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If you get a loan to purchase an automobile, you will likely sign an agreement allowing the lender to repossess the vehicle if you fail to make your monthly payments.

The lender must follow the state’s law when taking back a car or truck for nonpayment.

The law is  found in M.G.L. c. 255, section 13J.

It states that:

  1. the lender must wait at least 10 days after nonpayment before sending notice of the potential repossession;
  2. a written notice entitled “Rights of Defaulting Buyer under the Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Installment Sales Act” must be sent to the debtor;
  3. the notice must give the debtor 21 days from when it was sent to catch up on payments to avoid repossession. (This is called the “default cure” period.)
  4. The notice must tell you the exact amount owed and when its due.

(Note that if you got notice of default, or nonpayment, three or more times, the lender doesn’t need to provide any more notices before repossessing your vehicle.)

The law also limits how and where the repossession can occur, stating that the vehicle can be seized

only if possession can be obtained without use of force, without a breach of peace and, unless the debtor consents to an entry, at the time of such entry, without entry upon property owned by, or rented to the debtor.

If you have any questions regarding Massachusetts’ consumer protection laws, please contact me at