Creditors have the legal right to repossess a debtor’s vehicle in Wisconsin in the event that the debtor defaults on repaying a debt. This is a paradigm shift from the previous law that was in place several years ago and has diluted consumers’ rights substantially.
The new repossession law allows the creditor to repossess a person’s vehicle without going through the court system. Many people have expressed opposition to the law, which has been heavily criticized on the grounds that it takes away consumers’ rights to property.
While no court order is required under Wisconsin law for the creditor to repossess the vehicle of a defaulting debtor, the creditor is legally required to give the debtor a notice of the repossession. The notice that the creditor serves must contain name and address along with a description of the disputed transaction. The notice must also state that the vehicle is being repossessed on the grounds that the debtor has defaulted in repaying other debts.
The debtor, however, does have some legal recourse under Wisconsin law. Many debtors decide to get more information about their legal options when they are faced with such a repossession notice, which states that no court order is necessary. The debtor has the legal right to respond to such a repossession notice within 15 days of being served the notice.
The debtor can dispute the non-repayment or the debt itself. The debtor is also given the legal right to demand a court hearing. The debtor may, however, be liable to pay legal fees in the event that the creditor goes through the legal proceeding at the debtor’s request.
Source: WisBar.org, “Wisconsin’s new automobile repossession law: creditors in the driver’s seat“, Accessed April 28, 2015