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Secrets of a repo man

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"He came out of his bedroom loading a handgun...."

The stories you are about to read are true. The identity of this local "Repo Man" will remain a secret. He agreed to speak to me on condition of anonymity.

Dow: "How long have you been in the business, and how did you get started?"

Repo Man: "I've been towing for 20 years now. As for repossessions, I started doing that about 15 years ago. I was drawn by the challenge of it. It is a challenge at times. You never know what's going to happen."

Dow: "What is the process for a repossession? Does the bank contact you directly?"

Repo Man: "The bank will email or fax over an order on a vehicle they need repossessed. Or, it might be a piece of equipment or stuff like that."

Dow: "At what point does a vehicle become repossessed by the bank?"

Repo Man: "These days, the banks are waiting longer and working with people because there is so much stuff going back. The banks just want their money. They don't really want to repossess the vehicles. Usually, you have to be three months behind before the banks will put a repossession order out."

Dow: "Ideally, do you try to repossess a vehicle when the person is not around?"

Repo Man: "We try to avoid confrontation. If there is confrontation, we just leave the scene."

Dow: "Do you come back when the coast is clear?"

Repo Man: "We'll follow the person until they drop their guard by going to the mall or going to the steakhouse to have supper. We'll take the vehicle while they're inside so there's no confrontation. Seventy-five percent of the time, we try to engage in conversation with the person just to let them know that we're only doing our job."

Dow: "How do most people react when you say that?"

Repo Man: "Some people understand. People know when they're behind. You feel bad when you're repossessing somebody's vehicle. It might be a tractor-trailer, a car or a truck. What I feel worst about is when we have to repossess a small 4-wheeler or mini-bike that somebody has purchased for their children and couldn't make the payments on."

Dow: "Ever do a 'repo' where things didn't quite go as planned?"

Repo Man: "I had a situation where a man invited me into his home. He said he wanted to put his shoes on to go clean out his truck. He came out of his bedroom loading a handgun. I said, 'I don't need any part of this.' He said, 'It's not for you.' He went outside, shot up his truck and said, 'Now you can take it.'

Dow: "So you loaded up a truck full of bullet holes."

Repo Man: "Yes. And I just purchased one at an auction full of axe holes. Somebody repossessed it up north and it was right full of axe holes. Before that 'repo guy' could get to it, the guy took an axe to it."

Dow: "Have you ever had a situation where you feared for your life?"

Repo Man: "Not really, but I've had situations where people try to intimidate me or they'll just holler and scream at me. One of my drivers did a repossession once where the customer set the car on fire when it was on the back of the truck."

Dow: "How did you handle that?"

Repo Man: "I had my driver on the phone. He said, 'Oh my God, there is smoke coming out of the car.' He called the fire department and the people ended up pleading guilty to arson and destroying bank property."

Dow: "Is a bad economy good for the repossession business?"

Repo Man: "Yes. Some people need to realize that if they can't make their car payment, they shouldn't go out and have a steak dinner, they need to pay their bills. The expendable income is not there anymore."

Dow: "Has anyone ever tried to pay you not to take their car?"

Repo Man: "Many times. I've had them try to pay me in money, sex, anything that you can think of, it's been offered to us in exchange for not taking their vehicle."

Dow: "Do you repossess property every day?"

Repo Man: "We take holidays off. That's a company policy. We don't repossess at Christmas or Thanksgiving. Other than that, it's seven days a week."


Mike Dow is part of The Mike and Mike Show airing each morning on Kiss 94.5. Check him out at www.facebook.com/mikeandmike and www.mikedow.net.

Last modified on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 15:45

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