Facing the possibility of car repossession can be one of the most frightening experiences. It is especially traumatic when you only have one car to depend on for your daily commute. In South Africa, a car is one of the most important assets to have. Losing your car and all the money you have paid to your creditors can throw anyone into a state of shock, but you have rights and should be aware of them. Understanding your rights and the process of a car repossession can sometimes even help you to save your asset in time.
Know Your Rights
As a South African consumer, your rights when facing a car repossession are as follows:
- The right to receive a statement of account from the lender showing the amount owed.
- The right to receive written notice from the lender before repossession takes place.
- The right to challenge the repossession in court within a certain timeframe.
- The right to apply for debt review, which can help you avoid repossession and negotiate lower payments. This can only take place before a summons has been issued.
- The right to negotiate with the lender to get your car back if it has already been repossessed.
- The right to legal representation if necessary.
It is important to know that lenders have rights as well. Lenders have the right to move forward with the process by sending you a letter of demand within 20 days of missing a payment. It is important not to get into this position.
Critical Advice for Consumers
- Respond to notices: If you receive a written notice from your lender stating that they intend to repossess your car, don’t ignore it. You have the right to challenge the repossession in court, but you must respond to the notice within a certain timeframe. If you don’t respond, the lender can assume that you have no objections to the repossession and proceed with taking your car.
- Don’t let the repossession happen: If you know that you’re going to default on your car repayments, take action even before you lapse on the payment. Debt review can assist you in saving your asset if you act fast enough and have not received a summons yet.
- Know your options: If your car has already been repossessed, you still have options. You can try to negotiate with the lender to get your car back. You may need to pay all fees owed upfront, but you will stand a chance of having your car returned to you.
- Get legal help: If you’re facing car repossession and are unsure of what to do, consider getting legal help. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and can represent you in court if necessary.
Being in a position where you are over-indebted can be an extremely frightening experience. The cost of living is rising exponentially. Choose to protect your finances, assets, and mental health. Enquire about your options with Debt Rescue.