What to do about an illegal private repossession?

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What to do about an illegal private repossession?

My son entered into a verbal contract with a couple to purchase their car he paid 600 down and per agreement was to pay $50 a week until paid off. He was paying the amount agreed upon per the verbal agreement. The people in which he had the verbal/oral agreement with are personally known by him; they are the grandparents of a personal friend of my son. He was residing with them as well during this time. Without notice or contacting my son they came and picked up the car and now refuse to give him back at least his down payment. My son is 19 and somewhat of a special needs person. There were witnesses to this verbal agreement. He was in possession of the car and was given the keys. However, they had spare and just took the car. What can we do?

Asked on April 24, 2012 under Business Law, Iowa

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your son can sue the couple who took his car, for conversion.  Conversion is the unauthorized assumption and exercise of the right of ownership of the personal property of another to the exclusion of the owner's rights.  Conversion is any unauthorized act which deprives an owner of his property permanently or for an indefinite time.

In a lawsuit for conversion, your son's damages (the amount of compensation he is seeking to recover) would be a forced sale which is the full value of the vehicle. 

 


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