Am I responsible for the remaining balance on a repossessed vehicle not in my possession?

UPDATED: Jun 17, 2011

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Am I responsible for the remaining balance on a repossessed vehicle not in my possession?

I became injured on the job and was unable to catch up on my car payment. I surrendered the vehicle and was told that once the vehicle was auctioned off I would be contacted for the remaining balance. Two years later I receive a subpoena to appear in court about the remaining balance. I have made payments with the lawyers office but with all the interest that has accrued and their legal fee the amount is astronomical. I was told that if the vehicle is not in my possession then I am no longer required to pay?

Asked on June 17, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Alabama


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is unclear who told you this about the possession versuspayment "rule" as it were, but if it is a law specific to Alabama then you should seek help from an attorney there.  The general rule is that you would be responsible for the deficiency that remains between the loan amount and the amount received when the repossessed vehicle is auctioned off.   They are attempting to obtain a "deficiency judgement" against you.  But you should have really gotten some kind of notification to pay prior to suit so as to try and avoid all the extra fees.  Go to court and see what is up.  Tell the court - and by that I mean a Judge - that you did not receive notice, bring proof of what you have paid and ask that you be permitted to pay off the balance of the vehicle minus the extra fees given the circumstances.  Please have someone take a look at what you reveived for court before you go to make sure that the situation is what I think that it is.  Good luck.

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