After a finance company repossesses your car can they come back later and sue you?

UPDATED: Feb 2, 2011

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After a finance company repossesses your car can they come back later and sue you?

My son fell very ill after he purchased a new truck. I tried to keep up the payments but could not, so after 3 missed payments he told them they would have to repo it; he did not know when he would be able to work again. So now here we are a year and a month later and now a financial company has called him to tell him that they are taking him to court to recoup 9k that he owes them. They are threatening to garnish his wages. He is barely on his feet and this has just taken the wind out of his sails completely. Do we have a leg to stand on here or just let these thugs come in a do whatever they want?

Asked on February 2, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, this is all legal.  By way of background, when a car is repossessed, that does not wipe out the debt owed on a loan. The fact is that, whatever a car is sold for at auction is applied against what the borrower owes. If it doesn't cover the outstanding debt (and these sales almost never do because of additional interest and expenses) the lender can sue for the remaining balance. If they win in court, they can attempt to seize assets, such as garnishing  wages or attempt to garnish wages or bank account(s).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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