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Can you be charged for retrieving personal items from a repossessed car?

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2015-07-15 21:51:43
2015-07-15 21:51:43

Okay folks, I am a driver of a repo truck in South Florida. I do not own the company, I just drive for them and yes, I very much enjoy what I do. I do not consider myself a scumbag, nor am I rude, demeaning or disrespectful to debtors, I go out of my way to be polite and courteous to them as possible.

It's true that a debtor that has had their vehicle repossessed can be charged for the inventory, storage and return of their personal property that was in the vehicle at the time of repossession. They can be legally charged up to $200.00 for this in Florida. However, If I have contact with the debtor during the repossession I will offer to them a trade. The keys to the vehicle for the possessions in it. Much to the chagrin of my employer, I strongly stress to the debtor that it is in their best interest to remove all of their personal belongings from the vehicle that they do not wish to buy back. Most of these folks appreciate my candidness with them and one even left a $20.00 tip at the office for me when they redeemed their vehicle.

I understand that not all who have fallen behind with their vehicle note are deadbeats, (some are, but not all) and I try to interact with them accordingly.

As far as I can tell, only 2 states allow for and require charging for PP. California and Florida. Otherwise, its ILLEGAL..!! FordMotorCredit does NOT allow its repo contractors to charge for PP by its contract with them. To do so is called "CONVERSION".

This is correct as far as the legality of charging for the retrieval of personal property in the state of Florida. According to Florida Statute 493.6404:

"Should the debtor, or her or his lawful designee, appear to retrieve the personal property, prior to the date on which the Class "E" or Class "EE" licensee is allowed to dispose of the property, the licensee shall surrender the personal property to that individual upon payment of any reasonably incurred expenses for inventory and storage."

:Check with your Attorney General's Office on the law regarding being charged a storage fee for your personal items in your repossessed car. In Maryland the law is the towing company can charge only for the storage of the vehicle. A repo company cannot charge a fee for storing personal items, only the storage of the vehicle. It didn't matter that the repo company had something worked out with the finance company. You can probably find most state laws online. If that confuses you, call your local Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection section. It may not be that all states have the same law that Maryland does, but you'll never know unless you ask.

I also found the following online regarding Florida law regarding personal property:

493.6404_Property_inventory;_vehicle_license_identification_numbers.--">493.6404 Property inventory; vehicle license identification numbers.--(1) If personal effects or other property not covered by a security agreement are contained in or on a recovered vehicle, mobile home, motorboat, aircraft, personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicle, farm equipment, or industrial equipment at the time it is recovered, a complete and accurate inventory shall be made of such personal effects or property. The date and time the inventory is made shall be indicated, and it shall be signed by the Class "E" or Class "EE" licensee who obtained the personal property. The inventory of the personal property and the records regarding any disposal of personal property shall be maintained for a period of 2 years in the permanent records of the licensed agency and shall be made available, upon demand, to an authorized representative of the department engaged in an official investigation.

(2) Within 5 working days after the date of a repossession, the Class "E" or Class "EE" licensee shall give written notification to the debtor of the whereabouts of personal effects or other property inventoried pursuant to this section. At least 45 days prior to disposing of such personal effects or other property, the Class "E" or Class "EE" licensee shall, by United States Postal Service proof of mailing or certified mail, notify the debtor of the intent to dispose of said property. Should the debtor, or her or his lawful designee, appear to retrieve the personal property, prior to the date on which the Class "E" or Class "EE" licensee is allowed to dispose of the property, the licensee shall surrender the personal property to that individual upon payment of any reasonably incurred expenses for inventory and storage. If personal property is not claimed within 45 days of the notice of intent to dispose, the licensee may dispose of the personal property at her or his discretion, except that illegal items or contraband shall be surrendered to a law enforcement agency, and the licensee shall retain a receipt or other proof of surrender as part of the inventory and disposal records she or he maintains.

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Yes, you are entitled to get your belongings out of the vehicle, but you will need to check within your state's laws to see if a company can charge you for retrieving your items.

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Most impounding agencies charge a storage fee for items left in a repossessed vehicle. The usual amount of time the person has to reclaim their possessions in such a situation without having to pay such fees is 3-5 business days.

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As soon as your vehicle is delivered tot he storage lot, it is typically inventoried. That is all personal items are listed and placed in storage. Upon your request, these items will be returned to you. Keep in mind thought that you may be required to pay storage for these items before they will be returned.

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"Lessee" is the person owning the property or who grants a lease. I suspect that there are may be some facts that are not included in this queestion. Is the lessee holding the items as a deposit or as collateral for unpaid rent? (he may need a court order to do that). If you go on the lessee's property to remove your items from it you may be charged with any number of offenses (i.e. - trespass - burglary - theft - unlawful entry - criminal mischief - etc.) In other words - if you no longer live there but believe that you still have personal property there, it would be wise to first ask the police to accompany you to get your items. If they do not/will not, then your best alternative is to get a court order, because if you"trespass" on his property (for WHATEVER reason) you could be arrested.


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