Regardless of the location of the financial institution that services your auto loan, if you reside in Wisconsin, it must follow the rules set by the state legislature and the Federal Trade Commission. If you unexpectedly find an individual attempting to repossess your vehicle, you may file a complaint and seek damages.
Repossession cannot occur until after your creditor has sent you a written notice of default. Generally, a creditor’s notice must provide you with your rights in catching up on any missed payments and give you at least 15 days to update your account.
When may I claim damages against a creditor for violating my rights?
You may take action after bringing your loan out of “default” status if you find that a creditor continues with an attempt to repossess your vehicle. As reported by U.S. News and World Report, a popular vehicle manufacturer’s lender wrongfully retrieved hundreds of cars even though consumers made their payments.
To avoid repossession, a consumer needed to either stay current on the loan or below the 60-day threshold of when the lender considered the account “past due.” According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the vehicle manufacturer’s lending company repossessed cars from individuals who were below the 60-day threshold. The company also repossessed vehicles with borrowers’ personal belongings inside and charged them storage fees.
How much relief may I receive from a wrongful repossession?
A government agency filed a legal action on behalf of the hundreds of consumers hurt by the improper repossessions. The creditor denied wrongdoing but agreed to pay the affected borrowers a total of up to $1 million to settle the claim. Each situation is, however, unique, and you may seek a fair and reasonable remedy for the damage you sustained if you experience a wrongful vehicle repossession.