You need to avoid the repo man if your chapter 13 case is dismissed. Previously I discussed the things that can happen if your chapter 13 case is dismissed. I think you will agree that the worst result is the loss of your car. We are not in the kind of community where owning a car is an option. Bus service is either non existent or incredibly poor where we have it. Plan to take a bus from Lorain County to the east side of Cleveland? Pack a bag and a few meals.
Having transportation is essential for just the basics of life, let alone finding a job and then getting to it on time every day. How can you best protect your car? You may be in big trouble with your car loan. If there was a cram down, the trustee may have been paying much less than was due on the original note. Even if he was making the payments in full, more than a few months may have passed since the last car payment. The repo man is waiting for a call about our car.
Over the past year I have had a number of chapter 13 cases dismissed over money issues. All was quiet. For as many as 8 months. Then on Christmas Eve they struck. You were in church, and they were in the parking lots. Tow trucks, flatbeds, the cars were gone in a flash. No one to call except your bankruptcy attorney until after the holidays. Everyone closed. Great way to run up the tow bill and storage fees.
Do you want to experience the repo man? They never come at a good time. You need to save your car. This is no time to stick your head in the sand. You must act. The moment your case is dismissed you are again responsible to make your car payments. Here are the steps you must take:
- You need to call you auto lender as soon as your chapter 13 is dismissed.
- Authorize them to send out bills again.
- Find out the status of the loan. Are you current? Are you behind? Tell them you want to resume making car payments yourself.
- If you are behind, do you have the resources to catch up your car payment? If so pay it. Will they tack the arrearage onto the end of the loan?
- Be sure to inform the auto lender you have insurance on the car.
- If you are too far behind and they will not work with you consider turning the car in.
- You might want to consider another chapter 13 or even a chapter 7 if your situation permits.
- If you do nothing and risk repossession do not leave any personal items in an unattended car. Everything may be gone when you get back. When you try to get your personal property back they will either deny it was ever there, or make you pay the towing and storage fees to get your stuff back.
On the subject of car repossessions, don’t think that locking the car in your garage will do you any good. The repo man is permitted to actually break in to retrieve the vehicle. He can pretty much do anything so long as it does not cause a breach of the peace. If a police officer witnesses a breach of the peace he will instruct them to leave.
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