Answered on Nov 01st, 2013 at 5:29 PM
Get a lawyer. I am not being cute, glib or snarky. Just because the car was repossessed does not mean that you do not owe a deficiency. When a car is repo'd, you have 10 days to get the car back. Most people are not in a position to redeem the car and don't file bankruptcy. If the car is not redeemed, it is taken to the auto auction and sold for pennies. Such sales do not bring in what the car is worth or anywhere near what is owed. The sale proceeds (minus sale costs) are applied to the balance owed on the loan, plus the collection/repo costs. This is the deficiency for which you are responsible. The deficiency continues to earn interest so it is not hard to see how the debt grew to $13,000. The statute of limitations can vary - its probably 6 years but it could be 4 and if 4, then the action may be barred by the statute of limitations. An attorney can review the complaint and situation with you and see if you have a valid statute of limitations or other defense. If you do, then the attorney can file an answer on your behalf which must be filed no more than 30 days after the complaint has been served on you (date of service is date on which you received the complaint; if you are not sure then check with the court). If you have no defenses, then you need to decide what you are going to do to resolve the debt. Litigating is not really an option if this is a debt for which you are responsible and there are no defenses like the statute of limitations. You would be better off in such case either filing bankruptcy or saving your money to settle the debt depending on your circumstances. However, this can be discussed with a lawyer at the time the complaint is filed. I would look for a lawyer who either handles settlement of consumer debts or possibly a bankruptcy lawyer. If you have the funds, it may be possible to settle the debt for far less than what they are asking for. An attorney can help with that too.