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What does a Repo Agent do?

Alexis W.
Alexis W.

A repo agent works for a company that needs to recover secured assets. The job of the repo agent is to take items that a buyer cannot make payments on and return those items to the company who can then sell them. A repo agent, or repossession agent, may repossess cars, furniture or any other item a person takes a secured loan on.

There are two types of credit available to most people: secured debt and unsecured debt. Unsecured debt is debt such as credit cards, because there is no collateral and the bank doesn't necessarily have anything it can take if a person does not pay his bills. Secured debt, on the other hand, is debt lent for the purchase of an asset that can be repossessed. A car loan and a mortgage loan are both secured debt, secured respectively by the vehicle and the home. When a person buys furniture or electronics from a store on credit, those assets may also act as security on the debt owed.

Repossession agencies may work for specific car dealerships.
Repossession agencies may work for specific car dealerships.

If a person defaults on a secured debt, then the item that is guaranteeing the debt is seized. In other words, if a person takes out a car loan, the car is the collateral. If the person then stops making his car payments, the bank or dealership can repossess. This means it can take the car back. It is the job of the repo agent to go to the home of the borrower, collect the car and deliver it to the company.

The repo agent is generally hired by the company trying to collect the debt. Some companies may have a full-time repossession agent on staff, such as a car company. Others will hire consultants.

Once hired, the repo agent must generally make sure he complies with all federal and local laws. This means he will need to act under the guidelines of what he is legally permitted to do when taking someone's property. A subpoena, warrant, court order or proof of ownership on the part of the person requesting the repossession may be required, but the exact rules vary by state.

One of the most difficult tasks of the agent's job then comes from finding the person having the item repossessed and taking the item. Many people move around a lot and can be difficult to find. People who are having items repossessed may also try to buy time by telling tales of financial woe to the repossessing agent; generally, the agent just takes the item and has no authority to stop the repossession or help the borrower.

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    • Repossession agencies may work for specific car dealerships.
      By: Michael Shake
      Repossession agencies may work for specific car dealerships.