How doi collect my vehicle from a non-complying family member?

my sister has failed to make any payments towards the car i bought…
the verbal agreement was that she paid for insurance and myself in
full before the car could be signed over… non of the above has been
done in the 5 months ive owned the vehicle… can i show up where its
located and have it legally towed to my residence?

Asked on March 28, 2017 under Business Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless there was a written agreement, as part of which she specifically gave you a security interest in the car and which agreement stated that you could reposses in the event of nonpayment, no, you can't do this on your own. What you can do is sue her for breach of contract (for violating her agreement, even if only an oral or unwritten one ["oral," not "verbal," is the correct term]) by not paying what she should; in the lawsuit, you'd ask for the money due you under the agreement or in the alterntive, the return of the car to you, and the court should grant one or the other (or possibly a mix of both; i.e. some money and the car). Even if the court only orders her to pay money, if she does not obey the court order/judgment, at that time, there is a legal process by which you could have the sheriff's office "execute" on the car and seize it. Ideally, you should retain an attorney to help you, since some of the court procedural rules can be complex, but you could act as your own attorney ("pro se") if it's economically worthwhile to hire a lawyer; you can get instructions and forms from the court clerk's office (and/or  the court website).

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