Under Georgia state law, if you are late on your car payments or have defaulted on your lease or finance contract for your car, the creditor has the right to repossess the car, sell it and then possibly sue you for the rest of the debt.
If they sue you and get a judgment, they can garnish your wages and levy your bank accounts to try and satisfy the debt.
DOES BANKRUPTCY STOP REPOSSESSIONS?
Yes. Filing bankruptcy can prevent your car creditor from repossessing your car. In many cases bankruptcy provides a structured repayment of the debt and can even reduce the balance and interest rate that you have to repay.
I AM LATE ON MY CAR PAYMENT AND THE CREDITOR SAYS THEY WANT THE CAR BACK. THAT HAPPENS NOW?
Once you have defaulted on the note, the car creditor will likely send a person or tow truck and take the car back.
CAN THEY COME ON MY PROPERTY?
Georgia law requires that the vehicle must be repossessed without breach of the peace. Depending on where you parked the car, as long as it is repossessed without breach of the peace, they can take it.
WHAT IF I HIDE THE CAR?
If you hide the car to prevent the creditor from repossessing it, they may seek criminal prosecution.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY CAR GETS REPOSSESSED?
Once your car is repossessed, the car creditor will likely sell or auction the car off. Usually, the price they get for it at auction will not cover what you owe them under the contract. If state law allows, the car creditor will then turn around an sue you for the rest of the money owed on the contract.
In Georgia, if the car creditor wants to pursue a deficiency the car creditor must provide you with notice within ten days from the day of repossession, of its intention to pursue a deficiency as well as notice of your right to redeem the property.
MY CAR WAS ALREADY REPOSSESSED. CAN BANKRUPTCY HELP GET IT BACK?
In most cases, yes. If your car was recently repossessed and has not been sold by the creditor usually it takes 10 days for a sale to occur. Filing bankruptcy can stop the sale and force your car creditor to return it to you.
Even of your car was repossessed and already sold, filing bankruptcy can still help you prevent the car creditor from suing you, getting a judgment and garnishment.
WHAT ABOUT TITLE PAWNS?
A title pawn is different from a regular car finance or lease agreement. In Georgia, a title pawn is a 30 day agreement to pay back the loan, which can be extended for additional 30-day periods at additional costs. These costs add up quickly and the debt becomes much higher. A title pawn owns your vehicle if you have defaulted on the agreement.
CAN FILING BANKRUPTCY STOP A TITLE PAWN REPOSSESSION?
If you have a title pawn and you are about to default, it is very important that you speak to an automobile repossession attorney immediately about your options in bankruptcy. If you have already defaulted, it may be too late.
In Georgia, a title pawn company can own your car without actually repossessing it. Once the loan and any grace period have expired, you have defaulted and they own the car.
Some title pawn companies will still work with debtors in bankruptcy to allow them to keep their car and satisfy the note through a structured repayment in a Chapter 13. However, they are not required to.