Missing a car payment can quickly send you spiraling, and soon you receive notices and phone calls warning you of the consequences of your delinquency. Since your vehicle was collateral for the car loan, failure to pay the loan means the lender can claim the vehicle and sell it to get its money back.
In Tennessee, the lender can hire a repossession company to take your vehicle after only a few days of delinquency. You probably need your car to get to work and other important errands. Therefore, the smartest move may seem to be hiding your vehicle from your creditor. Unfortunately, this action almost always ends badly.
Find a better way
Repossession is stressful, expensive and embarrassing. Many people erroneously believe a creditor cannot come onto your property to repossess a vehicle. This is not always true. As long as the creditors do not damage your property, they may enter your yard, garage, or even the property of a friend or relative if they believe the vehicle is hidden there. Some good reasons to avoid hiding your vehicle from a repossession agent include these:
- Your lender will consider it fraud, and you may face civil and criminal consequences.
- Hiding your vehicle means you cannot use it since a repossession company and your creditor typically watch for an opportunity to take the vehicle, such as when you are shopping or at work.
- The creditor may inform the Motor Vehicle Commission or your insurer that you are hiding the vehicle, and these agents can revoke your registration and insurance coverage.
- If your creditor cannot locate the vehicle, it may take alternate legal action to collect the debt.
- The longer the repossession company looks for the vehicle, the more it charges the lender, who will add that amount to what you owe on the vehicle.
After a vehicle goes through repossession, the lender typically sells it at auction for a very low price. If that price does not cover what you owe, you will still owe the balance to the lender, plus those additional fees and fines.
Remaining in contact with your lender as you go through tough times is the safest way to avoid the hassle of repossession. Many lenders are willing to work with a vehicle owner who acts in good faith. However, if you are already in default and trying to protect your vehicle from a creditor, you may need professional guidance.
Seeking the advice of an attorney is wise. A skilled attorney can assist you in understanding your options, including the possibility of filing for bankruptcy relief to stop repossession efforts.