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Dear Terry,
I lost my dad last year and went out of the country for four months. When I came back, I got a repo letter from my credit union. I later called to work it out but they would not agree. My car was picked up in February. I want to buy a used car for under $3,000. I have a good, steady job and I’ve been working for this company for more than five years. Do you think I can get a loan for car?


Dear Toyin,
With such a fresh repossession on your record, no company that lends money at competitive rates is likely to extend you credit. There are plenty of buy-here, pay-here types of used car lots that will set you up, but there are two drawbacks: You’ll pay an exorbitant interest rate and the prices of their cars will usually be highly inflated.

What’s more, many of these dealers don’t report to a credit bureau so your timely payments won’t even help you repair your credit rating.

To make the best of a bad situation, try to save enough money to make a sizable down payment — which protects the lender if you default and may help lower the interest rates — and find the cheapest, but most reliable, car you can.

You fail to mention whether you have any other sort of credit available, such as a bank credit card. If you do and there’s room on your credit limit, you might go for a cash advance. The interest rate will probably be high — 21 percent or more — but you’ll be in better shape than being at the mercy of a predatory used-car dealer.