The Grace Period After Repossession to Get Your Car Back in Georgia

by Leah Waldron-Gross ; Updated July 27, 2017

Under Georgia's Commercial Code, you have a right to buy back your vehicle from your creditor even if the car has already been repossessed. However, you must pay the full amount owed to the creditor, plus any reasonable creditor expenses, such as repossession charges. The grace period is not defined under Georgia law, but you have a right to buy back the vehicle until the creditor resells the vehicle to another buyer.

Legal Repossession

Georgia vehicle repossessions usually result from one or more missed loan payments, which is also known as loan default. Under Georgia law, if you are behind in payments and you reach default status, your vehicle may be repossessed by the creditor until you can pay the accumulated amount due, plus any additional late fees and repossession charges.

Timeline

If your creditor decides to sell the repossessed vehicle, Georgia law requires that he inform you of the sale date, which will give you a time frame regarding your time limit to buy back the vehicle. The creditor has the right to sell your vehicle at any time after repossession, but the manner and price in which he sells the vehicle must adhere to Georgia law. The vehicle must be sold in a commercially reasonable manner and at a fair market price.

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Deficiency or Surplus

If you cannot buy back your vehicle before the car is resold to a new buyer, you will be responsible for the deficiency, which is the amount left on the loan after the new sale price is deducted. If the creditor sells your vehicle for more than your loan amount, you will be given a rebate on any leftover money, which is known as a surplus.

Under-$3,000 Exception

If your vehicle was priced at $3,000 or less at the time of the original vehicle purchase, the creditor may only repossess through a judicial hearing. However, the creditor can get around this by adding a "notice to consumer" authorization clause in your loan contract, which forfeits this right. The notice is printed above your signature on the loan and must be conspicuously placed for the notice to be legally enforced.

Considerations/Warnings

A repossession will adversely affect your credit rating and should be avoided when possible. While a bankruptcy will also hurt your credit, filing bankruptcy may allow you to keep your vehicle even after a repossession has taken place, as long as the vehicle has not been resold by the creditor. Other options include selling the vehicle to a third party, such as a friend or family member, to get it out of repossession.

About the Author

Leah Waldron is the head of Traveler Services at First Abroad, a gap year travel company based in Boston and London. As a travel, research and LGBT news writer, Waldron has publication credit on magazines and newspapers including "Curve Magazine," "USA Today," "The Sun Sentinel" and the "The Houston Chronicle." Waldron has a bachelor's and master's degree in creative writing from Florida State University.

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