Frequently Asked Questions - Repossession Agency (RA)
- How long after the application is submitted will it take to process?
The complete processing of the application may take approximately three to six months.
- What forms must be included in the application package?
- Application for License (Form 31A-4)
- Personal Identification (Form 31A-9)
- The second copy of the Live Scan form (BCII 8016) signed by the Live Scan Operator.
- Two recent passport quality photographs
- Request for Authorization of Business name [(Form 31A-12 (if applicable)]
- Corporate applicants only: endorsed Articles of Incorporation or the Statement by a Foreign Corporation (if filed with the Secretary of State)
Corporate applicants only: endorsed Articles of Incorporation or the Statement by a Foreign Corporation (if filed with the Secretary of State)
- How long is a Repossession Agency license valid?
The Repossession Agency license is valid for two years.
- How does a Repossession Agency renew its license?
Prior to the expiration of the license, the applicant may receive a renewal application mailed to the last address of record. If you do not receive a renewal application, you should submit a copy of your license/certificate with a written request for renewal, including the fees for renewal (see fee schedule) and mail to:
Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
P.O. Box 989002
West Sacramento CA 95798-9002
(This must be submitted before the expiration date.)
- When does a Repossession Agency's license become delinquent?
The Repossession Agency's license is delinquent one day after it expires. If you fail to submit renewal fees by the expiration date, you must pay the renewal fee and the delinquent fee.
- How long after the expiration of my license am I able to renew my license?
If after three years you fail to renew a delinquent license you must submit a new application and begin the application process again.
- How do I verify receipt of my Repossession Agency application?
Contact the Bureau at (916) 322-4000 for a status on a pending application or any additional information.
- How do I notify the Bureau of my change of address?
You must notify the Bureau in writing within 30 days of such a change. Be sure that you include your license number, name, previous address, new address, date of birth and Social Security number. Please print information.
- How do I change my business name?
In order for you to change your business name, you must submit a written request to the Bureau. Submit at least six names for consideration. The first name requested will be approved unless the name could be confused with or is similar to any federal, state, county, or municipal government function or agency or to any law enforcement agency, or in any name which may tend to describe any business function or enterprise not actually engaged in by the applicant/licensee under that name.
*Until an approval is received, you may not operate under your requested new name.
- If I lost, destroyed or damaged my Repossession Agency license, how do I obtain a
You may request a duplicate license by submitting a written request, explaining the circumstances, with a $10 fee to the Bureau. Please allow four to six weeks for replacement.
- The name/address was misspelled on my license. Is there a fee for a new one?
No. An error on a license should be returned for correction to the Bureau without charge. A correction will take approximately three to four weeks. Please clarify the error in writing and return the license.(This is not for address changes when submitted after a renewal was paid and already mailed)
- Can a Repossession Agency use a post office box for an address?
Yes. The Repossession Agency must state the location of the business office by street name, number and city. The Repossessor Agency may list a post office box only if mail delivery to the physical location is not possible or if the place of business is located at the licensee's residential address. In addition, no licensee shall conduct business from any location other than the location for which a license or branch office registration was issued.
- How long does it take to process the new license after a request for name change
and/or address change or change of branch office has been made?
The processing time will vary, typically a name change and/or address change or branch change will take approximately four to six weeks.
- There has been a change in the type of ownership/entity after receiving the
repossession agency license. What do I have to do?
Licenses are not transferable or assigned to new entities. A change of ownership constitutes a new entity. You must submit a new application with appropriate fees. For example: if you apply and become licensed as a sole owner and later decide to form a partnership or corporation, you must apply for a new license.
- Who can repossess my car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle?
The legal owner, and the repossessor agency employee of a repossession agency.
- Does the legal owner have to notify me before taking my vehicle?
No. The legal owner is not required to notify you before your vehicle is repossessed. However, the legal owner must notify you in writing within 60 days that you have 15 days to arrange to get your car back before it is sold. If the vehicle was repossessed by a licensed repossession agency, the agency must notify you within 48 hours that they have repossessed your vehicle and must furnish you with a list of the personal items in the vehicle at the time it was repossessed.
- Can they repossess my vehicle if I have only missed one payment?
Yes. The conditions under which the vehicle may be repossessed are subject to the terms of the sales contract signed by you at the time you bought your vehicle. However, some legal owners will work with you to bring your payments up to date, even though they are not required by law to do so. If you expect a problem in making payment, you should contact the legal owner to make other arrangements for payment.
- Can they take my car at 4 a.m., or while I am in the grocery store?
As long as the repossessor agency employee does not enter any private building or any secured area he or she may take your vehicle at any time from any location. This does not mean that the repossessor agency employee can do anything that is illegal. The repossessor agency employee must obey the same laws that pertain to everyone.
- Can a repossessor agency employee agent break my gate, unlock my garage, move
other vehicles, or trample my landscape while trying to take my car?
No. repossessor agency employees are prohibited from entering any private building or secured area without the consent of the owner or the person in legal possession of the property. This includes any locked and fenced area. Any damage to buildings, fences, landscaping, or other vehicles should be reported to the police. In addition, a complaint should be filed with the Bureau. To get your money back for damaged personal property or real property, you will probably have to go to small claims court or hire an attorney. The Bureau has no jurisdiction to get your money back for damaged personal property.
