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Do I have to pay for a car I no longer have?

q_v2.gifDear Terry,
I bought a car from a dealer whose company is bankrupt. I got a loan from a bank to purchase the car, but I needed money so I sold the car back to the dealer who agreed to pay off my loan, but never did. Now I can't make the payments so the bank wants to repossess the car that I don't have and that dealer is gone. What should I do?
-- Violetta

a_v2.gifDear Violetta,
You are in an impossible fix and it sounds like you are the victim of fraud.

Do you have any paperwork proving you sold the car back to the dealer? If so, send copies to the loan company and try to work out an understanding with them. I would also call the local district attorney's office and file a fraud complaint.

If the dealer has formally filed for bankruptcy, you or the loan company needs to file a claim as one of the creditors in case there are assets that could help cover what is owed on the car.

Lastly, check with your state department of motor vehicles to determine exactly who the registered owner of your old car is. That person or firm should not have been able to get title to it without the loan being paid and the lien lifted. Therefore, you may very well still own the car and may be able to reclaim it, which would at least help clear things up with the loan company.

Here are this week's reader questions
  • Invoice price on any car is a mythical figure
  • Is finance co-signer also responsible for insurance?
  • Do I have to pay for a car I no longer own?
  • Can dealer collect twice for sales tax on a leased car?

 

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