"I skip-traced a guy for a couple of years on a big RV. He got the nicest RV and the biggest, fanciest pickup he could buy to pull it. Made three payments on each, all at once, then took off. So he was four months gone before he ever missed a payment and five to six months before anyone started paying attention.
Every month I called every one of his contacts, every past landlord, employer, and coworker looking for him. His adult kids would even call me regularly to see if I knew where he was because they couldn't find him either.
Finally, I get an anonymous phone call telling me where he'll be one morning. It just happened to be a trailer park in the town I lived in, so I showed up bright and early, double parked the truck/RV rig, and banged on the door. I got the tow truck out there while he was unpacking his RV for the repo, and called the loan guy for the truck.
By 9 a.m., he'd had his RV and truck repo'd and his kids informed of his whereabouts.
Wonder who he ticked off?"
"Repo dude here. Man, oh man, I've seen debtors do some crazy stuff.
A woman who was about to have her car repossessed jumped between the tow truck and her car and shouted that she was 8-months pregnant, and if the guy wanted the truck, he'd have to run over her and be a baby killer.
A debtor was having his truck repoed, so he got in his other car, and ran over the tow driver while he was hooking the truck up.
A driver hooked up a woman's car, and she freaked out, screaming that her wallet was in the back seat. The driver lets her open the door to get it, and she jumped in the back seat and said she wasn't leaving. The driver shrugged, and drove to their storage lot a couple of miles away, with her screaming in horror the entire way. That wasn't allowed, but I totally enjoyed the story later.
Guy had just pulled out of the driveway with a debtor's truck, and the debtor charged out with a weapon and shot at him. The driver dove out of the truck and called the police, and the debtor was arrested. A couple of weeks later, we got a call from the debtor that he had paid off his truck and got it back, but he wanted to report damage to the vehicle caused by the driver. The damage? A single shot on the car."
"When I was a freshman in college, I had a job working in a used car lot/new motorcycle dealership. I'd wash the cars, do basic maintenance like charge batteries, air up tires, put together new motorcycles (they came mostly assembled but there was some stuff you had to do to get them on the showroom.) Also, occasionally, the owner would send a couple of us to repossess vehicles. He had an extra set of keys to every car he sold just for that reason. This usually went off without a hitch.
Except for this one time. A guy was about six months behind on payments for the used pickup he bought. Actually, I don't think he even made a single payment. One day, the owner's son saw the pickup drive by the dealership. He grabbed the key and yelled for me to go with him. We jumped into his new 1981 Corvette and took off after the dude. We followed him at a distance and saw him pull into the Farmer's Market where apparently he worked. It wasn't an 'open to the public' type place, not like they are now.
We waited a bit, and then pulled into the gravel parking lot so that it wasn't easy to see us. He handed me the key, and I walked over to the truck real casual like, then jumped into the truck, shut and locked the doors, and tried to start it up. I noticed that the interior of the truck was just trashed, literally trashed as there was barely room to sit. Trash like cans, smoke packages, cups, empty bags of takeout food, you name it. Disgusting. Oh, and the truck wasn't starting. Oh, and here come six guys with boards and baseball bats. I unlock the door to make my exit.
The owner's son? He's tearing out of the parking lot, leaving me to my own devices. Crap! I close the door and lock it just as these ticked off large men arrive. They are screaming for me to get out and take my beating like a man. Then I see one of them fishing in his pocket for the keys. This whole time I'm trying to get this crappy truck to start. Just as he inserts the key into the lock, it starts. I throw it into reverse and just peel out like a madman.
One of them jumps into the bed, the rest of them follow me in a car. This truck is a piece of crap, it's listing to one side, it didn't have any shocks apparently and was bouncing all over, but that's OK, it just kept the guy in the bed hanging on for dear life instead of trying to smash the rear window out and strangle me.
It was about three miles back to the dealership down a major (thankfully smooth) road. When I pulled into the lot, the look on the guy's face in the back was priceless. I wasn't a thief, I was the repo man! The car with the five guys stopped, picked up my rider, and took off flipping me the bird and yelling that this wasn't over.
Then I walked over to the boss's son, who was amazed I was still alive, and quit."
"Guy bought a truck and got a loan through his credit union and then disappeared. Never even made the first payment. By the time his account hit my desk it was a 3 years' delinquent and multiple repo and skip trace companies just could not find the guy.
