Can my paid off car be seized as an attempt to collect a debt?

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Can my paid off car be seized as an attempt to collect a debt?

I have been issued a Pattern Interrogatories form, by a company that I owe. In giving them all of this information, are they going to use it to take my property? I have no banks accounts and really the only thing of value that I own is my vehicle. Can they seize it?

Asked on October 8, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A creditor cannot unilaterally seize property, except to the extent that there is a security agreement giving them the right to take certain property in the event of a default. (That's how car repossession works--usually when you finance a car, some of the paperwork you sign gives the lender the right to repossess the car if you don't pay.) Without a security agreement, the creditor would have to go to court, sue you, and win; if they win and you still can't or don't pay, they can then try to use various different mechanisms to collect. One mechanism would be executing on property--or forcing a sale of certain of your property. Another is to garnish income or wages. So they can't simply take the car, but they may look for  a court order at the end of the whole legal process to get it if they go ahead with suing you.


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