Can a creditor repossess my car without informing me?

Your vehicle is collateral, meaning it is held by you as you pay for it, but if you default on those payments, the lender can repossess the vehicle. The bank or credit union has the right to take back the vehicle for failure to pay or for being behind on payments.

Creditors cannot repossess your property unless there is a written security agreement that you signed, identifying what property can be repossessed if you do not make payments. In Pennsylvania, the lender’s lien is noted on the title to your vehicle and, until the vehicle is paid off, the lender may repossess the vehicle if you do not make timely payments. Creditors cannot repossess unless it can be done peacefully. You have the right to inform the creditor that they cannot have the property back and cannot enter your home. Once a creditor has been told that, it is illegal for them to enter your property or home. This means the creditor must then go to court to get the property back. If the creditor violates the law, you have the right to sue them.

Typically, there is no warning notice required prior to repossession. However, in Pennsylvania a warning is required in the case of a mobile home or personal property other than a vehicle.

In the case of a mobile home, the creditor cannot repossess it without first issuing a written 30-day notice and providing you with an opportunity to catch up with payments. If there are any other issues on the contract with the creditor, they must be dealt with as well.

In the instance of repossession of personal property other than a vehicle, if you borrowed money to buy appliances or furniture, the creditor cannot repossess without issuing a 21 day notice to give you a chance to catch up payments.

Creditors can only repossess items that are identified as collateral for a loan. However, should a creditor sue and win a ruling that you owe money, the Sheriff can take and sell other property your own.

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