Things creditors cannot do in a repossession

On Behalf of | May 6, 2020 | Consumer Protection |

We’ve all heard the repossession horror stories.  We’ve all seen the movie scenes where a tow truck driver creeps up to an unsuspecting vehicle owner’s home in the wee hours of the morning only to ultimately set off a ruckus that wakes the whole neighborhood. Have you ever wondered though, is this really the way repossession happens?

In this post, we are going to tell you what a creditor is not legally able to do when attempting to repossess your vehicle. If any one of these rules are violated, a consumer may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit for unlawful repossession.

First, a creditor cannot attempt to repossess a vehicle prior to the passing of 15 days from the date notice is sent to the consumer. For example, if a letter of default is placed in the mail on February 1st, the vehicle may not be pursued prior to February 16th. Second, a repossession cannot breach the peace. This includes your own verbal objections, which is the reason many repo trucks show up in the middle of the night. If they can slip in, get the vehicle, and get away without waking you, they will not have to worry about your verbal objections.

However, if you do wake, and you verbally tell the person to stop or get away from your vehicle, then they must comply.  Doing anything otherwise is considered a breach of peace, and therefore makes it an unlawful repossession. Physical violence is not necessary, and will not help your case.  Third, they cannot violate your privacy by opening a gate, even if it unlocked, or entering your garage or home. Just as any other person, a repossession agent has no right to be within certain confines of your property.

If you believe any one of these rules have been violated in an attempted repossession of your vehicle in the state of Wisconsin, consult with an attorney to determine your best option for recourse.  You may be entitled to have your vehicle returned to you, or be compensated if it has already been stolen and repossession is deemed unlawful.