Can I Get Out of a Car Loan I Signed for My Immature Daughter?

Dear Penny,

Three years ago, my daughter had no job, no car and no credit, but she had a brand-new college degree. I helped her purchase a car so she could conduct her job search.

I agreed to make the first three monthly payments of $343 each. I set up autopay to bill my bank account. But I put the car title in her name. I didn’t want to be liable if there was an accident.

Well, duh. That was a big mistake. After three months, even though she was working, she asked for an extension, which I granted. She continued asking for extensions citing myriad excuses: Her cats got sick and she had big veterinary bills, her rent increased, she had to replace a cell phone, etc.

Three years later (on a five-year loan), she’s never taken over payments.

She eventually stopped bothering to make excuses and called me selfish and a “nag.” She felt entitled to the car because “you have a BMW and enjoy a life of leisure.” (I’m retired after 43 years as an elementary school teacher .)

I was never asking for reimbursement, just that my daughter would be responsible for payments going forward. She knew three years ago and knows now that the car was NOT a gift.

The car dealership finance department said they couldn’t even talk to me because the title isn’t in my name. The bank said if I stopped payments on the bills, the car would be repossessed. I’ve already paid more than $17,000 for the car.

Now my daughter and I no longer speak. Meanwhile, she lives beyond her means. She is a big disappointment to me. My other two children transitioned to adulthood and financial independence quite easily.

As I age, I’m incurring more medical expenses. I need to rein in my spending.

What can I do to extricate myself from this situation?


Editor’s note: Dear Penny is on vacation this week. This column was originally published on Nov. 17, 2019.

Dear P.,

Your daughter can either do the mature, adult thing and make the payments she agreed to. Or she can keep…

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