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What is a deficiency?

Produced by Will Komos, Ryan Metz, Kelsea Schimmel with attorney assistance from Raven Moeslinger
Created February, 2021

If the fair market value of your car is less than the loan amount you owe, the deficiency is the amount between those two numbers.

Fair market value is the amount someone would pay for your car if it were for sale. You can find the approximate fair market value of your car from a company like Kelley Blue Book. The fair market value could be different for a repossessed car than a car that was not repossessed.


Loan amount owed Auction sale price Fair Market Value
$5,000 $2,500 $4,000

The deficiency is $1,000.

The lender cannot try to collect the difference between the auction price and the loan amount if the auction price is different than the fair market value.

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