What Is Replevin?

Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: July 5th, 2017 |


As a matter of law, “replevin” means obtaining a court order to take back an item when the person who currently has the item stops making debt payments on it. The word itself comes from the Old French replevir, which translates to “recover.” Perhaps the best way to think about its importance as a debt collection tool is that a replevin action is a repossession where a sheriff’s deputy is authorized to act as the repo agent.


Why Would I Seek a Replevin Order?


Replevin differs from other kinds of debt collection because it involves recovering your collateral instead of continuing to ask for money, interest, and fees. An easy-to-understand, and common use, of replevin is auto sales.


When a person takes out a car loan, she agrees to put that car itself up as collateral for the money she borrowed to buy it. If she stops making car payments, the individual or organization that loaned her the money can either try to collect the money owed or try to seize the car.


Going to court to secure a replevin action does the following:


  • Affirms that the debt exists and is in arears,
  • Confirms that the item in question was put up as collateral,
  • Enforces the right to retake possession of the item in lieu of the money owed on it, and
  • Authorizes a law enforcement officer or officer of the court to seize the collateral.


How Do I Secure a Replevin Action?


Working closely with an experienced collateral recovery attorney while seeking a replevin action is highly recommended. The process requires going through a civil lawsuit, and meeting the standards for proof can be difficult without advice and assistance from a legal professional.


First, filing a request for a replevin action with your city or county district court makes you a “movant.” The person who currently has possession of the collateral becomes a “respondent.” Proving that a debt exists and that a contract contains repossession provisions is not enough. The court will also want to see evidence of these two things:


  • The respondent has no intention of returning the collateral voluntarily, and
  • The collateral may be damaged or permanently hidden, making it lose value or become unrecoverable.


Collecting, organizing, and presenting evidence for these two circumstances are often when a collateral recovery attorney proves his worth. Other evidence the movant must present include the last known location of the collateral and documentation of the respondent being given opportunities to settle the debt or surrender the collateral. The burden of proof falls on the movant. If, however, the respondent never replies to a notice that a replevin action has been initiated or fails to show up for a replevin hearing, judgment can still be entered for the movant.


If you need help recovering your collateral through a replevin action, contact a debt collection attorney with the Jones Law Firm online or by calling (614) 545-9998.

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