Finance Company and Wrongful Repossession

The law in the State of New Jersey is that if a repossession agent repossesses a vehicle in an improper fashion which has been previously addressed, it is the non-delegable duty of the finance company, that might have initially authorized a repossession, to make sure that the repossession happens without a breach of the peace.

New Jersey Courts have determined that it is a public policy that the repossession agents not breach the peace when repossessing a vehicle. The Courts have also determined that it is ultimately the obligation of the finance company to make sure that this does not happen in an improper manner. This is called a non-delegable duty. This means that it is ultimately the responsibility and the obligation of the finance company who authorized a repossession to make sure the repossession is done in a proper manner consistent with the New Jersey law. It does not matter whether it was with violence as an impersonation of a law enforcement officer or in some other improper and illegal manner. This is the obligation of the finance company with regard to ultimate liability.

What this means as a practical matter for someone who owns or operates a vehicle is that if there is an improper act with regard to repossession of an automobile, regardless of who this person is, where they are or why they did what they did, it is ultimately the liability of the finance company in this regard. This means that you can sue the finance company if a repossession agent engaged in illegal or wrongful repossession or breach of the peace or did some other inappropriate or wrongful action. The public policy is that the Courts insist they will not permit a finance company to put their head in the sand while any type of improper or illegal actions are occurring with regard to repossession. This is why it is a non-delegable duty; this is why it is the responsibility of the finance company to make sure it is done properly and this is why the finance company has insurance and/or the repossession agent is required to carry insurance by the finance company.