All my cursory searches hit dead ends just like all the other companies that had looked for him. One day I was looking at the original credit application and attempted to get in touch with one of the references listed there. Unfortunately, it was an old number and I had to do a search for the reference, whom I was able to find in a couple hours and left him a message to call me back. When he called me back we spoke about the debtor but he hadn't actually spoken to the guy in years. Said they used to be on the same semi-pro baseball team. He told me that he quit because of an injury but thought that the debtor might still play. He told me about a website the semi-pro league used but other than that he had no other info. I looked at the league page and sure enough, the guy was still an active participant. It was a pretty cool site in that it kept all the player's stats like a baseball card and included a picture and it turned out he had a game scheduled the very next night.
At this point, I wasn't even sure if the guy was driving the truck anymore, because like I said, it had been three years and the guy never even made one payment. When I ran into this type of scenario in the past, a lot of times the people weren't even driving the vehicle any longer. So instead of sending a repo truck out there, I decided to just go out and check it out myself. I talked to the driver beforehand and let him know what was up and to be on standby around the time I'd be at the game.
I get to the game and shortly after parking, I spot what I think is the truck I'm looking for. I casually stroll by and catch a look at the VIN and sure enough, it's the one. My heart is racing as I call the repo truck to get there asap. I give him as detailed layout as I can give over the phone so he can try and be quick.
At this point, I had about 15 minutes to kill, so I sat down and watched the game. My repo truck driver called me when he was right outside the parking lot. It turns out the debtor happened to just be walking up to the plate to take his turn at bat. I told him to come and get it. The type of repo truck we used at the time did not require the driver to even get out. Just back up, use the hydraulics to lift the vehicle, then boogie on out of there which is exactly what happened in this case. As he was pulling out the debtor realized what was happening and jumped into action to chase my repo guy with the bat in his hand. It was too late though and my repo guy got out of the parking lot with no problem.
This was in Dallas, TX and the law was that we had to call the local PD and report the repossession. I met the repo driver a few miles away and we called the repo in and reported it. We then did a quick survey of the contents of the vehicle. There was two 100 gallon igloo coolers full of ice and drinks. There must have been 10 cases there. It must have been the debtors turn to buy the drinks for the team. Unfortunately, I think they had to find other refreshments that day."
"I worked as a repo man for a major bank, my first job out of college in the mid-70s. The most fun I've had and got paid for.
A couple of debtors would just hide the collateral; like take it to a friend's or relative's house. One guy did that while I was at the front door; I was talking to his roommate when the debtor slipped out the back and drove the collateral off. I just calmly told the roommate to tell the guy that he will never know when we will be back, it could be in a few days, a few weeks, middle of the night, he can't hide it forever. And usually, when nothing happens, they get confident and forget. In this case, I knew where the guy worked, so I stole the collateral out of his workplace parking lot in the middle of the day.
Sometimes debtors declare bankruptcy, so part of the job was to go to court and represent the bank's interest. Most often, the debtor turns the car over to the bank as part of the bankruptcy. But this one guy told the judge he didn't own the car anymore; the short story is that he claimed he 'sold' it to his brother. The judge was not impressed, and for this and other shady dealings, threw the bankruptcy out. I picked up the collateral at the brother's house.
Divorce can create a sticky situation; ex-wife had the car but the ex-hubby was supposed to be making the payments (he wasn't). Ex-wife argued that there was nothing I could do. Wrong. I gave her a day; ex-husband came through with the payment.
The most frustrating ones are federal asset forfeiture, like IRS liens. The IRS would just take the car in satisfaction of the tax debt even though there was still an outstanding bank loan due on the car. The bank would just eat that loss.
Sometimes people lay low and hope nobody ever finds them. I had one case that was termed a 'charge-off,' the delinquency was about five months. Cruising my territory one day, there's the car outside a tavern. There was a phone booth outside the tavern (pre-cell phone era though I did have a pager). Called in and found the loan was still delinquent. I had the key to the car in my briefcase (lots of them, in fact, as we take the key code from the car dealer sales paperwork to a locksmith which has the key code and have a key cut). I was still on the phone with the central office when the debtor came out of the tavern and got in the car. I tailed him for a while then he figured out I was following him. He picked it up and tried to ditch me, I chased him all over the county until he was finally running out of gas and pulled into his girlfriend's house. I blustered that we considered it a 'stolen vehicle' and that he should turn it over to me before we get law enforcement involved. (They would not, of course). I'll never forget what he said to me: 'You guys are a heartless bunch of jerks.' I replied that heartless jerks would not have allowed free use of a car for five months.
