To wake up in the morning or step out of your workplace and discover your vehicle is gone can be quite a shock. Your first thought may be that someone stole your vehicle. However, when you remember that you have been struggling to keep up with your car payments, it begins to sink in that the lender has repossessed your car.
The repossession of a vehicle can be one of the most embarrassing financial events one may go through, leaving you stranded with no transportation to get back and forth to work and to meet your family and personal obligations. If you are behind on your vehicle payments, you would be wise to recognize the real possibility that repossession may be in your future unless you take steps to stop it.
Can they do that?
Repossession is entirely legal if you have violated the terms of your car loan contract by failing to make payments on time. In fact, your contract probably has specific language explaining the lender’s right to repossess the vehicle if you are delinquent on your payments. The law does protect you by stipulating that repossession agents may not damage your property while taking the vehicle. However, they may come onto your private property or follow you if you attempt to hide the vehicle.
After a lender repossesses your car or truck, they will sell it or auction it to recoup the amount of the loan. Unfortunately, the money they obtain from such sales is usually less than the borrower owes. The difference is a “deficiency,” and you will probably still owe this amount to the lender. A lender who is willing to repossess your vehicle is not likely to hesitate before turning your account over to a collection agency because of a deficiency.
Can I avoid repossession?
Difficult as it may be to open the mail when you are struggling financially, it is important that you read the notices your lender sends when you fall behind on your payments. They may offer options for getting current with your loan. Perhaps you have other means of fixing the situation, such as asking friends or family for help or even selling the vehicle on your own.
For many in Georgia, the answer lies in filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy places an automatic stay on any repossession efforts, providing you with some breathing room to work out your debt problems. Although bankruptcy can be a complex process, it may be an option for dealing with the overwhelming debt that caused you to fall behind on your vehicle payments.