TAMPA - According to Experian, only two percent of car buyers defaulted on their auto loans this past year. Still, two percent equals thousands of drivers. Suzette Spitzer is among them.
“We lost our car over $100,” said Spitzer, who claims she was just 10 days late when she realized her car was missing. “It is a horrible feeling because it is your only vehicle. This is our lifeline in a sense,” says Spitzer.
Her contract clearly states the dealer may repossess the vehicle if the buyer is in default. Oftentimes, consumers express shock at how quickly they can lose their car over very little money.
Those at highest risk may be the buyers who purchase from lots that mandate weekly payments. One or two missed payments can cost a car, as it did in this case.
This family bought their car back, shelling out hundreds of dollars in fees and other charges. The law mandates consumers be sent a letter advising what the fees are and deadline to pay. It's a painful and costly lesson to learn.
No matter your car-buying budget, try to protect yourself with low-interest rate financing, a larger down payment and -- if possible -- set yourself up for monthly, rather than weekly, payments.
Before defaulting on any loan, it is best to be up front with the lender to determine if a payment agreement can be worked out to avoid repossession.
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