A car loan or lease is a legal contract between you and the creditor. In Wisconsin, a creditor has the right to repossess a vehicle if the customer falls behind on their payments. However, not all vehicle repossessions are performed legally. Even if you are behind on your payments, you still have rights. The creditor must adhere to strict statutory guidelines listed in the Wisconsin Consumer Act in order for the repossession to be lawful.
1Notice: They must provide notice that you are behind on your payments prior to repossession. The notice must include specific information listed in the Wisconsin Consumer Act.
2Right to Cure: They must provide you with the right to cure the default. This means that the creditor must give you a chance to get up to date on the loan or lease before repossessing your car.
3Request for Court Proceeding: They may not repossess the vehicle if you request, in writing, court proceedings within 15 days of receiving notice that you are behind on your payments.
4Breach of Peace: They cannot breach the peace while repossessing your vehicle. For example, if you verbally object to the repossession as it is taking place, the creditor must stop the repossession.
5Privacy: They may not enter a private dwelling or garage in order to repossess the vehicle.
If your vehicle was illegally repossessed, you may be entitled to:
- Keep your vehicle without obligation to make further payments under the loan or contract;
- Recover any previous payments you paid under the loan or contract;
- Recover your down payment;
- Recover attorneys’ fees and costs.