Harley Repo

Harley-Davidson is having trouble repossessing its motorcycles. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

When motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson released its earnings report last week, it noted that its credit loss rate—the rate of customers who don’t pay their bills—is higher than normal because of a shortage of repo agents. As the Wall Street Journal noted, who wants to repo a Harley from a Harley rider? When you think about it, the idea that someone could come and just take your car or motorcycle seems problematic even to the calmest of citizens.

But repossessions are legal if owners fail to make the payments, assuming the repo agent abides by some rules. By law, they can’t enter a locked garage or fenced-in parking area on your property. But if the car or bike is in the driveway or on the street, they can take it. And repo agents can’t risk a confrontation with the owner that would breach the peace. So do you want to tell an angry Harley owner to stay peaceful while you take his Harley? Me neither.

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