What Are My Rights After a Car Repossession in Illinois?

By Jennifer Leighton
Rights in an Illinois car repossession vary by case.
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The rights of an individual in Illinois whose car has been repossessed will depend upon the amount of money owed on the vehicle and the time frame involved in the repossession. Following a repossession, any action to retrieve the vehicle or to begin a defense against the repossession must be taken within 21 days. Legal representation may be necessary if an individual wishes to argue a repossession.

Rights For First 21 Days

An individual has the right to reclaim a repossessed car in the state of Illinois anytime in the first 21 days after repossession, provided that over 30 percent of the entire purchase price of the vehicle already has been paid. To reclaim a vehicle in this circumstance, three conditions must be met.

Conditions For Reclaiming Car

An individual who has paid over 30 percent of the car's purchase price has the right to reclaim the car only if all past due payments are paid in full until the vehicle contract is current; any late charges are paid in full; and the costs involved in the repossession are fully reimbursed to the creditor.

Rights 21 Days After Repossession

If the debtor does not take action to retrieve the repossessed vehicle or to argue the repossession during the first 21 days post repossession, the creditor will normally sell the vehicle to recoup some of the money owed. Proceeds from this sale will be applied to the debt. The creditor is legally required to mail a notice of intent to transfer the vehicle title to the creditor so that the vehicle can be sold. The creditor also must provide the debtor with an affidavit. If the debtor wishes to argue the repossession, the debtor must complete the affidavit form and return it to the creditor within 21 days after the receipt of the form. The completed affidavit will allow the debtor to halt the sale of the vehicle until the matter is decided in a court of law. If the affidavit is not completed and returned within 21 days after receipt, the debtor relinquishes any legal right to the vehicle and the creditor can transfer the title and sell the vehicle.

Advisement of Rights

When a creditor initiates a repossession, the rights of the debtor must be communicated to the person. Creditors who repossess a vehicle are allowed a maximum of three days after the repossession to provide debtors with a written communication advising them of their rights in regards to the vehicle.