Once a vehicle is repossessed, the creditor will likely sell the car at auction. Once the vehicle is sold, you will be responsible for the current amount owed on your loan, less the money received at auction. This remaining debt is called a "deficiency balance." Once the creditor has sold the vehicle and determined the deficiency balance, it can begin collection efforts on the account like any other unsecured debt (since you would no longer have the car, the debt would be considered unsecured).
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You would likely receive calls from collection agencies attempting to collect on the account. In a worst case scenario, the creditor could sue you to obtain a judgment against you, which could result in bank levies, a lien on your property, and/or wage garnishment depending on the laws in your state.
Some states restrict a creditor's ability to collect on deficiency balances, so I encourage you to consult with an attorney licensed to practice law in your area to discuss the implications of vehicle repossession under your state law before you decide how to proceed.
There are definite rules and regulations regarding the handling of collection accounts by creditors and by the collection agencies themselves. The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act guarantees you specific rights as a consumer when a personal debt has been turned over to a debt collector. These include:
• The right to stop them from contacting you except to notify you of specific actions being taken by writing them a letter requesting this.
• The right to receive a full written notice explaining the amount you owe, to whom you owe it, and what action you should take if you believe you do not owe the money.
• The right to sue in state or federal court if you believe that the debt collector has violated the law in its handling of your account (within one year from the date that you believe the violation occurred).
• If you have had an ongoing problem with a collection agency, you should probably contact the agency one more time to request a specific, written statement of their proof that you still owe on the debt. Insist that they also include instructions for disputing their statement if you do not believe you still owe the money, as the law requires.
You might also consider reporting the collection agency to your state Attorney General's office and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Many states have their own debt collection laws in addition to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and your Attorney General's office can help you understand your specific rights. For more information about the FTC's Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Web page summarizing the law.
If you are struggling to pay your debts, you may want to consult with a professional debt resolution firm to discuss the options available to you. If you want a free debt consultation with one of Bill's approved debt help partners, please click here: Debt Help Savings Quote.
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