Repossession Laws in Wyoming
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Repossession is the process of taking back a car after the owner defaults on their auto loan. Each state has different laws and regulations that dictate every step of the repossession process from start to finish. This page will provide an overview of Wyoming's Repossession Laws and what you should know if you've fallen behind on car payments.
Written by Upsolve Team.
Updated January 11, 2022
If you get behind on your auto loan, a repossession can happen quickly. Under Wyoming law, you won't get any notice that your lender plans to repossess, or take back, your car. You’ll just find your car missing. Lenders have a legal right — also called a security interest — to repossess your car if you don’t make your car loan payments. The car is the collateral, and repossession is the lender’s way of exercising its right to take back the collateral if you don’t pay.
This article answers many of the questions borrowers have about repossessions in Wyoming. It covers how to prevent a repossession in Wyoming, what the repo companies can and can't do, and how borrowers can get their car or truck back.
How Many Payments Can I Miss Without Risking a Repossession in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, lenders and creditors are legally allowed to repossess your car after as little as a single missed payment or as soon as you default on your car loan. Your car or truck could be repossessed if you're only a day late on payments. It would be rare for a creditor to be so aggressive though.
Your loan agreement will define what a default is and provide more information like whether you have a grace period. A grace period is a time period after your due date when your payment isn’t considered late and you’re not considered to be in default.
Will I Be Notified Before the Repossession? How?
Under Wyoming's state laws lenders aren’t required to notify borrowers prior to repossessing their motor vehicles. The only notice of repossession lenders are legally required to give comes after your car or truck has already been repossessed.
How Can I Prevent a Repossession?
If you have a reputable lender, the best thing to do to prevent repossession is to stay in contact with the lender. Explain that you're having difficulty making your car loan payments, and ask if they have any solutions to help you. You might even be able to get better loan terms.
If you're working with a lender that has a bad reputation, do everything you can to get the payments in. But also consider refinancing your car loan with a better lender. Even if you have bad credit, this could work for you. It’s important to have a lender that will work with you through the rough times. Almost everyone has financial difficulties at times.
Another way to prevent vehicle repossession is by filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As soon as you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay takes effect. The automatic stay stops all collection activity, including repossessions. Your car loan will be paid through the Chapter 13 repayment plan.
What Can Repo Companies in Wyoming Do?
In Wyoming, repo companies can take a vehicle that's in your driveway or parked on the street. They can also repossess a motor vehicle that's in a parking lot. For example, they could take it while you're in the grocery store or from the parking lot at your job.
Repo companies can’t commit a breach of the peace when they're repossessing a vehicle though. This includes:
Taking your vehicle from your garage or from behind a locked fence at your home. If the vehicle stays in your garage and the repo company can't get to it, they may eventually get a court order. Then, you'll have to turn over the vehicle.
Continuing a repossession after you’ve objected. If you catch the repo company while they're repossessing the car, you can object. If they continue with the repossession, they're breaching the peace.
Using or threatening violence.
Keep in mind that you also can’t commit a breach of the peace during the repossession. While you can object to the repo, you can’t use force or violence. This could not only get you hurt, but you could also be subject to criminal charges.
What About the Personal Property in My Car?
In Wyoming, the repo company has to give you any personal property you left in your car back. Call the repo company and the lender or financial institution immediately to make arrangements to get your things back. It may be helpful to make a written list of the things that were in your car and send a written demand for the return of those items as well.
If you know you're behind on payments, it’s best not to leave things in your car. This prevents you from the hassle of reclaiming your items. If you have trouble getting your things back, contact a Wyoming attorney.
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What Happens After a Repossession in the State of Wyoming?
After the repossession, you'll get a written notice that explains you have a right to redeem your car, which means get the car back. The notice will also say what the secured party intends to do with the collateral (your car or truck) if you don’t redeem it. Usually, the lender will sell the vehicle at an auction. Less commonly, the lender may choose to keep the car as satisfaction of the debt.
If the repossessed vehicle will be sold, the notice will let you know the date, time, and place of the public auction. If there will be a private sale, it will state the first date the car will be available for resale.
Wyoming repossession laws are under Wyoming's version of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The law requires that every aspect of the sale of your repossessed vehicle be commercially reasonable. This means the lender can't sell your repossessed vehicle for an unreasonably low price.
It’s important that the sale happens in a reasonable manner since the sale proceeds are used to pay what you owe the lender. If the sales proceeds don't bring enough to pay off the secured party, you have a deficiency balance. This means you still owe the lender even though it has taken your car. If the sale proceeds bring more than enough to pay the secured party, you're owed the surplus. You're at high risk of a deficiency balance if you're upside-down on your loan.
Do I Still Owe After a Repossession in Wyoming?
In the state of Wyoming, you'll still owe the lender if you have a deficiency balance after the lender sells your car. The sales proceeds will be used to pay off the loan balance. But first, they go toward paying any other collections fees such as the costs of repossession. If you voluntarily turn your car in instead of having them repossess your car, you won't have to pay the repossession costs. This means the deficiency balance won't be as much. Depending on the circumstances, it may be a good idea to turn your car in if you're upside-down on the loan and you've fallen behind on payments.
Can I Get My Car Back After a Repossession in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, you can get your car back after a vehicle repossession by redeeming it before it's sold. You'll usually have at least 10 days to redeem the car or truck after the postmark of your right to redeem notice from the lender. The written notice your lender sends you after they repossess your car will include information on how to redeem it. The problem is you have to pay off the entire loan balance, not just the part you're behind. Also, you'll need to pay the lender’s collection expenses, including the repossession costs.
If you couldn't afford to make the regular payments, it’ll be hard to figure out how to pay off the entire balance plus expenses. But you may be able to find another lender to finance the redemption. Make sure you're dealing with a reasonable lender with a competitive interest rate. Otherwise, taking out a new loan to redeem the motor vehicle could get you into even worse debt problems.
Where Can I Find More Information About Repossession Laws in Wyoming?
Equal Justice Wyoming has Consumer Credit and Debt Collection Information and resources for getting Legal Help.
You can access Legal Assistance & Self-Help Forms from the Wyoming Judicial Branch.
Legal Aid of Wyoming provides legal assistance for low-income individuals.
The Wyoming State Bar has information on getting legal assistance.
Wyoming Free Legal Answers is a useful resource from the American Bar Association.