Consumer Rights on Repossession in the State of Florida

By Jonita Davis
George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images

When a consumer buys a product using financing or loan the lender offers the money in exchange for repayment with interest. If the borrower stops payment the lender has the right to take back the product in a procedure called repossession. In a repossession the consumer has rights that must be adhered to. If those rights are violated the lender and the company hired to perform the repossession may be sued for damages or face criminal charges.

Rights Before Repossession

Before the situation escalates to the point of a repossession the borrower has the right to know the steps that could lead to a repossession and the process that is used. This information is included in the truth in lending statement. Once the consumer knows the payment will be late he has the right to ask the lender for an extension or payment arrangement. If a payment agreement is reached the lender cannot repossess the item unless the consumer breaches the agreement.

During the Repossession

The company performing the repossession does have the right to take the item in question, but the consumer has the right to a peaceful exchange. The repossession company cannot cause what is known as a breach of peace. The Florida legal code considers any threats, force or deception used to take the item as breach of peace. Repossession companies that commit a breach of peace may be sued for damages alongside the lender who ordered the repossession. You have the right to read the repossession notice as well. Before the item is taken and/or sold, you have a right to retrieve your personal property from it.

Resale

Consumers have a right to retrieve their item after the repossession by paying the arrears or making an arrangement and paying costs of storage, legal fees and others. You also have the right to insist on a sale of the item. A sale will reduce the amount owed. Consumers have the right to notice of the sale date and location in the state of Florida. The use of a public auction or private sale both require notice.

Voluntary Repossesson.

Consumers can give up the item they owe money on through voluntary repossession. The lender and owner arrange for the pickup. You have the right to ask for a voluntary repossession at any time. However, you will still be responsible for the balance of the loan.

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