Managing Debt

Creditor Gets a Judgment Against You – Now What?

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A reader asks some great questions about judgments. They give us the opportunity to talk about what judgments are and how they work.

I have fallen behind on some bills and one of the creditors told me that if I can’t pay, they will take me to court and get a judgment. Should I be worried about that? What is a judgment anyway? If I can’t pay, does it matter if they get a judgment?

What is a judgment?

The Encarta World Dictionary (North American edition) definitions include:

1. Legal verdict: the decision arrived at and pronounced by a court of law.

2. Obligation resulting from verdict: an obligation, e.g. a debt, that arises as a result of a court’s verdict, or a document setting out an obligation of this kind.

Typically, when you are talking about a judgment related to a debt, you are describing a “money judgment” that states how much money you owe to the person who obtained the judgment against you.

How does a creditor or collector get a judgment against you?

In order to get a judgment against you, the creditor or collector must take you to court. If you don’t respond, or if you lose, the court will issue a judgment in favor of the creditor or collector. The judgment will be filed with the court, and once that happens, it is public record. That means it will likely end up on your credit reports as a negative item.

How long can judgments appear on credit reports?

Unpaid, they can remain on your credit reports for seven years or the governing statute of limitations, whichever is longer. Once judgments are paid, they must be removed seven years after the date they were entered by the court.

How long can judgments be collected?

There is a specific time period for collecting judgments, and it varies by state. This “statute of limitations” is often 10-20 years long. In addition, in most states it can be renewed. For that reason alone, it’s best to try to avoid getting a judgment against you in the first place. And if it does happen, it’s best to try to resolve the debt.

Can interest accumulate on a judgment?

Yes. In most states, interest may be charged on a judgment, either at any rate spelled out in state law, or at the rate described in the contract you signed with the creditor. In addition, the judgment may include court costs, and attorney’s fees.

How are judgments collected?

One of the main reasons you want to try avoid getting a judgment against you is that creditors may have additional ways to collect once a judgment has been issued. Depending on your state’s laws, they may include going after your bank accounts or other property, or trying to garnish your wages.

But as the saying goes, “you can’t get blood from a stone.” As the National Consumer Law Center points out in its book, “Surviving Debt:”

Even if you lose a lawsuit, this does not mean you must repay the debt. If your family is in financial distress and cannot afford to repay its debts, a court judgment that you owe the money may not really change anything. If you do not have the money to pay, the court’s judgment that you owe the debt will not make payment anymore possible.

If you aren’t sure what a judgment creditor can do to collect from you, it’s a good idea to consult a bankruptcy attorney who can help you understand what may be at risk if you don’t pay. The attorney can explain what property you own is “exempt,” or safe from creditors. “Surviving Debt,” from the National Consumer Law Center is another good resource.

Can I settle a judgment?

The answer to this question is often “yes.” Most judgment creditors know it is often difficult to collect judgments, especially if the debtor doesn’t have wages that can be garnished or assets they can go after. If you are able to get a lump sum of money from, say a relative, you may be able to offer that to the creditor to pay off the judgment. Just make sure you get any agreement in writing before you pay. Make sure the agreement spells out all the terms of the settlement, including the fact that you will not owe any more money after you make the agreed upon payment.

How can I avoid a judgment?

Another option is to settle the debt before it goes to court. The creditor may be willing to settle for part or all of the money you owe. Of course that only works if you can manage to pull together money to pay them. If you can, make sure you have a written agreement from them that states they will not pursue the debt in court if you make the payment as agreed. Then check with the court to make sure the matter has been dropped.

Anything else I should know about judgments?

A debt collector that threatens to get a judgment against you or to garnish your wages or seize your property may be making an illegal threat. Talk with a consumer law attorney to find out if that’s the case.

And just because you haven’t heard anything about a judgment in a while, that doesn’t mean you should assume it has gone away. It’s possible that the creditor could decide at a later time to try again to collect from you. Plus, an unpaid judgment may prevent you from buying a home or getting credit at a decent interest rate. So it’s a good idea to try to resolve the judgment, either by filing for bankruptcy or by paying off or settling the judgment when you are able to.

