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Are auto issues contributing to Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

There is no denying America's deeply rooted car culture. From visiting the park to grocery shopping to commuting to work, it all takes place behind the wheel. However, a love of vehicles is not enough to keep Florida consumers from experiencing car-related money problems. In fact, automotive issues are among the top causes of consumer financial despair, which may lead some to seek relief through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 

The Consumer Federation of America regularly collects data from disgruntled consumers. It recently analyzed data sourced by 40 consumer agencies across 23 different states to conclude that, in 2017, consumers were the most upset about car issues. Consumers most frequently complained about problems with recently purchased used vehicles, towing disputes, faulty or incomplete auto repairs, and more. 

Unlike other consumer complaints, like shoddy home improvements or false advertising, auto complaints have a much a larger impact. Not only is there the financial side of things, such as forking out more money to repair a vehicle that was supposed to be in good running order, but there is also a person's livelihood to consider. Many places in Florida do not offer robust public transportation options, and even those that do tend to be slow and inconsistent. Not having a reliable vehicle can be the difference between having a job and being unemployed.  

Consumer complaints can be a good indication of where Florida residents are struggling financially. Cars in particular can be expensive, and having to pay more than expected because of false advertising or bad repairs can be financially devastating for people who are already struggling. For these individuals, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a smart option. After sticking to repayment plan for several years, consumers can have the rest of their debt discharged, leaving them in a better financial position. 

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Paul Urich
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