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Tag: Repossession

“Breaching the Peace” During Car Repo Can Violate FDCPA

Link: Gable v. UNIVERSAL ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION, Case No. 17-c-463 (E.D. Wisc., Sept. 17, 2018).

Plaintiff sued a towing company and debt collector alleging that they breached the peace in attempting to repossess his car and thus violated the FDCPA. Wisconsin law allows nonjudicial repossession of motor vehicles if the customer has failed to demand a hearing . . . as long as the merchant does not “commit a breach of the peace.” Wis. Stat. § 425.206(1)(d), (2)(a). In this case, the police showed up and told the plaintiff that he had to let them repossess the car. This was wrong, and didn’t let defendants off the hook for FDCPA liability:

The fact that [Plaintiffs] acquiesced in the repossession after the police arrived and informed them the repossession was lawful, however, does not mean that they withdrew their objections to RPI and Chase’s conduct. The police officers were simply wrong in their conclusion that Johnson and Brunette were legally entitled to take the car over the debtor’s objection. See Marcus v. McCollum, 394 F.3d 813, 819 (10th Cir. 2004).

As a result, the court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment.