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Behindon calj

,SIONS are now on
. the rise as the eco­
nomic slump continues.
Having a car repossessed
hinders more than just a car
owner's mobility; it has a
severe impact on credit
scores, thereby limiting the
ability to get loans or credit
cards for up to seven years.
The Better Business Bu­
reau of MiS'Slssippi advises
ti'OU'bled car owners on how
to avoid losing their vehicle
and their creditworthiness.
'The worst thing you could
do when falling behind on a
car payment is to bury your
head in the sand and ignore
the problem. To prevent re­
possession and the negative
effect on personal credit
scores, automobile owners
have to take responsible ac­
tion and face the issue head
on - otherwise, there is
nothing good that will come
of the situation.
Consumers should know
that, if a lender chooses to
sell the car at auction and it
is bought for less than the
outstanding loan, the origi­
nal ovmer mav still be on
the hook to the loan
balance in addition to added
fees-essentially paying for a
car they no longer own.
The BBB recommends that
car owners consider taking
the following steps when
falling behind on car pay­
• Contact your lender.
The best case scenario for
both you and your lender is
to keep you in your car and
able to make payments.
Lenders wi ll often work with
troubled borrowers to devel­
op more agreeable payment
plans. Some possible options
are loan refinancing, ex­
tending or deferring pay­
ments, changing payment
due dates and waiving fees.
• Choose a less expensive
vehicle. If you're not "up­
side down" on your loan
(owing more than the vehi­
cle is worth) and can payoff
the loan on the vehicle by
seIling it, consider finding a
less expensive auto with
monthly payments that are
within your means.
• Do your research before
enlisting any debt manage­
ment help. Some businesses
offer assistance in debt
management and repo pre­
vention. Be extremely wary
of offers and sales pitches
that require up front fees,
and always research the or"
ganization with the BBB be­
fore you do business with
Consider enlisting the
help of a credit counseling
agency that offer inexpen­
sive, and in some cases free,
guidance on how to manage.
money. You can find a crediti
counseling agency near you !
through the National Foun­
dation for Credit Counseling
- the nation's largest and ·
longest-serving non-profit
credit counseling network ­
For more advice from BBB
on managing personal fi­
nances and debt, visit
Bill Maak is president of the
Better Business Bureau of
Mississippi. E-mail him at