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Repossession Defense Attorney in Rock Hill, SC

Helping Clients Understand Their Rights and Fight Back Against Illegal Repossessions

Having your own vehicle ensures you can get to and from work and around Rock Hill and the surrounding area as needed without worrying about keeping track of public transportation schedules or paying for a ride-share service. But in today’s economic times, it’s easy to get behind on your payments, and many people have to prioritize other bills. If you’re behind on your payments per your loan agreement, it can put you at risk of having your car repossessed. Understanding South Carolina’s law around repossession can help you avoid a repossessed car or lessen the negative impact if a repossession is inevitable.

If you’re facing repossession, you need help from a bankruptcy attorney right away. You may be able to avoid a repossession in some cases if you can take action quickly. Call The Howze Law Firm, LLC, to schedule an appointment to discuss your financial situation and how we may be able to help you keep your assets.

What Are the Repossession Laws in South Carolina?

Repossession laws vary by state, so it’s important to seek counsel from a South Carolina attorney. Repossessions are done on secured debt, such as vehicles or items obtained under a rent-to-own contract. Unsecured debt, such as a purchase made with a credit card, is not subject to repossession. In most cases, you must be at least 30 days behind on your payments to be eligible for repossession, but you may have more time in some cases. Your loan contract should state when you’re considered to be in default of the loan.

Lenders must also notify you that you are in danger of repossession with a Notice of Right to Cure letter. This notice must be sent at least 10 days after you’ve gone into default. If you get one of these notices, it’s important to take action as soon as possible to avoid repossession. This could involve getting current on the loan or discussing your options with an attorney.

What Is Voluntary Repossession?

A voluntary repossession is when you give the vehicle back to the dealership instead of waiting for it to be taken. The main benefit of a voluntary repossession is that you don’t have to worry about your car being taken while you’re at work or in a store, leaving you stranded. You can arrange for a ride from the dealership, and you may be able to buy some time to figure out another mode of transportation if you let the dealership know you are going to bring the car in voluntarily. A repossessed vehicle that is surrendered voluntarily could also save you some money. Most lenders charge for repossession costs, which you can avoid if you bring the car back on your own. Some lenders may also agree not to report a voluntary repossession, but this isn’t required.

How Can You Avoid Repossession of Personal Property?

While it’s not always possible to avoid car repossessions, there are some potential options if you’re early enough in the process.

Refinance the Car Loan

If you just aren’t able to afford the full monthly payment, it may be an option to refinance the loan. If you’re able to get a lower interest rate than the original terms or extend the length of the loan, you may be able to lower your payment down to what you can afford.

Sell the Car

If you owe less on the car than it’s worth, selling it may be an option. This will allow you to repay the remaining loan balance and get rid of the monthly payments entirely. However, it does leave you without a vehicle if it is your only car.

Find Another Source of Funds

If you are able to catch up on your car payments, you can avoid a repossession. It may be possible to find a friend or family member who is willing to loan or give you the money.

Can You Keep Your Car If You File for Bankruptcy?

It’s possible in some cases to keep your vehicle even if you file for bankruptcy. However, you generally need to have significant equity in the car, which means you owe less on it than it’s worth. If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy and want to try to keep your vehicle, it’s best to discuss your options with a bankruptcy attorney to ensure you understand what’s allowed and whether you have a situation that qualifies.

What Happens After a Car Repossession?

Many people mistakenly believe that once their car has been repossessed that they are off the hook, but this isn’t always the case. Your lender can sue you for the repossession costs and the deficiency balance. The deficiency balance is how much was left on your loan after the lender sold the car again. For example, if you owed $10,000 on the car but it only sold for $7,000 at auction, the lender can sue you for the remaining $3,000. The fees and costs involved in repossessed property can be significant, sometimes even totally tens of thousands of dollars depending on the loan amount.

Not having your own vehicle can make it difficult to get to work and fulfill your other responsibilities. If you’ve received a repossession notice or are behind on your car payments and unsure what to do, The Howze Law Firm, LLC, can help. Call our Rock Hill, SC, office at 803-324-9009 to speak with an attorney, discuss your options and make a plan.