Can my car really be repossessed?

In Wisconsin, a creditor can repossess a motor vehicle that is used for collateral if your loan is in default.  Default in Wisconsin is two months and 10 days past due. The creditor must mail a notice to you that contains the following information:

 The name, address, and telephone number of the creditor, a brief identification of the credit transaction, and a brief description of the car.

 A statement saying that, as a result of your default on the loan, the creditor has the right to take possession of your car without further notice or court proceeding.

 A statement saying that, if you believe that you are not in default or otherwise object to the creditor’s right to take you car, that you may, no later than 15 days after the creditor has given notice, demand in writing that the creditor proceed instead, by taking you to court

 A statement saying that if the creditor proceeds in court, you may be required to pay court costs (including the filing fee and mailing cost) and the attorney fees.

If you want to request that the creditor proceed with the repossession through the courts, you MUST deliver a letter within 15 days after the creditor gave you the notice. In the letter you need to tell the creditor to stop the repossession of your car. You also need to state that you wish to take your dispute to court. Include a copy of the notice you received to make sure the creditor knows the specifics of your case. Always keep a copy of letters that you have received and those you have mailed. It is also wise to keep notes about conversations you have had with creditors. Make note of who you talked to, the date, time and the content of what was said.

By requesting that the creditor take you to court, you will have an opportunity to object to the creditor’s claims. If you contest their repossession it gives you a limited amount of time to come up with the money that is needed to stop the repossession or time to plan for the repossession. If you lose in court your vehicle will be taken away and you may be responsible for the court costs and attorney fees of the creditor. This can be costly so you want to make sure there are legitimate reasons to request a court hearing. If you are in doubt about your legal objections, it is wise to seek legal advice before demanding a court date.

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