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For those of you who like the repo shows on TV:
Posted 14 September 2004 - 11:09 AM
Lights, Camera.... Uninsurable
Some repossessors say that repossessing a car is an adrenaline rush. That taking a debtor's car in the dark of night...or better yet in broad daylight is a thrill. repossession is an industry that finds the general public's lack of knowledge an asset. Everyone knows, while some don't like to admit it, that when you buy something, you're expected to pay for it. What everyone hasn't known is how the seller goes about getting their property back when it's not paid for. Those days however are quickly coming to an end, ass the least sophisticated buyer learns from nightly television how the process works and more importantly how to stop it.
The repossession industry is slowly killing itself. It's bad enough that lenders want companies to work contingent and that lenders dictate how much repossessors can charge for their services; but when repossessors appear on television and explain to a television host and crew that they have to be careful and quiet, not making any noise to bring attention, because if they do all the debtor has to do is say stop and they're supposed to leave, then what do we expect the debtor to do when the next repossessor comes around?
But now let's turn out attention to what happens when attention is brought to an industry whose best ally has always been secrecy. Now a television host and crew, who proclaim to be going out on real repossessions, tag along and encounter the debtor...that would be 3rd party discloser (while the debtor's face may have been blocked to the general viewing public the host and camera crew weren't blindfolded). In litigation terms that would be embarrassment (ching) and violations of privacy (ching, ching).
Then on most of the segments you find blazing examples of what not to do. And it is these "professionals" that make themselves and anyone else who appears on these shows, uninsurable. There are excerpts that show repossessors breaking into homes, putting padlocks on fences so debtor's can't enter their property, manhandling debots or 3rd parties, brandishing firearms, and deceptive and illegal pretexting; and that's just the tip of the iceberg. While these shows may be momentary entertainment for some, they are evidence or "Exhibit A" for a debtor's attorney. And we all know that attorneys who handle repossession cases like trials by jury. Now what happens when your jury pool has seen what they believe really happens? The repossessor finds himself found guilty and post judgement awards start to skyrocket.
But not only has the general public - a/k/a/ possible debtor's seen these series, attorneys who specialize in suing banks and repossession companies are seeing it, and so are insurance underwriters. And while the debtor's attorney is loving it, the latter are not liking what they are seeing, because it makes the entire industry practically uninsurable. You don't have to be the one breaking doors down or showing a gun, it only has to be shown that it is common to the industry, and the likelihood of someone else doing the same thing is dramatically increased. These shows start to show that the "Repo Rambo" is the rule instead of the exception.
After seeing the activities of most of the participants on these series, RSIG's board has approved a new membership policy to terminate its relationship with members who choose to participate in these programs. We also will not consider those who apply for membership who have been featured on these programs.
For the future of the repossession industry as a whole or on the scale closer to home, to maintain your ability to be defended when sued, we encourage our members not to be tempted by the idea of game and to remember that continued membership will be affect by their participation in these programs.
For those who somehow don't understand, this is a Kiss of Death to all companies who have participated in any repo show. Of course, there are 2-3 other big insurance companies, but the fact that they said they wouldn't accept applications for membership from outsiders leads me to believe that Prime and American Lenders have banned the practice, as well.
I don't really care, because I've always seen the shows as an overdramatization full of cowboys and cheap pimps. If you'll notice, the recent episode of Stealing for a Living featured nobody from the mainland U.S., and the only white guy on the show didn't have any footage of his repo. TLC is running scared.
Posted 14 September 2004 - 11:28 AM
But is it true that if someone asks you to stop you have to leave? If so how do you ever repossess anything?
Posted 14 September 2004 - 12:27 PM
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