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Can the lender sue me after they repossess my car?

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

If you owe a deficiency after your car was sold at auction, your lender may sue you to collect the rest of the money you owe plus repossession costs and storage fees.  If your deficiency is:

  • Less than $2,000, the lender cannot take you to court.
  • More than $2,000, the lender can take you to court and ask the judge to order you to pay the deficiency.


Loan amount owed Auction sale price Fair Market Value
$7,000 $4,500 $5,500

The deficiency is $1,500.  The deficiency is the difference between the fair market value and the loan amount, not the auction price. 

Because the deficiency is less than $2,000, the lender cannot sue you.

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