Chapter 7 of Money Troubles has a chart titled Are You Always Liable for Deficiency? The chart notes which states put limits on a creditor’s ability to collect a deficiency from you after it repossesses your personal property (such as a car or major appliance). Below are changes to chart entries for: Florida, Maine, Maryland, and Missouri.
What Is Deficiency After Repossession?
If you finance the purchase of a car, the car loan lender will take a security interest in your car. That means that if you don’t pay, it can repossess (take) the car back. Sometimes you pledge other purchases as security for payments as well. This often happens when you purchase furniture, large appliances, or expensive electronics on credit. If you default on payments, the creditor can take back (repossess) the property. (Learn more about repossession of personal property.)
Once the lender or creditor repossesses the property, it can sell it to recoup its loss. If the sales price does not cover the unpaid balance plus the costs the lender incurred in repossessing and selling the property, you will owe the difference – called the deficiency. (Learn more about deficiency after repossession.)
Some States Prohibit the Collection of a Deficiency in Certain Situations
Some states don’t allow a creditor or lender to collect a deficiency after repossession in some situations. For example, in Alabama if you paid less than $1,000 for the property, the lender cannot pursue you for a deficiency if it repossesses the property.
The following states have changes to their chart entries. The updated language is provided below.
If the unpaid balance at the time of default is less than $2,000.
If the amount you financed is $2,800 or less.
If you paid $2,000 or less for the collateral or the contract does not provide a right to collect the deficiency.
If the amount financed was $500 or less or the unpaid balance is $300 or less.
In addition, a few states have increased their dollar amounts. Those states, along with the increased amounts, are:
You can also find the updated information in Nolo’s article State Limits on the Collection of Deficiency Balances.