By Robert J. Semrad | Published October 14 2021 |
What Happens When a Car Is Repossessed in Georgia?
If you, like many others, are experiencing financial hardship and have defaulted on your auto loan, it is likely that your car will be repossessed. Repossession occurs when the lender reclaims a financed motor vehicle because the borrower has fallen behind on their payments. Once you miss your car payment, Georgia law allows your creditor to send a repo agent to tow away your car. This repossession can happen at your house while you are sleeping, at the grocery store while you are shopping or at your place of business!!
While there are established procedures for getting back your car after a repossession, they require you to pay the loan in full, which is generally not possible as most people cannot afford to do that. For many who are struggling financially, filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the only way they will be able to permanently keep their vehicles and avoid repossession.
When Can Your Car Be Repossessed in Georgia?
Georgia has not established any deadlines for when a lender can repossess your vehicle once you have defaulted on your loan. This means that repossession is completely legal in Georgia once you’re just a single day late on your payments! While lenders will rarely resort to repossession this quickly and may prefer to make other arrangements, they are under no legal obligation to work with you if you are facing financial difficulties.
What Is the Repossession Procedure?
Once you’ve defaulted on your loan, your creditor can repossess your car without providing you any notice or setting foot in a courtroom. The repo agent can simply come and tow away your vehicle. In fact, as long as agents don’t use force or breach the peace, Georgia even allows them to take cars and trucks from private property.
After the car has been taken, the lender must notify you of the repossession and inform you that you have 10 days to pay the entire balance on the loan (plus repo costs, storage costs and late fees) and “redeem” the vehicle. If you do not pay off the loan during this period, the lender will usually sell the car at auction.
The auction sale price of the vehicle will be put towards your outstanding balance. If the income from the sale does not cover the entire amount, Georgia law permits lenders to sue you to recover the remaining amount, which is known as the “deficiency balance.”
How Can You Stop Repossession?
Although you may be able to negotiate an alternate payment plan with an auto loan company to temporarily avoid repossession, if you cannot afford to make your payments, you will likely find yourself falling behind again a few months later. If you are having financial difficulties, filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy with Debtstoppers can help you permanently keep your vehicle and eliminate your debts!
As soon as you file for bankruptcy in Georgia, you will receive an automatic stay that prohibits creditors from pursuing repossession. Whether you file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy laws, you can almost always work out a plan that lets you keep your car or truck. Plus, you’ll be able to reduce or entirely wipe out your unsecured debts in the process.