How do I seek a settlement if I cannot make my car payments?

Question

How do I seek a settlement if I cannot make my car payments?

Answer

Should you find yourself in dire straits where your car payment is concerned, you should be aware that there are some opportunities apart from losing your vehicle to which you can avail yourself. Settling car payment debts for less than you owe is an option you should definitely attempt as opposed to sitting back and waiting for the company to come and get your vehicle.

If you've failed to make automobile payments for 60 or 90 days, it is possible that your lender will consider the idea of a negotiation. But, if this is the tack you plan on taking, there are a few things you should consider. First, remain calm and never ask the lender yes or no questions. Once you get your answer you are stuck with it. Also, do not agree to a payment plan that you already know you can't keep.

The first rule of negotiating is to remember not to ask questions that someone who has the authority to say "no" to can answer. Don't ask, "Would you be willing to settle this debt?" Instead inform, "I am interested in settling this debt. How can you help me do this?" Leading questions of this sort moves the negotiation in the direction you want it. And always remain calm; never swear or lose your cool with a loan officer. Remember, these people can and if pushed will repossess your vehicle.

First see if they are open to reducing the balance and/or interest on your loan. Begin by making a very low offer on the balance and interest. Do this with leading questions. "If I only have $250 a month I can make on this loan, how could you help me arrange things so that it would work in a payment plan?" They have it in their power to extend the time on the loan, temporarily freeze the interest payments or even reduce the balance you owe, and may be open to one of these options in order to avoid the inconvenience and expense of repossession.

Remember don't use the expression, "I'm willing to pay a certain amount." State that you only have a predetermined amount you can spend on the loan. And by all means don't offer information, like what your income is, or that you could borrow from a family member if it comes down to it.

If these steps fail to create a new payment plan that will work for you, try the next step which puts pressure on them. Mention the alternatives that are left to you: refinancing and bankruptcy. The thing about bankruptcy is that it brings an immediate halt to all creditors’ attempts to collect on loans. Bankruptcy can lead to you keeping your car if it is necessary for work. Refinancing means you will probably move to a different lending company which cuts off their source of interest payments on the car.

There are probably other steps you can use to finesse a settlement on your vehicle if you can't make the payments the creditor is currently demanding. Start with these and see if you can avoid losing your car.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP ?

Talk to a Debt Settlement Lawyer.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you