You may also benefit from credit counseling. A legitimate credit counselor can help you regain control of your finances by designing a realistic budget that allows you to pay off your existing debts, cover your everyday expenses and save for the future. For a referral to a local credit counselor, call 211 or visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling Web site at http://www.debtadvice.org.
Be aware that your lender does not have to notify you before your car is repossessed. Even if you return the car voluntarily, you still are responsible for paying any outstanding debt on the loan, as well as the lender’s cost of the repo, and your creditor still may enter the late payments or repossession on your credit report. For more information about what happens during a repo and your consumer rights, see our Web site at http://atg.wa.gov/repossession.aspx.
Consumers can reduce repo risk by carefully considering how much car they can afford prior to making a purchase. You can find tips to help with your car purchase decision on our Web site at http://atg.wa.gov/car_buying.aspx.
Want more consumer advice? Previous Ask the AG columns are online at www.atg.wa.gov/askcolumn.aspx and be sure to check out the Attorney General’s All Consuming blog at www.atg.wa.gov/allconsuming.aspx.