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:
name, address, and telephone number of the creditor, a brief identification of
the credit transaction, and a brief description of the motor vehicle.
statement that, as a result of the customer’s default on the loan, the creditor
has the right to take possession of the motor vehicle without further notice or
statement that if the customer is not in default or objects to the creditor’s
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.
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
* Note: The Notice need only be sent to the address the
customer gave the creditor when purchasing the vehicle or to whatever new
address the customer provided to the creditor. Unless the creditor has reason
to know of a different address, it is under no duty to try to find the
customer’s correct address.
Verbal Objection/ Breaching
The creditor cannot breach the peace during repossession.
Thus, if the customer verbally objects to the repossession (and, perhaps, calls
the police) as the repossession is taking place, it is no longer a lawful
repossession because the creditor has breached the peace.
Penalties for Unlawful
If a creditor does not give this notice to a customer or if
it gets a timely objection to a notice and then repossesses the vehicle anyway,
the creditor is subject to the following penalties:
gets to keep the vehicle
is no longer required to make further payments on the vehicle
is entitled to recover all payments made and
recovers costs and attorney’s fees.
Requesting a Court Case/Objecting
If you want the creditor to proceed in court with the
repossession, you need to:
a letter to the creditor within 15 days after the creditor gave the
Do NOT Delay!
the creditor: “Do NOT repossess my vehicle.”
that you want the creditor to “Take me to Court” to resolve this dispute.
a copy of the notice you received to make sure the creditor knows which motor
vehicle is being discussed.
to keep a copy of any letters you send to the creditor and keep a record of any
phone conversations you have with them.
*Do NOT just call the creditor to object. You must mail (or
fax if they provide a fax number) the response described above.
Advantages of Requesting a Court Case
you to object to what the creditor claims, if you believe they are wrong.
you contest, you are provided more time to:
up with the money that is needed to pay the creditor back or to enter into a
new payment arrangement (if the creditor is willing).
care of current responsibilities that you may have and that require a car.
Disadvantages of Requesting a Court Case
you lose, your vehicle will still be taken.
may have to pay court costs and attorney fees of the creditor if you do not
See Wis. Stat. 425/ The requirements for lawful
repossession are under 425.205(1g). Prohibition on breaching the peace can be
found at 425.206(2). Remedies are found at 425.305.
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
Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. does not
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employment. If you need printed material interpreted or in a different form,
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