Can the Police Assist a Repossession Agent in Taking My Car?

by Benjamin Tarshish on September 28, 2016

The repo man is not allowed to ask for police assistance in order to seize your car. Vehicle repossession is a private affair. If police are called in during the act of a repossession, their role is strictly to maintain the peace and order, not to help the repossession agent. The repo agent is not even allowed to threaten to call the police in order to help take the car. This is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Why is it Illegal for the Police to Assist the Repo Man?

In the United States, there is a legal requirement known as “due process” that requires the state to provide you with notice and an opportunity to be heard. However in the state of Minnesota, there is a provision for self-help repossessions, which means a debt collector can potentially take your vehicle without getting the court involved. They do not need to provide you with notice and you don’t get a chance for your case to be heard. The reason that this does not violate due process is because you are only granted those rights when your property is taken by a government or state agent. A private repossession company is not considered a state or government agent. However, a police officer is. That’s why when a police officer becomes involved in assisting with the repossession of your car, it’s possible that your rights are being violated: The state is not allowed to take your property without first providing you with due process.

Does this Mean I can Sue?

So where do you draw the line between having the police keep the peace and assisting in a repossession? One key to look for is that if the police order you to turn over your car, that is likely a strong indication that they have become too involved in the process. This is a violation of your right to due process and you might be able to bring a lawsuit against the police and repossession company.

What Should I do If the Police Assist the Repo Man?

If your vehicle was unlawfully repossessed through use of police assistance, you may have claims against the repo man and police. You may be entitled to thousands of dollars more than you are currently being offered by the  repossession company, if you are even being offered anything at all. For a better understanding of the damages you may be entitled to and a Free Case Evaluation, please contact attorney our attorneys now at 952-295-3935 or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form.

For further reading, refer to the following list of wrongful repo practice areas that our attorneys specialize in:

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