The craziest: Most of the loans I worked were 'dealer paper' where a car dealer sells a new car and the bank buys the loan and cashes out the dealer. But there were a few cases where someone had just come into a branch and applied for a loan directly and put their car up for collateral. So I went out on a case for this kind of loan; went to the residence - the car, a station wagon, was in a field, no wheels, up on blocks, gutted inside only a bale of hay inside; it was being used as a chicken coop! Obviously, it had been like that for years. What the guy had done was bring the title into the bank to secure the loan, the loan officer never actually asked to physically inspect the vehicle, just made the loan based on the title document. Obviously, I left the 'coop' where it was and the loan officer got his butt chewed for that one."
"I babysat for a man who worked in a repo job and one of the worst stories he had involved this lady going crazy. One of his co-workers was called out to repo a woman's truck. So the man gets there and starts hooking up chains and all the equipment. The lady comes running out of her office, jumps in the truck and speeds off. Little did she know the repo man had accidentally chained himself to the back of the truck. She dragged him for almost a mile and ended up killing him.
The woman was charged with manslaughter and is currently in a state prison."
"My cousin used to buy, polish, and sell houses. They had this one family that was living in a house that got repossessed. When they came to inspect the house, the wife of the owner came out screaming that nobody was taking away their house. She did not even know why the house got repossessed.
Turns out, the way the lady and her husband lived in the house is by her paying all the utility bills and him paying for the house. The problem was that he had not been paying for the house for about six months at that time and never told her.
They fought tooth and nail to keep their house, but it was already owned by my cousin. My cousin and her husband eventually helped them move out, and they took the wires with them when they left. They took the electrical wires from all the walls and some of the pipes."
"I've seen people park their cars two miles from their house to throw me off. You own a car, sort of, yet you walk two miles to and from your car to keep it from being repossessed? I've found cars up to a mile from their workplace.
The best one was a woman who parked her car in the garage at home and in a secure garage at work. I parked my truck a couple of houses down and slowly walked by her house around the time that she left for work. The garage door opened, she started her car, she went back in the house for something, and I jumped in her car and drove away. It was completely illegal for me to enter her garage, but the possibility of losing that awful job was worth listening to her scream at me at the top of her lungs as I screeched out of there.
I only repossessed cars for six months, but I have endless stories of getting shot at, beaten up, chased by thugs, you name it."
"I worked for a major finance company a few years ago. We had one debtor that bought a new car, never made a payment, and kept the car hidden in the woods behind his house. We would have never found it but people like to talk and he bragged about it to his coworkers. One day, one of his coworkers called us anonymously because she was tired of hearing about it. We had been looking for the car for a year or more and found it that night.
We once repoed a car from a guy while he was at a friend's Christmas party, and once repoed a car from a lady who came in to make a payment. She was six or seven months past due and had been hiding the car, and somehow thought a half payment was good enough. We didn't actually do the repo, so we had to call an agent to get there before she left.
We also repoed a van from a couple who had a son with some sort of disability and thought for some reason because of that we should give them a free vehicle. They thought the way to go about getting the free vehicle was to finance a car and then never make any payments, and we would just let it go."
"The basic things to understand about repoing in California. A repo guy can't carry weapons of any sort. If you do and the cops get called, you go to jail. You can't break into anything. However, just because you have a lock on it, doesn't mean it's locked. If I can lift the gate off the hinges and not cut the lock, that isn't locked. The biggest thing is the cops do not in any way shape or form care about what the law actually is. So you never know how law enforcement will react. Some sympathize with you and break the law trying to punish the deadbeat. Some hate your guts and no matter what you've lost before they even show up. Some don't care at all.
