I have decided I want to surrender my vehicle. The lien holder says that they will not allow this, but that they will wait until the account is 190 days past due and come get the car.
I have never been late on a payment in one year, and now they want to force me to be 3 months late in order to surrender the vehicle.
How do I go about giving them the car back?
You have rights in terms of Section 127 of the National Credit Act (NCA) which talks about Surrender of Goods. I.t.o Section 127 you may give the credit provider written notice that you wish to terminate the credit agreement and that you want to return the vehicle. You can then return the vehicle to the credit provider’s place of business during ordinary business hours within 5 days after your initial notice, or within such other period of time as may be agreed with the credit provider.
The credit provider is then obliged i.t.o Section 127 (2) of the NCA to give you a written notice of the estimated value of the vehicle. You then have 10 days after this notice to unconditionally withdraw your notice to terminate the credit agreement, and then resume possession of the vehicle, unless you are in default.
If you receive a notice stipulating the value of the vehicle, and you do not respond to it, the credit provider must sell the vehicle as soon as practicable for the best price reasonably obtainable.
If they sell the vehicle for less than what you still owe them, you will be liable for the shortfall. If they sell it for more than what you owe them, they must pay the excess from the proceeds over to you.
They cannot force you to fall into arrears first. If you do, you cannot take the vehicle back if you so decide. So, my advice would be to follow the NCA, keep your payments up to date and return the vehicle. Whatever you do, do it in writing and keep proper records.
Have a great day