If you’re concerned about creditor or your debt in general could be impacting your credit, you can check your three credit reports for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you’d like to monitor your credit more regularly, Credit.com’s Credit Report Card provides you with an easy to understand breakdown of the information in your credit report using letter grades, along with two free credit scores, and it’s updated monthly – all for free.

Reminder: This post is meant as educational information, not legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice.

[Related Article: The Dos and Don'ts of Paying a Debt Collector]

Image: walknboston, via Flickr.com

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  • BradB

    If you can settle make sure you have the creditor stipulate (always in writing as mentioned) to report to the credit bureaus “Paid as Agreed” on the trade line the judgement was granted on once you have made payment. If you are successful with this it will help your credit score.

  • Susan

    If I make monthly payments after a judgement has been entered against me, can my wages still be garnished? I live in Pa, I know the laws for this vary by state.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Hi Susan,

      I posed your question to Philadelphia consumer law attorney Michael Forbes. Here is what he told me:

      Generally, in Pennsylvania, wages cannot be attached. There are a few exceptions where they can be attached, though. These are: Landlord-Tenant case judgments against the tenant, taxes, federal student loans and where a party obtained a judgment against someone in another state (bad court decisions allowing wage garnishment against consumers in Pa.).

      If the judgment debtor is making payments, this has no effect on the laws regarding wage attachment, however, once the creditor knows the identify of their bank and bank account, they can attach the bank account despite being sent the monthly payments by the debtor. So they may want to consider opening an account just to make these payments or to send money orders from a different bank but send these certified mail, return receipt. They would still have no proof that the payments are being applied or even correctly applied – so beware.

      I hope this helps!

      Gerri

  • Susan

    Thank you

  • Joey

    Hello Susan,

    I’m currently living in New Jersey and I’m also in dispute of a complaint (or summons) that was set before me buy a third-party and represented by their lawer. I also understand that the law in NJ are pretty strict about a Pro-Se appearing in court and the chances of failing are huge. However, as of the present the Plaintiff has provided me with a Bill of Sale (redacted) and showing no account information associated to the complaint at hand and a series of bank account statements dating back to 2009. I’m also aware that the Plaintiff doesn’t have to prove the actual contract because since banks are doing everything over electronic record keeping there is no need to provide the burden of proof which is to be “the contract” with my date and signature. I’m having a difficult time trying to conjure up a defense against this material. Can you provide some insights that may alleviate somewhat this burden. Any and all material, website reference or any information would truly help. My trial is next month. Thanks.

    • http://www.credit.com Gerri

      Joey –

      I am curious why you have decided to represent yourself. Have you talked with a consumer law attorney with expertise in debt collection matters? Often, if they think the consumer has a good case, they will represent them for free because under the FDCPA collection agencies who break the law must pay the attorney’s fees.

      If that’s not an option for some reason then my best recommendation is for you to get the FDCPA manuals from the National Consumer Law Center. These are the manuals many consumer law attorneys use and they are quite detailed.

  • Drew

    Hi Gerri,

    I own a small business in FL that successfully completed a recruiting assignment for a client based in TN. When bill came due, they stalled payment then actually post dated a check to me for a portion of the money owed. The check subsequently was returned for insufficient funds. Now the owner of this business says he can’t afford to pay me. He has not filed bankruptcy but has a bankruptcy lawyer fielding his calls. His attorney says they need time to generate more business to pay off debt and that he is aware of his obligations. I come to find out that the business owner has several pending judgements against him already. Should I seek a judgement as well? He will be obligated to pay those debts that have a judgement against before me right? This has been going on for over a year. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Drew –

      You don’t say how much money is involved, but my fear is that you could be throwing good money after bad. If you are successful in getting a judgment (which will likely require you to spend at least some money on attorney’s fees) then you have to try to collect the judgment. Yes, you’ll have a judgment and be ahead of other creditors but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to collect immediately. And the company could file for bankruptcy and wipe out that judgment.

      If the amount involved is substantial, my advice would be for you to talk with an attorney to discuss your options.

