Wisconsin “strict protections” for consumers experiencing auto repossession

Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 5:31 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 11, 2021 at 10:28 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation (DOT) processed 12,474 auto repossession applications in 2020.

That’s the lowest number they’ve seen over the last five years.

The year 2020 showed the lowest number of applications within the last five years
The year 2020 showed the lowest number of applications within the last five years(Wisconsin DOT)

To get a better understanding of these numbers NBC15 spoke with Attorney Alexander Trueblood. He practices auto repossession law in multiple states, including Wisconsin.

“I can say that generally throughout the US there was a slowdown,” Trueblood said about auto repossession during the pandemic. “Everyone was confused, and lenders wanted to give more time to people to make up their payments, because it’s really not in their best financial interested to pick up a car they’d take a loss on.”

In addition to this, Trueblood said Wisconsin has the strictest Consumer Protection Act in the country when it comes to auto repossession.

“The lender has to give the consumer two weeks advanced notice of a repossession in writing and has to state in that notice the amount that’s past due, and that they intend to repossess the car. The consumer has two weeks to object to a repossession,” Trueblood said.

Under state law, if the lender does not follow these rules, the consumer gets their car and payments back, and they’re loan is waived; it’s almost like getting a free car.

Our national Investigative Team looked into the record amount of auto debt totaling millions of dollars during the pandemic. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau saw the highest number of complaints in 2020 since tracking them in 2012. InvestigateTV examined the issue and how consumers can get back on track.

Repossessed: Pandemic-related moratoriums for car repos expire
Repossessed: Pandemic-related moratoriums for car repos expire

While many states had moratoriums on car repossessions during the pandemic, they have now expired - leaving lenders free to take back cars when consumers can't keep up with payments.

Auto repossession applications at the lowest they've been in 5 years in Wisconsin, according...

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