Repossession Case May Let the U.S. Supreme Court Weaken Consumer Rights


By Attorney Briane Pagel

Ally Financial, Inc., has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to "decertify" a class action filed against it in Missouri; this case has implications for Wisconsin consumers as well. In the case, Ally is accused of illegally repossession cars in Missouri by not giving proper written notice to the car owners. A class action lawsuit was filed against Ally on behalf of Missouri car owners whose cars had been repossessed, and although the judge allowed the class to proceed, Ally has now filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to have the class "de-certified," meaning that car owners would have to file their own suits and fight them rather than have one lawyer represent the entire group.

Wisconsin law is tougher than Missouri's, and requires that a lender give you a specific written notice at least 15 days before repossession, allowing you to object to the repossession and ask for a hearing in court. Wisconsin also says that if you object to a repo man taking your vehicle, the repo man must stop or he is in violation of the law. Repo agents are also restricted from entering dwellings used by the customer as a residence, including the garage and outbuildings. A violation of these laws can allow a borrower to recover the vehicle AND get back all the money he or she paid the lender before repossession (including the down payment and trade-in value.)

Lawton & Cates helps consumers avoid repossession and keep their vehicles. Our lawyers have won our clients damages of more than $50,000 for illegal repossessions, and we work on a contingent fee basis, so you do not pay us unless we win. If you have had a vehicle repossessed, or are worried you might be at risk for that, call us today.