ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The struggling economy in the United States is causing an increase in car seizures.
What do you want to know
- According to Experian, Florida had the fifth highest repossession rate in the country last year.
- Florida Security and Recovery owner says he’s recovering more vehicles than usual, after business dips at start of pandemic
- Bill Ingram says struggling economy is forcing many vehicle owners to fall behind on payments
Vehicle seizures reported by Barron even doubled among so-called “primary” borrowers, or people with good credit ratings.
According to Experian, Florida had the fifth highest repossession rate in the nation last year.
Although statistics for this year are not yet available, Bill Ingram sees the problems every day.
“A lot of the time they’re behind on payment,” said Ingram, owner of Florida Security and Recovery.
His repossession business is in the business of recovering cars from people who owe money to their lenders.
During the pandemic, times were tough for him. It lost staff and many lenders weren’t looking for cars because they were delaying debt payments.
But now, in 2022, that has changed dramatically.
So much so that for a business that’s mostly run overnight, he heads out in the middle of the day to find a car that’s being traded in.
“With the economy and everything else, everybody’s struggling, so we’re taking them back,” Ingram said.
And picking them up is something he’s been doing more and more these days. According to Ingram, on a busy day they used to bring back about 10-12 cars. Now that’s his average.
“It just shows what’s going on with our economy,” Ingram said.
It can be a stressful job sometimes because the last thing people want is to have their car towed away.
But when the bill is long overdue, the bank’s last resort is to bring Ingram into the mix.
“When the economy is bad, that’s when foreclosures do best,” Ingram said. “It is kind of a shame.”
An understandable but sad reality at the moment.
That day, Ingram is looking for a car that he thinks is most likely at a place of work.
He says putting cars to work generally causes the least backlash from people who are behind on their payments, and his instincts are honed after decades in the business.
“Looks like we’re parking our car here,” he said, pointing to a vehicle in a parking lot after searching the area.
Because the skinny keeper sent multiple warnings before calling Ingram, his role is simply to get the car back to his lot and let the police know the car was not stolen but repossessed.
He says the experience isn’t always so smooth, but after hitching the car to his tow truck, he returns to his lot to take inventory of the latest pickup truck and take pictures of the car’s ins and outs.
“We try to get a little picture of everything,” Ingram said.
Whether in the middle of the night or in broad daylight, Ingram says, with the current state of the economy, his work won’t be slowing down any time soon.