It can come as a shock: You go to where you parked your car at home or at work, and it’s not there. Later you find out the creditor has repossessed the vehicle because you were behind on payments.
Can you get the car back? In many cases, you can-possibly for less money than you owe. However, you need to act promptly. If you do nothing, you may lose more than your vehicle. You could owe money on a car you no longer own.
In South Carolina, a creditor who repossesses your car will send you a letter explaining how you can get it back. You will have 10 days to act. This is known as the redemption period. If you fail to act by the end of the redemption period, your car will be sold at auction. If your car sells for less than you owe, you would still owe the creditor for the balance of the loan.
If you don’t have enough money to pay the loan company what you owe, one option is to declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy includes an automatic stay that puts an immediate stop to creditor actions against you. This means:
- If your car has not been repossessed, your lender cannot take it.
- If your car has been taken, you can get it back as long as you are within the redemption period
In bankruptcy, you can negotiate with the lender. Since your car may be worth less than the amount you owe, you may be able to reduce the outstanding balance of your loan to the current market value of the vehicle. By discharging other types of debt such as credit card bills, you may find that you are better able to afford car payments.
Keeping a car is a priority for most people. It hard to imagine getting by without a reliable form of transportation. Even if you decide you cannot keep the car, you can discharge any unpaid balance you owe on the car after it is sold.
The Reed Law Firm in Columbia files helps clients in South Carolina stop car repossession.