Regardless of the circumstances, every consumer has rights that must be protected even when he or she falls behind on financial commitments. 

One example includes the rights of a person when his or her vehicle may be repossessed. 

Reasons for a repossession

As explained by NerdWallet, a person who has not been able to make on-time payments for an automobile lease or loan may be at risk for losing that vehicle. However, a person may experience a vehicle repossession even if the payments have been made. One reason for this could be the failure to carry mandated vehicle insurance. 

When a consumer negotiates amended payment terms with a creditor, the creditor may not repossess the vehicle when the original payment date is not met, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Any updated payment agreements should be documented in writing to protect the consumer. 

Seizure of a vehicle

A vehicle housed inside a closed garage may not be taken by force. Additionally, no violence or force should be used in an effort to repossess a vehicle. A consumer’s personal belongings in a repossessed vehicle should be provided to the consumer. This excludes any installed vehicle accessories such as a stereo. 

The use of force during a vehicle repossession may constitute a breach of the peace which is a violation of the consumer’s rights. 

Sale of a repossessed vehicle

After a repossession, the creditor may opt to sell the vehicle via public or private means. The consumer may request the opportunity to repurchase the vehicle at this time. Additional fees may apply and the consumer should appropriately evaluate his or her ability to afford the vehicle going forward.