Student may flee U.S., loan obligation

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Dear Terry,
I’m an international student and 100 percent of my income is covered by my guardian back in my home country. I bought a new car last year through auto finance with a high interest rate. The monthly payment is absolutely killing me, but I have to drive to my school. So, I kept paying the bill every month without any choice.

Since two months ago, I have had difficulty paying the debt on time because of my financial issues. Now, I cannot even afford to pay the loan anymore because my guardian encountered a financial problem and cannot support me anymore. I have to go back to my home country ASAP and I have to return the car to the lender.

Can I return the car to the lender without paying too much in difference? Is there any way to walk away from this situation? I have no money to pay them and I don’t really care about my credit score anymore since I plan to leave the country for good.

I also worry about people who became my references. During the process of filling a credit application, I wrote down two names of references. I’m so blessed to have these people to help me during the process of buying a new car and I want to make sure that this incident of mine won’t hurt their reputation or their credit score at all.

Could you tell me if this thing will affect them? I’m fully responsible for any action that I do.


Dear Susan,
Assuming your friends did not co-sign the loan, they will be unaffected by your defaulting on the loan. But let me say that it’s poor form to simply flee the country and not meet your obligations.

Here are this week’s reader questions:
Low-cost car lease offers tempt buyers
Can I ditch my car loan by leaving the U.S.?
Which steps can help me pay off my vehicle?
Will a dealer’s woes allow me to escape my lease?

If you have a question for Terry, e-mail him at
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