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Can I be sued by the bank that repossessed my vehicle?

Atlanta, GA |

The bank repossessed my vehicle and now says after the sale they are suing me for the $3000.00 difference. Even though over the 4 years I had the vehicle, after I lost my job July 2010 and still unemployed, I probably paid the $3000 in late payments trying to keep the vehicle. I have barely $200.00 in my bank account and am about to have my house foreclosed, I have no assets anymore. I am a 57 year old woman who has worked all my life and because I had a high salary and my age I was let go from my job after 14 years. I have had to spend all my retirement trying to survive and I did not have much to start with because I lost so much of my 401K when the market crashed. What can they get? Can I have this dropped any other way than chapter 7? Thank you for your advice.

Attorney Answers 3


Short answer: Yes, the bank can sue you for the deficiency.

Long answer: The lender has to follow certain laws about the notices they send to you after default, when the repossessed the car, and after they sold the car. These documents have to comply with the law, and if they do not comply, you may have a defense that can be raised.

If you don't pay their demand for the deficiency, the lender may sue you in court. If you don't defend yourself against the lawsuit, they may get a default judgment against you. Whether they can collect anything on the judgment is another matter. If you have assets that they can seize to satisfy the judgment, then you may be in jeopardy. A secured debt, like a car loan is not dischargeable in Ch 7 bankruptcy, but a deficiency judgment based on the defaulted debt can be dischargeable, but the lender has to sue you and reduce their claim to a judgment. Consult with a bankruptcy attorney in your state.

You need to consult with a consumer advocate attorney in your state. You can find one here:

I am an attorney who is only licensed in the State of Florida. My answer is general legal advice based upon what I perceive your question to be, and should not be relied upon because every person's facts and circumstances are unique, and because specific laws vary from state to state. To completely evaluate a legal issue requires reviewing and evaluating all relevant facts, applicable laws and other information. My answer does not create an attorney-client relationship, and offered for informational purposes only.

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They can sue you for the difference. You may be "judgment proof," meaning that even if they get a judgment for the difference against you, they may not be able to collect on it depending on GA consumer protection laws.
If you are worried, check with a GA attorney.

I'm not licensed in GA.

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Since you signed the contract for the car, the bank has a legal right to sue you for the deficiency. The bank has to follow certain procedures including sending you a letter after the repossession telling you of your rights. You may wish to consult an attorney to determine if the bank followed the necessary steps to be able to sue you.

The answer given is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Dwight Bowen is a bankruptcy and consumer attorney and may be contacted at (404) 880-3310.

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