Wrongful Repossessions

In the event of default by a consumer with respect to a Motor Vehicle Retail Installment Sales Contract (defined as an agreement, signed by the buyer in this state, pursuant to which the title to, the property in or a lien upon a motor vehicle, which is the subject matter of a retail instalment sale, is retained or taken by a retail seller from a retail buyer as security, in whole or in part, for the buyer’s obligation), Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 255B, Section 20A et seq. mandates the creditor provide Written Notice of Default within at least 10 days of such default (no notice is required if the consumer has cured default 3 or more times).

The Notice of Default shall notify you the consumer that you may cure your default by paying to the creditor within twenty-one days after notice is mailed. If you pay the full payoff balance amount within the time allowed, you are no longer in default and may continue on with the transaction as though no default had occurred.

If you do not cure your default by the date stated above, the said creditor may sue you to obtain a judgment for the amount of the debt or, if applicable, may take possession of the collateral. If the creditor takes possession of the collateral, if any, you may get it back by paying the full amount of your debt plus any reasonable expenses incurred by the said creditor if you make the required payment within twenty days after he takes possession.

During the twenty-one day period after delivery of the notice required by this section the creditor may not because of that default accelerate the unpaid balance of the obligation, bring action against the buyer, or proceed against the collateral.

It is important to remember that the above referenced statutory provisions are only applicable to vehicles used for personal, family or household purposes.

If the unpaid balance of the consumer credit transaction at the time of default was two thousand dollars or more the creditor shall be entitled to recover from the debtor the deficiency, if any, resulting from deducting the fair market value of the collateral from the unpaid balance due and shall also be entitled to any reasonable repossession and storage costs.

A breach by the creditor of any of the aforementioned statutory provisions may give rise to actual damages, up to treble damages pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A, Section 9, attorney fees, costs and injunctive relief.

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