Wrongful Repossession and Breach of the Peace
Repossessing the Car and Breaching the Peace
There are two sources of law in this regard. The agreement between the parties would address the nature and extent of the repossession in some cases and the Uniform Commercial Code as adopted by the State of New Jersey would also address the repossession. The primary limiting concern with regard to the repossession would be the method by which it is conducted. This is specifically contained in the Uniform Commercial Code and is usually not addressed in the agreement between the parties.
Common law also addresses the standard by which a vehicle may be repossessed. Common law would be judge-made law. This would be different than the Uniform Commercial Code, which would be specific law written by the legislature at the state level. Although both are overlapping, they are distinct in various regards. Both the statutory and common law in this regard are very clear. A vehicle may be repossessed so long as there is not a breach of the peace. Breach of the peace is defined by common law; however, it is not specifically defined by the Uniform Commercial Code. Judge-made law in New Jersey has addressed an indicator of what a breach of the peace is and it has its ordinary meaning.
However, there are many solid arguments that breach of the peace should also be considered violation of law or other conduct which might be improper. Overlapping with the Uniform Commercial Code would be the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. Cases in the State of New Jersey have determined that the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act might be relied upon for a cause of action with regard to wrongful repossession.
The repossession laws are built to protect consumers from abusive practices.
The really good and interesting things about these wrongful repossession claims are that there is a non-delegable duty. This means is that a finance company who sent a vehicle after repossession is responsible for a subcontractor or a sub subcontractor who possessed the court and breach the peace. The courts have recognized and the state has adopted a policy that with regard to the repossession of automobiles in need to be done safely and there needs to be insurance. The best way to assure that this occurs is that the finance company, usually a very large entity, provides for the insurance and assures that its underlings including subcontractors obey the law and do not create injuries. This assures that there are remedies available to those who have been victimized by unscrupulous repossessing companies until companies who have been engage in deceptive and improper practices with regard to the repossession of automobiles both at the state in local level.
Again there are claims for fraud and consumer fraud in addition to Uniform Commercial Code claims for wrongful repossession for breach of the peace. Each and every vehicle must be possessed peacefully. A repossession agent cannot use force or threats of force to repossess the vehicle. If there is an injury during the repossession process the finance company you sent the vehicle after repossession is responsible. Remember, the finance company who sold the money and sends the vehicle off repossession is ultimately responsible for any damages occurring associated with the repossession.