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Massachusetts law about repossession

A compilation of laws, cases, and web sources on repossession law by the Trial Court Law Libraries.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

Consumer credit

 MGL c.255, § 13I Default; curing default
 MGL c.255, § 13J Repossession

Motor vehicles

 MGL c.255B, § 20A Default; curing default
 MGL c.255B, § 20B Repossession
 MGL c.255B, § 20C Repossession notice to police
 MGL c.90D, § 17 Title transfer following repossession

Retail installment sales

 MGL c.255D, § 21 Default; curing default
 MGL c.255D, § 22 Repossession

Vessels (boats)

 MGL c.255, § 17 Liens on vessels; enforcement

Court rules

Selected case law

Williams v. American Honda Finance Corporation, 479 Mass. 656 (2018) 
The fair market value of a repossessed car is not the fair market retail value. The pre- and post-sale notices "must describe the deficiency as the difference between the fair market value of the collateral and the debtor's outstanding balance." See U.S. First Circuit Opinion at Williams v. American Honda Finance Corporation, 907 F.3d 83 (1st Cir. Mass. 2018)



Affidavit of repossession, Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Web sources

How can I avoid repossession?, MassLegal Help. (December 2019)

My car was taken from me. What do I need to know?, Mass. Attorney General.
Learn your rights if your car is repossessed.

Vehicle repossession, Federal Trade Commission. Not specific to Massachusetts, includes general information on what happens if your car is repossessed, including details such as what happens when a creditor sells your car, what happens to your personal property inside the car, and more.

What is repossession?, MassLegalHelp. (December 2019)

What is “voluntary repossession”?, MassLegal Help. (December 2019)

Print sources

Collection law: debtor/creditor practice, procedure, remedies, 4th ed. (Mass. Practice v.48 and v.48A) West Group  2015 with supplement.  Chapter 15 Repossession of Consumer Goods. § 15:1 - § 15:44. Chapter 17 Forms. § 17:322 “First” notice of default by secured creditor; § 17:323 Notice to debtor after tender of partial payment; § 17:324 Debtor’s waiver and agreement relating to voluntary surrender of vehicle, optional clauses; § 17:325 Petition for repossession under District/Municipal Courts Supplemental Rule 160.; § 17:326 Complaint for repossession , Superior Court; § 17:327 Affidavit of notice pursuant to District/Municipal Courts Supplemental Rule 160(b); § 17:328 letter to police department regarding repossession; § 17:329 Notice to debtor of creditor’s plan to sell property after repossession; § 17:330 Notice of deficiency balance after sale; § 17:3331 Notice of deficiency balance after sale, with notice regarding bankruptcy; § 17:332 Terms of public auction sale; § 17:333 Bill of sale of motor vehicle and affidavit of purchaser and secured party; § 17:334 Bill of sale of motor vehicle and affidavit of secured party; § 17:335 Affidavit of repossession for Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Consumer law, 3rd ed. (Mass. Practice v.35A and 36) West, 2010 with supplement.  
Chapter 16. Consumer Credit:  Sales. C. Retail Installment Act: Installment Sale Agreements § 16:19 Definition of “default”; Chapter 20. Debt Collection. E. Extrajudicial Collection Practices. (8) Repossession Practices. § 20:61 Federal restrictions on repossession; § 20:62 Secured creditor’s rights under Massachusetts law-Generally; § 20:63 Secured creditor’s rights under Massachusetts law-Choice of remedies; § 20:64 Massachusetts repossession procedures-Generally; necessity of default; § 20:65 Massachusetts repossession procedures-Notice of default and right to cure; § 20:66 Massachusetts repossession procedures-Necessity of hearing; § 20:67 Massachusetts repossession procedures-Redemption, retention, and disposition of collateral. F. Judicial Collection Practices.  § 20:87 Judgment-Deficiency judgment. G. Private Remedies for Statutory  Violations.  (3) Massachusetts Laws.  § 20:103 Action for wrongful repossession-Generally  § 20:104 Action for wrongful repossession-Creditor’s vicarious liability for repossessor’s acts.

Motor vehicle law and practice: and related topics with forms, 4th ed. (Mass. Practice v.11) Thomson/West, 2008 with supplement.  § 18:23 Notice of default on retail instalment contract; § 18:25 Repossession on default of retail instalment contract; § 18:26 Obligations after repossession; § 18:27 Form-Affidavit of repossession; § 18:28 Rights and remedies following repossession; § 18:29 Transfer of title after repossession.

Repossessions, 9th ed, by Carolyn L. Carter. National Consumer Law Center, 2017. (To update, requires use of online version.)


Last updated: July 8, 2020