Is it legal for car company to keep your personal property after it has been repossessed?

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Is it legal for car company to keep your personal property after it has been repossessed?

Asked on April 13, 2011 under General Practice, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No; this is not even remotely legal. Your personal property is your personal property; except in the highly unlikely event that you had provided them an additional security interest in some other item of property that was in the car, it all has to be returned to you. You may sue the company for the current value (which is not necessarily the original cost; e.g. a 3-year laptop computer would be worth less now than the price you originally paid for  it) in the event they do not voluntarily return the property. Note that you can only seek the economic value--there is no recovery, for example, for the sentimental value of lost photographs. You may also need to be able to establish the value of the items.

In addition, if you have homeowner's insurnace, you might have the option of filing a "theft" claim under it.


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