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Options for Getting Out of a Used Car Purchase

Hello everyone! I have a dilemma I hope you can help me with. About three months ago, I co-signed for a 2013 Toyota Camry with my son to help him build his credit. (I know, I know… I should have known better.) He was supposed to come up with half the down payment and make the monthly payments, but instead has used whatever money he was making for his personal use and not paying any bills at all, let alone the car payment. So to keep my credit good, I’ve been making the payments and I’ve “repossessed” the car from him. Now I’m stuck with a car I don’t need and a car payment I had not planned for. I know I can’t return the car, but would love some ideas on what I might do.

Sell it. You will take a loss but stop the bleeding.

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First: Make sure you have all keys to vehicle
Second: If son is on insurance and he is not going to be driving any of your vehicles have him listed as non driver to lower your rates.
Third: You can get an written offer from Carmax or something like it to see if that amount and what you have to put with it is something you can live with. You may need to check with your Dept. of Motor Vehicles to see if you can sell without his signature if he is unwilling to accept your decision.

Thanks, oldtimer_11! That is a good point and I’ll investigate it.

Thanks, VOLVO_V70! I do have all the keys, and he is not on my insurance, though he initially insured the car himself. Now I’m insuring it while I figure out what to do. And I’ll check into your Carmax suggestion. I may need to take a loss now to keep from shelling out the dough monthly.

Check for your cars value. CarMax gives you around the fair value listed. If it is in really good shape and they keep it they will give you more. I took them a 2013 Nissan Frontier and got 23k for it and that was the fair value at the time they kept it and sold it for 26k. I only owed 22k so I got a check for 1000 and they paid off the 22k

I agree with selling it, but realize that co-signing for the loan does not make you a co-owner of the vehicle. It only makes you responsible for the payments if your son defaults. “Repossessing” also does not unless there was a written loan contract between you and your son that allows that. Since the car was purchased on a bank loan, that’s unlikely. You’re probably going to have to get your son to agree to the sale. The lienholder will, of course, have to be paid in full out of the proceeds. The buyer will likely want to write the check to your son as the vehicle “owner”, and you may have to get the money from him, or have him sign the check over to you.

I understand your story. I once bought a car from a parent who had done that for his errant daughter’s Nissan. He (an ex-police officer and security specialist) took it back, cleaned it up and put it in a locked garage before putting it up for sale.

The car was in mint condition and my wife drive it for 12 years.

Hi, I’m really sorry your son doesn’t appreciate what you’ve done for him. You can try selling it to a private party but don’t list it on Craigslist. Depending on where you live there’s an awful lot of scam sales on Craigslist and you might not find the best buyers there. Try AutoTrader or or some of the other used car selling sites. They charge a bit. If you want to assure people the car has not had any accidents go to and run a record on it. Make copies to give perspective buyers.

If you cannot find a private party buyer call some dealers and offer to sell it to them. They will want to give you as little $ as possible for it, so you might have trouble there, but be firm on your price! Dealers will understand what a great car this is and if you really just want the problem to be solved, you can always find a buyer for a good car at a dealer. Don’t try the Big Dealers. Try the little shops first. They will be more excited to get a nice car. The Big Dealers see nice cars all the time.

May I suggest you get your son a department store credit card (a store he likes) to help him build his credit? He may still be hitching rides with his buddies but he’s always going to need to buy clothes eventually. If you want to help him with a car again buy him something for $2,000 cash and no payment. His insurance will be cheaper, it won’t stress you out if he doesn’t keep such an old car clean, and he won’t have to remember to make a car payment.

The son’s insurance will be sky high, because he’s a young man

Completely out of the question until he repays the money he cost his mother by being an ungrateful jerk.

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I sold a car on Vroom in August. Did everything online and they sent a truck to pick it up. They gave me a lot more than what carmax offered.

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If you give young people more responsibility than they are ready to handle, they are more likely to fail. That’s why the entire community college system was born - give them two years at the easier college, often close to home, before they have to go away somewhere and handle everything alone.

I don’t know the age of this young man, but I do know that 18 is only a number. So is 21. Some 18-year-olds are already raising kids and doing a good job of that. Some 21-year-olds cannot pay even a Kohl’s card on time each month and, quite frankly, the banking industry knows that and markets credit cards to young adults hoping they will fail miserably and pay that 22% interest for a long time.

This mistake is not the end of the world. It does not mean the young person is a hopeless loser and can never be trusted again. Many young people are not taught how to handle money at all, by parents or the school system. Your typical high school will teach Economics for a semester but sure won’t teach how to balance a bank account or inspect your account for false charges.

People have to be taught how to do things. No one wakes up one day knowing how to handle their money. They can go pay for advice, they can turn to family and friends, they can read books on money, but it is not a skill people are born with. They gather information and then make choices. What the student valued in this situation is not what the parent valued. They are both learning - learning the HARD WAY, as so many of us do, but they have learned.

Not really. Many if not most community colleges evolved post-WWII from “vocational-technical colleges” subsidized by states and designed to provide productive skill sets to those high school graduates who were not university bound. They taught welding, automotive, plumbing, electricity, electronics, and other “blue collar” skills. Lab-intensive programs, however, are expensive to operate, and under growing budgetary pressure by legislators to reduce operating costs after the prosperity of the ‘50s and ‘60s passed, these colleges began to add general education programs to add “asses to the classes”. Eventually, they began to add liberal arts programs to run larger classes at lower per-student costs. In NH, the community college system was even eventually mandated to morph into a non-profit institution totally separate from the state general fund, no longer receiving an appropriations budget from the state’s General Fund, no longer competing with HHS, DOT, DRED, and all the other state agencies for our tax dollars. The state legislature now approves by-credit subsidies from the state budget based on the home state of the student (in state and out of state students are subsidized differently), but the colleges’ budgets are otherwise totally supported by their revenue generating capabilities. Rather than being run by a Commissioner appointed by the Governor and Council and missioned based upon the legislators’ inputs from industries as regards what they need, the colleges are run by a Chancellor answering to a Board of Trustees. In NH this change was finalized about ten years ago. Setting up a totally separate college system to replace a state agency college system took about five years. There was a great deal of work to do.

Today’s community colleges provide in the courses they offer as good and in many cases better education than private universities. In many cases they have “articulation agreements” with four year universities that allow a student graduating from a community college with an associate’s degree to go straight into a four year university as a junior without any assessment or barriers.

Community colleges do, in fact, offer “remedial courses” for many students who assess poorly, but many universities now offer those as well. The population graduating from high schools is dropping, and all colleges not heavily “endowed” (like Harvard is, for example) are finding ways to compensate financially for dropping enrollment. And, frankly, student assessment performance has been dropping for a very long time too, making remediation necessary for colleges to keep their enrollment (read: revenue) up.

I personally wish community colleges that originated as “Voc-Techs” would return to their original mission more. There’s an enormous gap left now between the education too many kids are seeking (cheap, easy, and allowing them to stay on their parent’s insurance) and the skills being sought by industries. Private for-profit colleges are filling some of the gap, but often very poorly and never cheaply. Many are really, really poor.

I (almost) close by recognizing that my descriptions don’t apply to all states. Some, Massachusetts being one, evolved from a very different structure with a very different mission. Consequently, they’ve evolved into one of IMHO the finest state university systems in the world in the areas of sciences, engineering, and technology.

I apologize for the tangent, and for the length of the dissertation. But I think the described impressions of community colleges do them and their students a disservice. Most community colleges do a great job. Yeah, I know, I started the second sentence with a conjunction… but, than, I went to a university! :grin: