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Chicago debt collection attorney detinue

If you work for a bank, credit union, auto lender, truck lender, equipment lender, or other finance company, you are familiar with the way some debtors might refuse to pay their monthly payment for their debt secured by collateral. In those cases, repossession of the collateral is necessary, but sometimes the debtor will hide the car, boat, or other collateral to prevent repossession. If that is the case for you and your organization, consider the actions you can take to recover the property, including legal actions.

When Repossession Fails 

Repossession companies are legally permitted to do many things in their pursuit of reclaiming property for creditors, but one thing they cannot do is “breach the peace,” which means they cannot commit crimes like breaking into a property or intimidating creditors in order to retrieve the collateral. This is one of the reasons creditors should be very mindful and discerning when choosing a repossession partner. 

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Using Replevin, Detinue to Repossess VehiclesAs a secured creditor, there may come a point in the debt collection process when you decide that you are best served by repossessing the collateral property. Auto lenders commonly deal with repossessing vehicles when the debtor defaults on their loan and shows no intention of working with the lender to catch up on the missed payments. However, debtors may not cooperate when you try to repossess their vehicle, whether they actively deny your repossession efforts or try to hide the vehicle from you. In these situations, you can force compliance by requesting a replevin or detinue from the court.

What Are Replevin and Detinue?

Replevin and detinue are similar legal actions that can help you recover a property held by a debtor. The main differences are:

  • Replevin allows police to seize property and return it to the creditor and is more generally used when a defendant wrongfully took a property.
  • Detinue orders the defendant to surrender the property to the creditor because they are wrongfully withholding it.

With replevin, you may be able to seize the property after the defendant has been given a five-day notice. With detinue, you often must wait until the end of the case to retrieve the property. With both actions, you must be able to clearly identify the property and prove that you have a superior claim to ownership, which for auto lenders would be proving that the defendant has defaulted on their loan agreement. Along with retrieving the property, you may be able to collect damages from the defendant if there was a cost that was related to them withholding the property. If the property cannot be found, the court will order the defendant to pay you the monetary value of the property.

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Illinois Creditors Bar Association Chicago Bar Association Illinois State Bar Association
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