Car Repossession: Getting Your Car Back
Having your car repossessed can throw everything into turmoil. When you can’t drive, it’s harder to earn income, care for your family and obtain the necessities you need to function. Even worse, you might feel like you have no other option but to sit there and take it. Repo agencies don’t mess around, and fighting back can get you into more trouble.
How do you get a car back after repossession in Wisconsin? Here’s why chatting with a legal professional about Chapter 13 bankruptcy could help and what to expect next.
Repossession is when a bank, lender or the owner of your leased or borrowed item takes action to recover their property. For instance, imagine that you put your car up as collateral to get approved for a mortgage. If you missed too many payments, then your loan servicer might repossess the vehicle.
One of the critical distinctions to remember about repossession is that it puts the creditor in control — A repo agent can recover your vehicle without getting permission from a judge or having to file a lawsuit. As long as you defaulted, or failed to fulfill your obligations under an existing contract, the owner has every right to initiate a repossession.
Navigating Repossession Law
Wisconsin and other states have a few laws in place to prevent property owners from abusing the rules. Consumer protection guidelines state that parties who want to repossess vehicles need to jump through some hoops first, such as sending notifications beforehand. These laws are easy to comply with, however, so you may find them to be poor defenses against repo actions.
How do you get a car back after repossession? There are two primary options, but they may not work for everyone:
- You can reinstate your contract by repaying everything you owe, but you’ll also have to cover the costs the creditor incurred to repo the vehicle.
- You can redeem your contract, but you’ll have to repay the entire balance.
Reinstatement and redemption cost significant amounts of money. They may be impractical for the vast majority of Wisconsinites who couldn’t pay their loans or leases in the first place.
The Benefits of Proactively Filing for Bankruptcy
Fortunately, reinstatement and redemption aren’t your only choices. You can also seek bankruptcy protection.
When you pursue bankruptcy, you receive something called an automatic stay. This type of protection goes into effect the instant you file, and it stops creditors from taking any action to recover their property — including repossession. Although it only lasts until the court has resolved your case, it gives you the chance to chart a better course forward. If the repossession already happened, a bankruptcy judge can reverse it, and you’ll just have to pay the repo cost.
Which kind of bankruptcy is best for avoiding or halting repo actions?
Most consumers in this situation file for Chapter 13 protection. Unlike Chapter 7, which lets the court sell off your non-essential properties, Chapter 13 grants you the chance to work with your creditors. By coming to an agreement that everyone can live with, you put yourself on a less stressful financial footing.
Are you fighting a vehicle repossession in Milwaukee or Waukesha county?
Waiting around isn’t the best choice. Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer at Burr Law Office LLC to deal with your debt the smart way. Call (262) 827-0375 today.