I owe more on my car than it's worth...what can I do?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 2000

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm in a quandary. My girlfriend and I are breaking up. A year and a half ago, I refinanced her car in my name so she could get a better interest rate on the loan. (She has lousy credit, and we were going to live together happily ever after.) Now, I'm stuck with the car and I want to sell it. The problem is it's a '97 Ford Aspire, and according to the blue book value, it's worth about $6,000. But I still owe the bank more than $7,000. This reflects the bank's adjusted finance charge for early pay-off of the loan. Do you have any suggestions that don't involve something that could constitute insurance fraud or arson? -- Thomas

RAY: Well, you don't leave us much room to maneuver here, Thomas. No insurance fraud or arson. What's left?

TOM: I think you're stuck, Thomas. I think you're going to have to sell the car and eat the loss. You just have to chalk it up to a very expensive lesson in love.

RAY: The only piece that might be negotiable is the bank's additional finance charge. If you made an appointment with someone sufficiently high up at the bank and
explained that you might have to default on the loan, they might be willing to negotiate with you. My guess is they'd rather have their principal back than have to chase
you for it through a collection agency. It's up to them, but they might agree to lower that early payoff charge under the circumstances.

TOM: But other than that, we don't have any brilliant suggestions to offer you. Maybe some of our readers have some ideas? If you do, write to us and we'll pass them
along to Thomas. But please, we will not accept suggestions from people who are currently incarcerated (at least from those incarcerated for insurance fraud or arson,

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