The Justice Department and Hyundai’s captive finance company settled allegations this week involving repossessed vehicles.

Officials announced on Wednesday that Hyundai Capital America has agreed to pay $333,941 to resolve allegations that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by illegally repossessing 26 vehicles owned by servicemembers.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the department alleged that in June 2015, Navy Airman Jessica Johnson faxed Hyundai her enlistment orders with a statement that her vehicle could not be repossessed without a court order while she was on active duty service.

On July 27, 2017, the compliant indicated she told a Hyundai customer service agent that she was still in the military. Nevertheless, on or about July 30, 2017, the Justice Department said the captive repossessed her 2014 Hyundai Elantra without a court order.

In October 2017, Hyundai sold the car for $7,400. At the time, Johnson still owed $13,796 on her installment contract, according to the Justice Department.

The complaint also alleged that between April 15, 2015, and May 21, 2023, Hyundai unlawfully repossessed 25 additional vehicles owned or leased by SCRA-protected servicemembers.

Under the consent order, Hyundai has agreed to pay $10,000 plus any lost equity to each servicemember whose vehicle was repossessed and a $74,941 payment to the United States.

The consent order also requires Hyundai to repair the servicemembers’ credit, provide SCRA training to its employees and implement policies and procedures that comply with the SCRA.

The SCRA is a federal law that provides legal and financial protections for servicemembers and their families. The law prevents an auto finance or leasing company from repossessing a servicemember’s vehicle without first obtaining a court order, as long as the servicemember made at least one payment on the vehicle before entering military service.

“Members of our Armed Forces should not have to worry about having their cars repossessed while they are in military service,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department remains steadfast in its commitment to enforcing laws that safeguard the rights of our servicemembers so that they can devote their full energy and attention to the defense of our country.”

U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada for the Central District of California added in the news release, “We are fully committed to protecting the rights of servicemembers, who give so much to protecting our country.

“Something as simple as a vehicle repossession can have a significant impact on a servicemember’s peace of mind as he or she deploys in defense of the United States. We will continue to enforce the rights of servicemembers so that they can perform their duties without having to worry about unlawful actions at home,” Estrada went on to say.