Repo Men Use Social Media To Find Cars.

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In a tough economy, a segment that usually benefits is the vehicle repossession companies.

While the repo-men and women still use old-fashioned methods to find cars more and more of them are turning to technology-including social media-to locate them.

“What’s the address of that one on North Champion? Is it out back? It’s out back, right? Okay we’re in route.”

Owner of Asend Recovery E.C. Canterbury pulls up to the 2006 Ford 500 parked on the side of the house within minutes. His spotters got full cooperation from the owner who pulled the car out of the garage. In less than 20 seconds Canterbury connects the car and is on his way back to the lot.

Soon after Canterbury heads to a Southeast Columbus location for a Chevy van.

“That’s our vehicle so we’re going to circle the block.” Canterbury says.

Within 30 seconds, the van is hooked up and towed around the corner. The vehicle moves sideways so Canterbury pulls over and readjusts the van.

“You can be in and out 20 seconds. Like I said if it wasn’t for the fact the wheel was cocked you saw how fast we got in and pulled out you’re gone in that amount of time a matter of seconds.” Canterbury says.

Canterbury goes on to say when owners don’t cooperate it can take up to a year or longer to capture some vehicles. That’s where technology can help. Some repo-companies are finding success by using Facebook and Myspace.

“We’ve gone on there and typed with them and told them who we are hey you know we need to talk in regard to your agreement with this finance company. So you were really up front with them. Right, we don’t try, we’re not trying to be deceptive.” Canterbury says.

They also do internet searches. Denise Trago traces cars for Mid-Ohio Recovery Services using a keyboard and mouse.

“For example this has a 2006 court record. It’s probably not going to be very close for us, but we can at least see if the address is close to around what we’re looking for.” Trago says.

Owner of Mid-Ohio Recovery, Paul Schafhausen says there are many other web search engines he uses to track down vehicles.

“People search, classmates dot com, Franklin county records and Ohio Secretary of State have been our big ones.” Shafhausen explains.

Yet, despite all the technology repo companies says it often still comes down to low tech drive-bys and stake-outs to retrieve repos.