Repossession is a process most consumers and car owners in Wisconsin want to avoid. For car owners who find themselves in this situation, it can be helpful for them to be familiar with consumer protections in their home state and what they can do about it if they are facing repossession.

When can a creditor pursue repossession in Wisconsin?

There are several repossession requirements creditors must meet when repossessing a motor vehicle in Wisconsin including:

  • The creditor must mail a notice to the owner of the vehicle that includes the name, address and phone number for the creditor; a brief description of the credit transaction; and a brief description of the vehicle being repossessed;
  • A statement that due to the consumer’s default, the creditor can repossess the vehicle without further notice or court proceeding;
  • A statement that if the consumer objects to the creditor’s right to repossess the vehicle, the consumer has 15 days after the creditor has provided notice to demand, in writing, that the creditor proceed in court; and
  • A statement that if the creditor proceeds in court, the consumer may be required to pay court costs and other fees.

What can consumers do about repossession and what are the penalties creditors can face for unlawful repossession actions?

Consumers have 15 days following notice from the creditor of the repossession action to inform the creditor in writing that they must proceed in court. Creditors face penalties if they fail to provide timely notice or follow required procedures when repossessing a vehicle including:

  • The consumer may keep the vehicle;
  • The customer may not be required to make further payments on the vehicle;
  • The customer may be able to recover all payments made on the vehicle; and
  • The customer may be able to recover costs and attorney’s fees.

It is important for consumers facing repossession in Wisconsin to be familiar with the protections available to them and the process creditors must follow to repossess their car. Understanding these protections, and how they work, can help Wisconsinites protect themselves from unlawful repossession actions.