Creditors in Missouri, before they complete a repossession, must strictly comply with a number of statutes related to repossession of secured property. Creditors in Missouri may repossess a vehicle without going through a Court, which is also known as “self-help,” due to the protection to consumers those statutes provide. Violating the rules is a violation of a consumer’s due process rights, and may constitute a wrongful repossession.
The six main steps for creditors to legally repossess a vehicle:
- After a consumer is in default (failure to make a payment), the creditor must send a “First Notice of Default.”
- If a consumer again misses a payment, a “Second Notice of Default” should be sent.
- If the default is not cured (payments made up), then the vehicle may be repossessed, so long as that effort does not “breach the peace.”
- After repossession of vehicle, a “Notice of Our Plan to Sell Property” must be sent, and must include certain required legal language.
- After the “Notice of Our Plan to Sell Property is mailed to the parties liable for the loan, the creditor may dispose of the vehicle, which must be done in a “commercially reasonable” manner.
- After a vehicle has been sold in a commercially reasonable manner, a “Notice of Sale and Explanation of Deficiency” must be sent with all of the statutory required information.
To help protect consumers, a wrongful repossession claim, the statutes state that the creditor may be responsible for paying the consumer’s attorney’s fees. This means that we keep track of the amount of time that we spend working on a case, but do not ask the client to pay those bills up front. Instead, we seek to have the creditor pay all of the fees.
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