Late car payments, can the dealer report it stolen?

I´m late on my car payment.They sent a repo company to my old address but i moved due to health problems out of town. They contact some family, and told them that they will report the car as stolen and put charges on me. Can they do that?
Answer:   I think you will find in your financing agreement a requirement that you keep them apprised of the whereabouts of the vehicle.

The definition of theft is to deprive the owner of the property of possession of it. If you are behind on your payments, they have the right to repossess the vehicle. So, I could see where it is possible that they could send you notice that they intend to repossess (to your old address) and then when they attempt to take that possession find the vehicle not present and could report it stolen. On the theory that you kept them from lawfully possessing what they are entitled to possess.

I don't know if a judge would buy all that, but I could see where the charges could be made and where you would at least be picked up and have to explain it all to a judge. It may just be a scare tactic, but I think they would be in the clear of any claim that they made a false complaint. The hitch in their theory is that they are not in actual possession of the car and you were given possession.

I think a criminal judge would see this for what it is--a civil matter where the car company is using the criminal machinery to repossess the car. Probably the charges if made would be dropped is my guess.

Just a guess, one can never say what will happen--especially since we don't know what jurisdiction you are in, or what statutes your state may have in effect pertaining to repossessions.

I am a lawyer, but you haven't given enough details to make any kind of sane prediction and if you are not in a place where I am licensed I can't give legal advice in any event.

I would say that there is a possibility for them to make good on their threat, but whether a judge will buy it, I don't know for sure.
You are required by law to keep the lender (dealer) and the car insurance company informed as to the location of the vehicle.

The lender has the right to know where the car is because YOU used the car to secure the loan and until the car is paid off, the lender actually owns the car. (They have the title.)

The insurance company has the right to know where the car is because they base their rates on the primary location of the car.

I doubt the lender sent the repo company without having first tried to contract you about the late payment and you probably did not respond.

So yes, they can report the car stolen. You failed to make payment, you took the car out of town, you failed to inform them of your location or the location of the car, you denied them their contractual rights under the loan agreement so now they have to go outside the contract.

Either make the payments OR return the car. What you have on your hands right now is a stolen car.
I agree with the other two answers. As a lawyer, I think both are from lawyers and they both set it out for you pretty clearly. Please deal with this quickly or, if you are in Western Canada, you may find yourself calling one of my associates on the Brydges line from jail on a theft charge. Alternatively, you'll be on the wrong end of a monetary judgment.


The Answers post by the user, for information only, FreeLawAnswer does not guarantee the right.
Answer question:


More Questions and Answers: