Home > Managing Debt > Reader Question: Collection Agency Garnishment Threat Raises Red Flags

Comments 4 Comments

We received the following reader question this week…

Q: I keep receiving calls from PDLR group saying they have a court order for a wage garnishment. They do not tell me who the creditor is—just that I need to call them back to stop the garnishment. I have received nothing in writing. They have been continually calling since July. Have you ever heard of them and do you know if they are legitimate?

A: I do recall receiving complaints about PDLR in the past, and I found quite a few online when I simply searched for “PDLR Group.” I also checked with the Better Business Bureau. It lists a PDLR Group in Aurora, Illinois, but says it is not rated. Finally, I searched the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s website. That agency licenses collection agencies in Illinois. No results were found for PDLR.

I cannot confirm whether this agency is legitimate or not, but in addition to my efforts to research the company above, you describe other red flags in your email.

[Infographic: What to do if a Debt Collector Calls]

First, in order to garnish your wages, a creditor or collector almost always must first take you to court and get a judgment against you. You would typically know about this because you would have been served with a court summons informing you that you were being sued for a debt. It is possible for a creditor or collector to get a “default” judgment against you if you don’t show up in court when you are sued, however, so you may want to check your credit reports to make sure no judgment is listed.

Secondly, when a creditor or collector gets a court order for wage garnishment, the next step is usually to contact your employer to initiate the garnishment. As the National Consumer Law Center explains in its helpful guide, Surviving Debt:

After obtaining a judgment, the collector can file a request for garnishment with the court clerk, sheriff, or another local official depending on state practice. A notice is then issued to the “garnishee” (a bank, an employer, or another third party holding your property), directing that party to turn over the money at a specified time.

You must be given notice of the garnishment. You can then request a hearing to prove that state or federal law protects your money from garnishment.

[Resource: Get your free personalized Credit Report Card]

The fact that you haven’t received anything in writing is problematic. A debt collector is required under federal law to send you notification of the debt within five days of initially contacting you, and that notice must include specific information about the debt it alleges you owe. If you have moved and didn’t leave a forwarding address, then it’s possible the collector can’t find you. But I also have to warn you that one of the hallmarks of the collection scams that have been sweeping the country is the fact that these companies never send anything in writing, and rely solely on the telephone to intimidate debtors into paying bogus debts.

I would recommend you call this collection agency. If necessary, have a friend or relative with you for moral support. Keep a pen and paper handy to take notes of what the collector says.

Your goal is to simply tell the company to send you something in writing. Don’t engage in any other conversation about the debt. No matter how they try to steer the conversation, tell them you know your rights and you want written notification of the debt. If they refuse, or start threatening you, you can hang up. If they call you again, talk with a consumer law attorney.

[Featured Product: Get a free trial credit score]

Image: Dan Huby, via Flickr.com

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Pingback: Roodhouse considering hiring collection agency | Stop Collection Calls()

  • Pingback: Beware of Calls and Threats From Fake Collection Agencies | TheMoneyCoach.net()

  • Anonymous

    If you feel that you are being mistreated by a collection agency located in Illinois, you may file a complaint against it with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation here: https://www.idfpr.com/Admin/Filing/DPR/Complaint.asp

  • Pingback: Beware of Calls and Threats From Fake Collection Agencies | Ask A Money Expert - BETA()

  • Joanna

    I received the same phone call from a Ms Dardin at PDLR last week. She could not tell me when I taken the payday loan or from what company. She was very covincing however and since I had gotten into payday loan trouble several years ago, I thought it was for real. DO NOT let them intimidate you. Believe me if they are going to garnish your wages, there are a lot of steps that they would have taken first.

  • KC

    More people need to be reporting agencies like this to the BBB and to the website listed above. I just sent in a complaint. The more complaints they get the more someone will do something about it. At least I hope!

  • Michelle

    Please note…..this company is a SCAM. If you have ever fell into the internet payday loan trap, this is how they are getting your information. They can not do anything to you. They can not garnish your wages because in order to do that they would have to get a court order. In order to get a court order, they have to prove you owe the money. And even if you do owe the money, because payday loans have been banned in a lot of states, you may not have to pay them ANYTHING!!!

    Check with your state/local government. These loans are illegal in most cases because the interest rates are far above the legal allowable limit.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team