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Using Replevin, Detinue to Repossess Vehicles

 Posted on November 23,2019 in Auto Lenders

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.

When Should You Use Each Action?

Replevin works best when you know where the vehicle is located but the defendant refuses to surrender it. A representative of the creditor must accompany the local sheriff in seizing the vehicle, as well as posting a bond for the vehicle and hiring a locksmith to enter it.

If you do not know where the defendant has hidden the vehicle, detinue is the more effective action because it orders the defendant to produce and surrender the vehicle. Noncompliance by the debtor could result in further legal action.

Contact a Chicago Creditor’s Rights Lawyer

Debtors may try to resist repossession efforts when it comes to property as important as their vehicle. The threat of replevin or detinue may compel them to cooperate even before you go through the legal process. A Chicago creditor’s rights attorney at Dimand Walinski Law Offices, P.C., can explain your options for repossessing a vehicle. Schedule a consultation by calling 312-704-0771.


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