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Vehicle Repo Alert: Are You at Risk?



By:Mike Cibik

A client called me to say that their car had been repossessed and that they needed help. I explained that one option would be to file a Chapter 13, then a Complaint for Turnover as a means to get the vehicle back.

We would argue to the bankruptcy judge that my client’s vehicle was necessary for them to fulfill the terms of their plan, and thus the judge should order the lender to “turn over” the vehicle immediately.

After we filed a Chapter 13, I called the lender’s customer service number and after being transferred from department to department, I finally spoke to someone in the default department. I explained that we filed a bankruptcy and we were prepared to pursue the Chapter 13/Complaint for Turnover route, which hopefully will result in the return of my client’s vehicle.

The default department representative agreed and within a matter of days, my client got their car back. What can you take away from this story? Recognize that every bank or lending institution has its own policy about returning a repossessed vehicle voluntarily.


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