How Does a Repossession Affect My Credit Score?

So the worst has happened. You walked to the street, keys in hand, ready for another long day at work. Except this time, where once your car sat, prepared to faithfully take you to your office, there now was only an empty parking space.


Putting aside all of the logistics such as how to go about getting it back, and how much is it going to cost you, there is another insidious issue now that your car has been repossessed. What will happen to your credit score, now that your credit report will show that your car was repossessed?


A repossession stays on your credit report for seven long years. It will affect your credit score more severely than some other negative elements on your report, such as late or missing payments. And unlike an issue such as a debt that is in collections, you can’t just pay off the balance owed and easily have it removed from your credit report.


The older your repossession gets, the less it will affect your credit. But since it is on your report for seven years, it will be burden to you and your credit for the entire time it is listed. Consequently, it is important to do your best to avoid having a vehicle repossessed.


But sometimes bad things happen. If you have had a vehicle repossessed, and your credit has taken a hit, is there anything that can be done about it?


You can attempt to dispute the repossession on your credit. There is little chance of success, but it doesn’t hurt to try, especially because the dispute process through all three credit bureaus is fairly quick, free, and simple. The credit bureau will investigate your case, and there is a small chance it might find errors on the part of the agency that reported the repossession, such as recordkeeping discrepancies. If this occurs, then it may remove the repossession from your credit. If the credit bureau determines that your car was legitimately repossessed (which is the most likely scenario), then the repossession will stay on your credit.


There is one drawback to investigating your repossession. If you still owe money to the creditor for the repossessed vehicle, then starting the dispute process with the credit bureaus may put you on the creditor’s radar. The creditor may then choose to take steps to collect on the money you owe, such as garnishing your wages.


If you have had a vehicle repossessed, it may be wise to discuss your situation with an attorney. If the repossession is determined to be improper, you might be able to sue the creditor and have it removed from your credit report. This would also eliminate any debt owed to the creditor.