One of my all-time greatest hits was a car I didn't even repo. Many times we would hit an area in a night and stash the cars at places in town. This was the case with an F-150 in Barstow. So I went to get the truck from a park and ride after it had been collected the night before. My truck had been in for rear brake maintenance early in the morning. As I was coming down the Cajon pass, the tire came off of my truck. So I'm stuck with no tire on the 15 freeway. From out of nowhere, this car pulls up behind me. Two guys get out and ask if I need help. I answer no, a little suspicious. As they walk back to their car one gets in the cab of the repossessed F150. The previous vehicle owners saw me stuck on the road and think they are getting the truck back. A huge argument starts. I call CHP, they are on the way. The other guys from my company show up to assist with my breakdown. The whole situation goes to poop. My partner is at least 350lbs. He breaks a window and pulls the dude out of the cab. Giant fist fight starts. The guy I'm fighting grabs a piece of cement and bashes me in the head, and I black out for a second. When I come around, I jump on him and start trying to choke him to death. He's purple and out cold by the time my partner pulls me off him. The almost dead guy gets pulled up by his buddy and limps to their car. CHP shows up and asks a ton of questions. CHP is sure those guys are going to jail. At the end of the exchange, they break the news that the San Bernardino County Sheriff is involved. The other dudes went down the hill and called the sheriffs. CHP says they are giving the case to them. When we get down to the sheriffs, they say we committed assault. I almost go to jail for poking the sheriff in the chest telling him to go screw himself. Much older mechanic friend that showed up pushes me to paramedics for the six-inch tall bump on the back of my head. So we don't go to jail, but the sheriff ends up making us give the truck back. I am an anger incarnate. Went back the next night and repo'd the truck again. And relocated the driveshaft on their other car to a dumpster. Great night.
I got good at cutting keys on the fly. You take a blank key for the make and model, use the ignition to make an imprint, and then file the reverse by hand with a file. I also got super good at butterfly picks. So I was working an RV repo in Rialto. Found the RV in front of the registered owner's house. It's about 2 a.m. I've got no keys and I don't feel like replacing the lock cylinder in the dark. So I gain access to the inside of the RV and decide to cut a key. Usually takes me 10 minutes. So I'm filing away when I hear a door slam. Somebody saw my flashlight waving around inside. This gnarly looking dude has a weapon and he's lining up. Somehow, I threw open the driver side window and snaked through it. I have never contorted like that, nor ran that fast in my entire life. The guy took at least two pot shots into the dark. I let somebody else have that one."
"Years ago, we had a customer that took out a loan for a vehicle. In the beginning, this customer paid on time. However, as time went on, her payments kept getting further and further behind until she was way behind and in trouble. She called the manager to talk to him about what she could do and told my manager that her son was at a local children's hospital with heart problems.
We worked out a plan for her, but she still failed to make payments. She came into the office when the other lady and I were the only two there. She told us all about her son's illness and that he may need heart surgery. Her son wasn't even school-age. We'd seen that child. He had come into the office with his mother more than once. We were heartbroken for this lady. She was crying and we were crying with her. I asked if would she like my church to pray for her child and her family. She said she would.
Although no names were used, a person we knew thought they recognized the family. He went to speak to the family. Later he told me that he must've been wrong because the child of the family he knew was perfectly well.
I didn't tell him anything. I didn't even answer clearly. He didn't go to the wrong family. When he told me the name of the family he went to, I knew that was my customer. She had been lying to us about that child this entire time. Not only was that child not in the hospital, but he had never been sick. Her husband didn't know she even had this loan. He certainly did not know that his son was being used as an excuse for not paying this loan.
My repo company repossessed that car on the parking lot of Toys R Us on Christmas Eve. It had Santa Claus in the backseat.
I still think about that stupid woman and I wonder if she and her then-husband are even still married."
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"Many moons ago, I had an employee who had previously been a repo-man. His best story impressed me with its ingenuity.
He had been tasked with repossessing vehicles from a number of unsavory folks. Instead of endangering himself, he simply arrived at the property with a large volume of inexpensive drinks and told the debtors that they had won a contest from the local store.
He returned about three hours later and removed the vehicle without incident."
"There are people who will accept a friend invitation from anybody on Facebook whether they know them or not. My repo company has several Facebook accounts for both men and women. They find customers that they're going to repo on Facebook and they friend them. This one customer was a woman. My repo guy friended her and flirted. He made arrangements to meet her outside of the casino for a little 'extra-curricular' activity. The woman was married, but she still was ready to meet him. He went there, found the vehicle, and entered the casino to see where she was. He then went outside and repoed her car. She figured it out when she went out later and found out that her car was gone. She was not happy.
Another one of my favorite repo stories is when my current repo company repo'd a car in the middle the night in front of the trailer in a trailer park. The woman did not know that the bills were not being paid. When my repo company hooked the truck, the man came running out there hollering and screaming and naked. The woman followed him. That's the first time she learned that the bills are not being paid. My repo company drove off with the truck as the woman was beating up the naked guy."