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I reposessed a vehicle when the buyer did not make payments on it as agreed. I have a signed bill of sale, promise to pay and by when date. I signed the back of the title as line holder at the time of sale. I tried to call and sent a certified letter to the buyer that was never socked for. The buyer is now trying to say it was illegally reposessed and is going to take me to court. Proper paperwork was filed out for the tow company to take it. Does this buyer have any legal case?  South Dakota is the state.
Thank you

Hard to say.  South Dakota appears to follow standard Uniform Commercial Code rules.  I am assuming that the vehicle title showed you as lienholder and that you had a "security agreement," which means that somewhere in the bill of sale or otherwise there was a specific agreement that you had a lien in the vehicle and could enforce it if payments were not made.

I don't know what the repo company did to repossess.  Did the repo company break into a garage to get the car or do something like that?  The manner of repossession can be important.

But assuming that the repo company did nothing wrong, that the title showed you as lienholder, and that you had a security agreement, you are probably fine.  Some states (e.g., Wyoming) requires that the security agreement be filed with the county clerk.  I do not know if South Dakota has such a requirement.

Find out why the buyer thinks the repossession was illegal and, if need be, consult an attorney if the buyer's reason appears to have validity.

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Michael T. Hertz


I can answer most questions concerning bankruptcy, whether business or personal, including questions by debtors, creditors, persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcy estates, and the like. Also have expertise in tort law, French and Canadian law.


Practiced bankruptcy for 27 years in California and taught bankruptcy for three years in Maine. This included Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12 and 13 cases, representing debtors, creditors (secured and unsecured), bankruptcy trustees, creditors committees, and persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcies. Debtors included persons with virtually no money up to large corporations.

Inactive member of the Bar of the State of California. Nonpracticing member of the Bar of Massachusetts. Formerly member of the Maine Bar and conseil juridique in France. Certified by National Committee on Accreditation in Canada.

Georgetown Law Review; California Bankruptcy Journal; Maine Law Review; Dalhousie Law Journal; University of Toronto Law Journal.

Harvard Law School (J.D. 1970; cum laude) and Pomona College (B.A., 1967; cum laude)

Awards and Honors
Selected as a "Superlawyer" in 2005 and 2006 for Northern California.

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