Posted by Becky Gulden
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's day four of our series 20 ways, 20 days to survive the economy.
Today's topic is avoiding car repossessions.
Most of us would have a pretty hard time getting around without our cars they're very important to us. They are also one of our biggest expenses and in these tough economic times keeping up with car payments can be hard.
According to a report by NPR vehicle repossessions are up 10% this year. Anaylists predict 1.6 million vehicles will be reposessed nationwide.
"Sometimes people get in over their heads. Sometimes they buy a car that's more expensive to impress the neighbors, keep up with the Joneses and sometimes they're paying more for a car payment than they'll pay for their mortgage," said Christine Mitchell, manager of the Jefferson-Pilot Communications Federal Credit Union,
Mitchell has handled countless car loans and repossessions.
Her best advice if you find yourself struggling?
"Make your payments on time if you can. If you can't, the first thing you need to do is contact your lender, because there's programs out there for people who are suffering. They can get an extension on their loan, maybe give 'em a couple of months to get caught up, they could maybe refinance their loan and get lower payments. So there's options out there, but you can't keep the lender in the dark 'cause if you keep 'em in the dark they don't know what's going on."
Mitchell says do not ignore their phone calls or notices in the mail.
So what can you do to avoid repossession?
We went to ehow.com a website that offers information on how to do just about everything.
Here are the six steps it recommends to avoid repossession:
1) Devise a plan to get back on your financial feet and catch up on your car payments.
2) Contact the creditor who loaned you the money to buy your car to discuss the situation.
3) Ask your creditor about their willingness to work with you as you try to get your payments back on track.
4) Ask your creditor if they can reconfigure your loan.
5) Consider selling your car...you can at least avoid the havoc and anxiety of repossession.