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Vehicle Repossessions

Creditors Must Follow Strict Rules when Repossessing Your Car or Truck

Creditors must follow strict procedures before they can lawfully repossess your car

Having a car repossessed can throw one’s life into a tailspin. You can’t get to work, you have to ask friends for favors, and the a car repossession can cause significant shame and distress. The Wisconsin Consumer Act (WCA) provides consumers with specific rights regarding vehicle repossessions to reduce these ill effects.

While creditors do have the right to repossess their collateral in your loan (your car) if you fall too far behind on payments, they must follow strict statutory guidelines to do so lawfully. Unfortunately, creditors commonly conduct unlawful repossessions. Fortunately, the WCA provides substantial remedies if you are the victim of an unlawful vehicle repossession.

Creditors must provide notice of default

Before a lawful repossession occurs, you must be in “default” on your loan.  Usually, a “default” occurs when an amount equal to one full payment has remained unpaid for more than 10 days after the scheduled or deferred due date. If a creditor believes you are in default, they must give you a written notice of default before they can repossess your car.

Creditors must provide a notice of your right to cure the default

Creditors must also give you notice of your right to cure the default by mail. This right to cure must meet a number of statutory requirements; failure to meet these is one of the most common reasons for unlawful vehicle repossessions. Even if the right to cure includes all the correct information, creditors must wait 15 days after providing the notice of your right to cure before they can repossess your car.

Creditors cannot breach the peace or invade your privacy

Even if they have followed all the rules and may lawfully repossess your vehicle, a creditor cannot breach the peace while doing so.  If you verbally object to the repossession as it is taking place (e.g., simply telling the repo person to “stop”), the creditor must stop the repossession. If they don’t stop, the repossession was unlawful. Creditors also cannot enter your home or garage in order to repossess your vehicle.

Call us today if you believe your vehicle may have been unlawfully repossessed

The Wisconsin Consumer Act provides substantial remedies to those who suffer unlawful repossessions. You may be entitled to:

  • keep your vehicle without any obligation to make further payments under the loan
  • recover all prior payments you have already made under the loan, including any down payment
  • recover your attorneys’ fees and costss

Please contact the Consumer Protection attorneys at Hawks Quindel to discuss your case.

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Please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation or legal rights with a Wisconsin workers compensation attorney.

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Nicholas Fairweather
Michael Godbe
Colin Good
Caitlin Madden