5 Things to Know When Repossessing a Car in Massachusetts
Massachusetts repossession laws are unique and require a creditor or repossession agency know what they are doing if they want to stay out of legal trouble. Here are the five things repossession companies in Massachusetts need to know.
One: You Cannot Go Onto the Property of the Debtor Without Permission
Unlike every other state, Massachusetts repossession laws do not allow an agent to go onto the property of the debtor to get the car, without the permission of the debtor. If the car is sitting in the driveway, you are not allowed to go onto the property and haul it away. If the car is taken in this way, then there can be no deficiency lawsuit, which can cost creditors thousands of dollars.
Two: If You Breach the Peace You Will Pay
Any repo. company in Mass. must not get into a confrontation with a debtor. The legal phrase “breach the peace” means doing things that cause a ruckus or break the law. Massachusetts repossession laws will award the debtor 10% of the principle of the car loan if the peace is breached during the repossession, plus attorney’s fees.
Three: Debtors Must Get Warning Letters
Before the execution of a Massachusetts repossession, the debtor must get a notice telling them of the chance to pay up and explain the plan for repossessing the car. The notice must be received 21 days before a repo. company in Mass. can take any other actions. However, creditors only have to send three such notices during the life of the car loan. After that, the car can be repossessed without any further notice.
Four: Timing of Auctions
After a Massachusetts repossession has occurred, a second notice has to sent to the debtor giving them 20 days before the car is auctioned off to get the car back by paying off the car loan. Repossession companies in Massachusetts have to be careful about their auctions because the law requires the full amount of the fair market value be credited to the loan, which may not be the same as what was received at an auction.
Five: You Must Notify the Police
Once a Massachusetts repossession has occurred, the company has to notify the police in the city or town where the car was taken. The repo. company in Mass. must also give a description of the car. However, a company is not allowed to use the police to help try and seize the vehicle, this will be a breach of the peace.
Repossession companies in Massachusetts must navigate a maze of special laws when trying to do their job. If the law isn’t followed exactly, it can lead to expensive problems down the road.