I am a member of a number of online Facebook forums for people that are involved in the repossession business. For the most part, it’s a great networking tool for people…especially those newly in the business to discuss the best truck chassis choices (Ford? Chevy?), or the pros and cons of different types of wheel lifts (Dynamic? Vulcan?). These forums are a great way to see what others are using as resources in the day to day operation of their businesses.
But there have been a couple of unsettling discussions; back-and-forth discussions about using law-enforcement-appearing badges in the course of the repossession process; the legality of breaking a lock on a gate preventing access to the collateral; discussions about carrying a gun while on duty (“But I have my concealed weapons permit!”). And many others.
The unsettling part of this is that these kind of issues have been addressed…and properly answered….years ago, through the ongoing training afforded to the industry by the national trade associations. We are allowed to perform self-help repossession under the terms of Section 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code; and key to complying with the UCC is avoiding a breach of peace, which is highly technical and detailed. This is exactly the type of training TFA routinely offers to their members, both at yearly educational conference and through online training platforms like VTS. One of the huge advantages to clients utilizing agencies found in TFA is the knowledge that these men and women undergo regular and detailed training on the nuances of the laws regarding the repossession process. Discussions about breaking locks or carrying lethal weapons have been settled (the answer, by the way is “no” and “no”) years ago. To think a body of modern repossessors still haven’t availed themselves of this kind of training…to best protect themselves, their clients, and the consumers…is a concern.
That’s not all. You will commonly see a post from an agent asking “is anyone near Anyville, Ohio? I need one got there right away!”. Grammar aside, there are a number of concerns this should raise ultimately in the mind of the lender. Sure, the sought repo resource might be physically close to the collateral. But repossessing a vehicle is serious…and potentially deadly…business. Are there any questions being asked about the repossessor’s experience, training, or insurance? Is anyone performing a background check to surface any potential previous criminal history of violence or fiduciary wrongdoing by the service provider? Or is it a few keystrokes, and out it goes to be worked?
Time Finance Adjusters performs rigorous vetting of potential members. They require professional references. They require a certain amount of experience and history in the repossession business. They check and verify the existence of proper insurance. In many instances they will perform a site inspection to make sure the member’s operation meets the associations’ standards Who is ultimately empowered to stand face-to-face with the consumer on his or her property, with so much potential legal and physical risk, is not something that should be left to a FB “friend”.
Don’t get me wrong. These Facebook groups are helpful…really helpful….for the industry. But at some point, it is clear that far more qualifications have to be met before someone is appointed to repossess a car…and that is something provided through the use of Time Finance Adjusters professionals.