RULE #1 - After the creditor has repossessed the vehicle, but not yet sold it.
Georgia law requires that if a creditor wants to go after the loan balance then it must notify you within 10 days of the repo that: a) they intend to sell the vehicle and b) they must advise you of your legal right to demand a public auction. If the letter only states they are going to offer the vehicle for sale at auction, without notifying you of your right to demand a public auction, then the letter is defective and can create an absolute bar to recovering the loan balance.
In addition there is the Uniform Commercial Code. The UCC requires that a creditor send you notice of your right of redemption. This notice will have the above GA law auction rights, it should also advise you of the amount needed to redeem the vehicle, and it must give you a phone number about how to get updated redemption figures. The notice must advise you that you can be held liable for any deficiency. The notice must contain all required information, which is more than is shown here, or it is defective.
RULE #2 - After the creditor has sold the vehicle.
The UCC requires that after the sale of the vehicle the creditor must give you notice of the deficiency balance they claim is due. This notice is called the "explanation letter". The UCC requires that the explanation letter be very specific in how the creditor itemizes the expenses and add-ons relating to the disposition (auction) of the vehicle. Creditors will sometimes, either by mistake or just plain greed to get another $9 or $10, include expenses that are not legal. Georgia law permits you prior to being sued, or after, to get a copy of the explanation letter by a simple demand in writing to the creditor. Getting a copy of the "before sale" letter is a little more problematical unless there is a pending law suit.
Damages for creditor violations. They can't collect, and they pay you.
In addition to being barred from collecting the loan balance for failing to use the Georgia required 'right to a public auction' language, a creditor can be made to pay damages for violated the UCC. If a creditor violates the UCC notice requirements before or after the vehicle sale they can be made to pay you the total amount of the finance charge plus 10% of the principal. In addition, Georgia's UDAP (Unfair and Deceptive Acts & Practices) law will often bring in more damages, attorney fees, etc...
And if your 60 years or older, or disabled, the UDAP law can add up to a $10,000 damage award per violation.
You should never assume your repo notices are correct. They should be carefully reviewed for violations.
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