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When can creditors repossess my property?

Many people in New York buy major purchases on credit. From cars to houses to major electronics, choose to finance these things that make up their wants and needs. In exchange for allowing payments over time, the seller will often retain a security interest in the property until the final payment is made. If the buyer fails keep up with their payments the company that sold the property or financed it can sometimes reclaim it.

According to the Better Business Bureau of the New York City metropolitan area, New York businesses may reclaim or repossess items of property on which they have secured interests. Payments on those pieces of property must generally be in default in order to initiate that right. Businesses with secured interests do not have to go to court before seeking reclamation of the goods and may also choose to make any goods in default unusable.

Though contracts between businesses and consumers generally establish the terms of defaults, several situations usually occur to bring about reclamation events. Failing to make scheduled payments on property is the most obvious event that can result in repossession. But under many contracts the death or bankruptcy of the consumer can also trigger the seller's right to reclaim the property. In addition, the failure of the consumer to fulfill some other contractual obligation, such as to insure the relevant property, can give a business the right to take back property.

When New York businesses attempt to reclaim property from consumers, those consumers have rights. Consumers have the right to receive notice of when the subject property will be for sale and they also have the right to pay the full amount due on the item, plus the seller's reasonable costs of repossession, in order to get the item back. Though the information contained in this post should not be read as specific legal advice, anyone who has missed payments and fears that their property will be reclaimed can learn more by consulting a New York bankruptcy lawyer.

Source: Better Business Bureau, "Repossession of Goods (New York State)," accessed Nov. 6, 2014

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