- Should I hide my vehicle or physically protect it from the repossessor agency
No. A repossession agency with authorization from the legal owner will attempt to take your vehicle for the legal owner. If you hide the vehicle to avoid repossession, you may give up your right to continue with the same contract with the legal owner.
- Can a repossessor agency employee threaten my family or me?
No. A repossessor agency employee may not use violence or force in attempting to repossess a vehicle. If violence or force occurs, contact the police immediately. A repossessor agency employee may not use false or misleading statements or make threats in order to take your vehicle.
- What happens to my personal belongings in the car after my car has been
Licensed repossession agencies are required to make a list of all personal belongings found in a vehicle at the time of repossession. They are required to send you at your last known address of record, within 48 hours, a notice containing this list and informing you how to recover your personal belongings and the amount of storage fees owed, if any.
- Are my spare tire, tape deck, and mag wheels considered part of my personal
Items such as tape deck or mag wheels, which are installed as a permanent part of the vehicle generally, remain with the vehicle. So do items such as a spare tire or tire iron, which are normal equipment for a vehicle to carry. However, any item such as a removable camper shell, which was not included in the original contract for your vehicle, should be returned to you, although you may be asked to prove that you bought the camper shell separately.
- Should I be notified about who took my vehicle and why?
A repossession agency is required to provide you with a Notice of Seizure within 48 hours after taking possession of your vehicle. This notice must include the name, address, and telephone number of the legal owner and the name, address, and telephone number of the repossession agency. They should tell you that this Bureau regulates repossessor employees and that the repossession agency is required to give you a personal property inventory within 48 hours of the repossession, and that any damage to a vehicle during repossession is the responsibility of the repossession agency. To find out why your vehicle was repossessed you should contact the legal owner of your vehicle.
- What if my car is damaged during or after repossession?
The Notice of Seizure, which the repossession agency is required to send you lists that damage to a vehicle during or after repossession, is the responsibility of the repossession agency. Unfortunately, the Bureau cannot actually enforce this responsibility by making the repossession agency pay you for any damage to your car. In case of damage, you should take the repossession agency to small claims or civil court, depending on the estimated cost of repair. You should also file a written complaint with the Bureau, as several complaints of damage against the same repossession agency could result in disciplinary action against that agency.
- Can repossession agency employees drive my vehicle or use my personal effects
after they have repossessed my car?
No. A repossession agency employee may not use any vehicle or personal effects recovered from a consumer for personal benefit. If you believe your vehicle was used during the time the agency had it, you should file a complaint with the Bureau explaining the circumstances which lead you to believe it was used.
- What should I do if something is missing from my personal effects when I pick them
Mention it to the repossession company while you are there and ask them to check their storage area again. Note it on the release form if the items are not located. Follow up with a registered letter to the repossession agency (with a copy to the lien-holder) describing the missing items and ask them to locate them or reimburse you for them. If they don't comply with your request, send a written complaint to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. If some of your belongings are missing you should contact your local police department and begin a small claims court or civil court action to have the repossession agency repay you for your lost possessions.
- What about my personalized license plates?
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has advised us that personalized plates should be removed and stored with other personal effects. If you do not claim them within the 60 days, the repossession company should return them to the DMV.
- How do I get my vehicle back?
The legal owner must give you 15 days written notice before they can sell or otherwise dispose of your vehicle. This notice must be provided within 60 days after repossession. This notice should tell you how to redeem your vehicle and should give you the name and address of the person to contact about payment. Usually, you will be able to reinstate your loan contract by paying your back payments and the repossession fee, unless the legal owner can prove that you did one of the following: A. gave false information on your loan application B. hid the vehicle to keep it from being repossessed C. kept the vehicle in bad repair or damaged it on purpose If the vehicle loan is with your credit union or a finance company, the above information may not apply to you.
- What charges, if any, might I have to pay?
In addition to paying all or part of the contract balance, you may have to pay a repossession charge. Most vehicle installment loan contracts state that you may be charged for the costs of recovering the vehicle if you default on the loan payments. Therefore, the legal owners may charge you for the amount which they have been billed by the repossession agency. Also, most repossession agencies charge a fee for storage of personal items that were in the vehicle at the time it was repossessed. The amount of the storage fees must be given on the personal property notice prepared by the repossession agency and will be collected at the time you pick up your personal items. Many repossession agencies require that these charges be paid in CASH. If you choose not to make the payments within the 15 days allowed, the legal owner will arrange for your car to be sold. If the buyer does not pay the full contract balance, you may be required to pay the difference, which is referred to as a deficiency.
- How are the police involved in repossessions?
Immediately after the repossession, the repossessor must notify the local police or sheriff's department that he has taken your vehicle. As long as the repossessor has the proper identification and can show that the legal owner hired him to repossess your vehicle, the police will probably not interfere with the repossession, even if you call them. However, if you feel that the repossessor has threatened or harmed you or damaged your property, or entered your car or property illegally, you should call the police and file a police report.
- How do I file a complaint with the Bureau?
A consumer may contact the Department of Consumer Affairs', Consumer Information Center at 1-(800) 952-5210 and request a complaint form. Please provide copies of all documents relating to your complaint with your completed complaint form.