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What does a Repossession Agent do?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated May 17, 2024
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A repossession agent retrieves property that has not been paid for according to the terms agreed upon by the buyer and seller. He is typically involved in recovering large ticket items such as automobiles, recreational vehicles, trucks and boats. He may work for a repossession company, bank, financing organization, lending institution or credit card company. A considerable number of repossession agents are independent contractors as well.

Repossessing personal property from individuals is frequently a difficult task. A repossession agent may be required to approach the person who has defaulted on the purchase agreement to inform him or her of his intentions. In some cases, the lender notifies the buyer of the proposed action, and the agent is only responsible for physically retrieving the property. The agent may be required to seize property from a private residence or commercial location.

Although the target of the repossession may be aware of the impending action, the repossessor frequently meets with resistance in performing his job. He may be confronted with verbal abuse and, in some cases, be threatened with physical violence. Some repossessors are licensed to carry weapons of self-defense.

To avoid legal repercussions, a repossession agent is normally required to be fully aware of his rights as well as those of the lender and purchaser. The lender typically has stringent guidelines and procedures that must be followed to make the repossession legal. These normally include alerting the property owner of the repossession by registered or certified mail. In some regions, a legal document outlining the details of the default must be delivered to the consumer by a process server.

Once the property has been retrieved, the repossession agent commonly delivers it to the creditor or to a location authorized by the creditor. Upon delivery, the agent customarily requires the person accepting the property to sign documents that confirm the transfer. This releases the repossession agent from any further liability for the property he has seized.

Success as a repossession agent generally requires a calm demeanor and great communication skills. Skills in negotiating are normally considered an asset for this job. Patience and perseverance are usually considered good attributes for people in this profession as well.

There are normally no formal educational requirements to be a repossession agent. Background in security, law enforcement or finance is often considered a plus for applicants for this job. A significant number of repossession agent jobs require applicants to have no criminal background or history of arrests for crimes involving dishonesty or violence. Some regions may also require repossession agents to be licensed or bonded.

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Discussion Comments
By Vincenzo — On Apr 09, 2014

@Markerrag -- a lot of that would probably turn on state and local laws. In theory, a repo man is supposed to contact the property owner directly, explain that he's taking back a car and make arrangements to do that. That sounds great in theory, but you know that is a situation where conflicts can arise in a hurry.

Honestly, that is a difficult question to answer. One would guess that someone with, say, a car cannot prevent it from being repossessed by simply calling the cops and claiming a repo man is trespassing on his property to reclaim the vehicle. Some states clearly excuse a trespass if the object at issue is mobile and someone is wanting to reclaim it for the creditor, but others might have some very clear laws about it.

By Markerrag — On Apr 08, 2014

Here is a question that seems to merit at least a little discussion -- can a repo man be guilty of a trespass if he or she comes on to your property to take back a vehicle? If the law of trespass says I have the right to exclude people from my property, could I tell a repo man to take a hike if I spot him in my yard.

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