Acts of vehicle repossession in Washington state are covered under Chapter 62A.9A and Chapter 62A.7 of the state Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The state UCC is part of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). These laws explain the rights of the seller of a vehicle that is purchased on credit and not on payment in full.
According to the Washington state UCC, whenever a seller negotiates the sale of a vehicle with a buyer and the buyer does not have the money to pay for the vehicle in full, the seller is permitted to enter into a contract with the buyer for an agreed-upon payment plan. During the payment plan, the seller is permitted to place a lien on the title of the vehicle to ensure that the buyer keeps the terms of the contract.
This makes the seller the lien holder of the vehicle, which is considered the secured party to the contract and the legal owner of the vehicle.
Once the buyer fails to keep the terms of the contract, the seller is permitted to issue to the buyer a ten-day notice that the seller intends to "stop delivery" of the vehicle. The buyer then has ten days to bring the contract back into the agreed-upon terms by either making the necessary back payments or renegotiating new terms.
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Once the ten-day grace period has expired and the buyer has not resolved the issue, the contract is now in default. The seller is now permitted to take repossession of the vehicle in a peaceful manner. Once the vehicle is repossessed, the seller is required to find another buyer. The old buyer must be notified of the amount of money that the new buyer pays for the vehicle. That amount must then be deducted from the total amount that the old buyer owes to the seller.
Kwami K. Kwami is the founder of Imagine-A-Nation Edutainment Media which produced PHAT LIP! YouthTalk Radio, the first internationally syndicated youth-oriented radio talk show. He is the author of "The Tables Have Turned: A Street Guide to Guerrilla Lawfare" and director of Do-It-Yourself LAW (Lay Advocacy Workgroups).