § 28-3-109, the statute of limitations on debt is generally six years from the day of account inactivity in Tennessee. If you have not paid off your loan balance in six years, the creditor cannot sue you to collect the rest of the debt.
Although this law doesn’t make the debt disappear, it helps protect you from the creditor suing you. Only paying off the debt or filing for bankruptcy can erase it.
How Can You Get Your Car After the Repo Company Seized It?
If you expect the creditor to repossess your car or the repo company already has it, there are a few things you can do:
- Refinance the car
- Renegotiate the loan
- Pay off the current loan balance
- File for Chapter 7 bankruptcy so you have more time to pay off the loan
- File for Chapter 13 bankruptcy so they cannot take further action against you
Why Should You Hire Sue the Collector?
At Sue the Collector, we have received recognition and accolades for our legal services. For example:
- We were featured on NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS News.
- We were featured in Entrepreneur 360 in 2018.
Our team strives to protect our clients’ rights and ensure they don’t endure further harassment or abuse from creditors.
Reach Out to Sue the Collector After Wrongful Repossession in Tennessee
If your vehicle was wrongfully repossessed in Tennessee, call Sue the Collector at 877-BAD-REPO for assistance from one of our attorneys. We give free consultations and operate on a no-fee guarantee basis.