Repossessing Automobile Collateral in Georgia
Repossession of personal property, which has been used as collateral for a loan, is governed
by Section 6 of the Georgia Commercial Code Annotated. The Georgia repossession process is
fairly straight forward with only a few notices required to be sent to the borrower. However,
each notice must contain very specific language and be sent in accordance with the specific
time frames as laid out in the Georgia Code. The following paragraphs provide a brief
overview of the Georgia Code’s requirements.
The first notice to the borrower is not an official part of the repossession process, but is laid
out and made a part of the initial financing agreement or contract. This notice is the
disclosure to the borrower of the remedies in the case of default. It is important to review the
contract carefully to ensure it does not provide the borrower with additional rights or notice
requirements above and beyond what is required by Georgia law.
Once the borrower has breached the terms of the contract, the lender is allowed to employ
“self-help” repossession. Repossession must occur without “breach of the peace” which
means no laws can be violated and no actions taken that disturb the public tranquility.  For
example, a repossession company cannot remove a vehicle from a borrower’s garage or
remove an automobile that is in plain view on a property where ‘no trespassing’ signs have
Once repossession has occurred, the first notice required to be given to the borrower is a
Notice of Right to Redeem. The Lender cannot recover a deficiency against the borrower
unless the lender notifies the borrower by registered/certified mail or statutory overnight
delivery within ten days of repossession that the Lender intends to pursue a deficiency. Said
notice must inform the borrower of his/her right to redeem and right to demand a public sale.
If the borrower chooses his/her right to demand a public sale, the borrower must notify the
Lender by registered/certified mail or statutory overnight delivery within 10 days after the
posting of the Lender’s original notice. This Notice is only a requirement if the Lender intends
to pursue a deficiency judgment.
The central requirement of the Georgia repossession process is the Notice of Sale. This notice
must be sent at least ten (10) days prior to the auction of the repossessed property. The
Lender must notify the borrower and any secondary obligors in writing via regular mail
(unless he/she has waived notice after default) of the time and place of the sale, method of
sale and a description of the collateral. The notice must also state that the borrower is
entitled to an accounting of the unpaid indebtedness, the potential of any liability for
deficiency, a telephone number or mailing address for obtaining additional information
regarding amounts owed, and a telephone number or mailing address for obtaining
additional information concerning the disposition and obligation secured.
Upon completion of the above requirements, the Lender may dispose of the property via
public or private sale. All aspects of the disposition of the collateral, including the method,
manner, time, place and other terms must be commercially reasonable. The fact that a
greater amount may have been obtainable under other circumstances is not preclusion to
commercial reasonableness. A disposition is commercially reasonable if it is made in the
usual manner on the recognized market, at a reasonable price, and otherwise in conformity
with reasonable commercial practices as they relate to goods of that type.
After the sale, the lender must provide proper title to the purchaser. The Georgia DMV has
procedures in place for non-conforming titles, conforming titles and a process for unavailable
titles. If there is a deficiency remaining after the sale of the collateral, it can be turned into a
judgment, if suit is filed.
 In the event the automobile cannot be repossessed without a breach of the peace, the
creditor can always resort to judicial process to attempt to obtain a judgment for the debt
and a writ of possession for the collateral.
For more information on repossession of personal property in Georgia, please contact our
Georgia office at 404-566- 4818.
S&E Attorneys &
Stern & Eisenberg is a leading regional firm serving twelve states and the District of Columbia. For over forty years, Stern & Eisenberg has built a collaborative, diverse, high-performing team environment which promotes data-driven decision-making, creates innovative opportunities, and allows for performance, operational, and technological seamlessness across its multi-state footprint. Click here to contact the S&E Value Department.