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Motor Vehicle Repossession in Wisconsin

Notice to Customer
In Wisconsin, a creditor can repossess a motor vehicle if it mails a notice to the customer with the following information:
  1. The name, address, and telephone number of the creditor, a brief identification of the credit transaction, and a brief description of the motor vehicle.
  2. A statement that, as a result of the customerís default on the loan, the creditor has the right to take possession of the motor vehicle without further notice or court proceeding.
  3. A statement that if the customer is not in default or objects to the creditorís right to take the motor vehicle, the customer may, no later than 15 days after the creditor has given the notice, demand that the creditor proceed in court by notifying the creditor in writing.
  4. A statement that if the creditor proceeds in court, the customer may be required to pay court costs (i.e. filing fee and mailing cost) and attorney fees (usually $100-$500).
Penalties for Not Sending a Notice to the Customer
If a creditor does not give this notice to a customer, the creditor is subject to the following penalties:
  1. $25 and
  2. Actual damages sustained by the customer because of the violation.
Requesting a Court Case
If you would like to request that the creditor proceed in court with the repossession, you will need to:
  1. Write a letter to the creditor within 15 days after the creditor gave the notice. The sooner the better!
    1. Tell the creditor to stop repossession of your motor vehicle.
    2. State that you wish to take this dispute to court.
    3. Include a copy of the notice you received to make sure the creditor knows which motor vehicle is being discussed.
  2. Remember to keep a copy of any letters you send to the creditor and keep a record of any phone conversations you have with them.
Advantages of Requesting a Court Case:
  1. Allows you to object to what the creditor claims, if you believe they are wrong.
  2. If you contest, you are provided more time to:
    1. come up with the money that is needed to pay the creditor back.
    2. take care of current responsibilities that you may have and that require a car.
Disadvantages of Requesting a Court Case:
  1. If you lose, your vehicle will still be taken.
  2. You may have to pay court costs and attorney fees of the creditor.

The above is intended to provide general information only and is not a substitute for thorough and specific advice on an individual case. Depending on the complexity of your legal problem, you may need to consult an attorney for advice or representation.

This was prepared by the staff of Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. on behalf of low-income clients and was funded by the Legal Services Corporation, Washington, D.C. 20005. Any opinions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be construed as those of the Legal Services Corporation.

Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the provision of services or in employment. If you need printed material interpreted or in a different form, or if you need assistance in using our services, please inform us. Deaf, hearing-impaired, or speech-impaired callers may reach us through the Wisconsin Telecommunication Relay System (711 or 1-800-947-3529).

©July 2006 Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc.

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