Consumer Law Resource Center - Vehicle Repossession Quick Facts

Like most people, you rely on your vehicle to get you where you need to go, when you need to go, whether it's work, school, the grocery store, or the soccer field. But if you're late with your car payments, your vehicle could be taken away from you. In some states, including Arkansas, if you don't have adequate car insurance, your car can be repossessed.

So what is repossession? If you don't make timely payments on the vehicle, your creditor may have the right to "repossess" or take back your car without going to court or warning you in advance. Your creditor may sell your contract to a third party, called an assignee, giving them the same right to seize the car.  






  • How does this happen? In many states, your car can be repossessed as soon as you default on your loan or lease. This happens when you are late or miss payments to your creditor.
  • How can I stop my car from getting repossessed? It's easier to try to prevent your vehicle from getting repossessed than to dispute it after the fact. Contact your creditor as soon as you realize you'll be late with a payment.

  • What if my car is sold? Once your vehicle has been repossessed, your creditor may decide to keep it as compensation for your debt or resell it in a public or private sale. But your creditor must let you know what will happen to the car. In the case of a public auction, state law requires that your creditor tell you the time and place of the auction so that you can attend and participate in the bidding. If the vehicle will be sold privately, you have a right to know the date of the sale.

  • The Federal Trade Commission works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information in order to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them.


  • You can file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues by visiting the Federal Trade Commission Web site or call 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357); TTY: 866-653-4261.


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