Cosign means to add an additional signature to that of the principal's to verify the authenticity of the principal's signature. Cosigning also refers to sharing the liability for payment of a promissory note or other obligation by adding one's signature to such note or obligation.
Under a Federal Trade Commission rule, creditors are required to give you a notice to help explain your obligations. The cosigner's notice says:
You are being asked to guarantee this debt. Think carefully before you do. If the borrower doesn't pay the debt, you will have to. Be sure you can afford to pay if you have to, and that you want to accept this responsibility.
You may have to pay up to the full amount of the debt if the borrower does not pay. You may also have to pay late fees or collection costs, which increase this amount.
The creditor can collect this debt from you without first trying to collect from the borrower.* The creditor can use the same collection methods against you that can be used against the borrower, such as suing you, garnishing your wages, etc. If this debt is ever in default, that fact may become a part of your credit record.
This notice is not the contract that makes you liable for the debt.
*Depending on your state, this may not apply. If state law forbids a creditor from collecting from a cosigner without first trying to collect from the primary debtor, this sentence may be crossed out or omitted on your cosigner notice.
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