  • ryan

    He Gerri. A judgement was just entered against me. Is my business & account and my assets at risk right now as they are claimig?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Ryan,

      What judgment creditors can and cannot do to collect the judgment against you is a matter of state law. Your best bet would be to consult with a consumer law attorney to find out. (Bankruptcy attorneys typically can help – just make sure you clarify what you are trying to accomplish if you make an appointment with one.) I am not an attorney so I wouldn’t want to venture into giving you specific advice.

      Remember, judgments can sometimes be negotiated or settled for less than the full balance like other debts.

  • tina

    Hi
    I have a jugdement against Im getting ready to start a new job. Can I make payments before they start garnishing my wages? I live in NY.plz help

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Tina,

      Typically you can work out a payment plan on a judgment. Those creditors want to be paid just like any others do.

      I would recommend you contact them immediately to see what you can work out. You probably want to offer them at least the amount they would get if they garnish your wages, if not a little more (if you definitely can afford it). Get the agreement in writing before you start paying them.

      You’ll find a helpful guide to wage garnishment in NYC here. If you live elsewhere in the state, the rules may be slightly different but there are some resources listed with that piece that you can use to research your rights.

      Finally, if the creditor is uncooperative or insists on garnishing your wages, talk with your employer. It’s not an ideal situation when you are starting a new job, but it’s best to be upfront with them. Employers are not allowed to fire employees for a single wage garnishment. You can read more about the wage garnishment rules from the Department of Labor here.

  • Julie

    My Dad was served for an outstanding debt on a credit card which he tried to pay down monthly but they wouldn’t negotiate a lower payment.he now needs to respond to the attorney before a judgment is set. He is 78 years old, has many health issues, only gets social security, his house was reversed mortgaged just so he had someplace to live.do you have any suggestions for me on how I should handle this for him since I have his power of attorney? He has no bank accounts and the car he has gets him to and from doctor appointment, can they come into the house to see if Ute has other asserts which he doesn’t have anything.be is just really worried

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Julie –

      So sorry to hear what your father is going through and I am glad you are able to help him.

      I would strongly encourage you to make an appointment to talk with a consumer law attorney (probably an attorney who practices bankruptcy as well) to find out how to proceed. I am not suggesting that your father should or could file for bankruptcy, but the attorney will be able to explain what might happen if he is unable to pay and the creditor gets a judgment against him. It may turn out there is not a lot the creditor can do to collect, in which case he can basically instruct them not to contact him again. A letter from the attorney describing your father’s financial situation may be enough to get them to realize that taking him to court would be pointless. Visit NACA.net or NACBA.org to find a consumer law attorney in your area.

  • Rose

    In August 2005, I was in a coma and on life-support. In September, my fiance assaulted me. The police made him leave. He called the landlord and told her that he was no longer living there, that I was not working, and he was not paying my bills. In July, I had filed for Early Social Security Disability because he persuaded me that he would pay the bills. Two days after the police made him leave, I was served with an eviction notice. The judgement is for $1,300 plus 6.5% interest in Tarrant County, Texas. The lady said she doesn’t want my money and not to call her again. What can I do? I now have 22 diagnoses from the University of Washington Medical Center and have been on disability for a few years. Due to my health, I now have to live in Washington State. This is some 2,500 miles from DFW, TX. The lawyer has to be licensed in Texas and I do not want to hire a lawyer without a consultation first. Traveling would be too expensive and hard on my health. I am having a lot of difficulty finding an affordable attorney or even one that will do a telephone consultation. Legal Aid is a joke that has no humor. Please advise.

    Thank you,
    Rose

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Rose,

      I am not clear what you are trying to accomplish here. Are you trying to pay off or settle the judgment? Or do you believe the judgment is erroneous and you are trying to get it vacated?

      Also you state: “The lady said she doesn’t want my money and not to call her again.” What lady? Who actually has the judgment against you?

      I’ll need a little more information to reply. Thanks!

      • Rose

        I am attempting to resolve/settle the judgement. When I contacted the landlord, she told me that she did not want my money and not to call her again. The judgement is in Texas and I am in Washington State. In September 2005, it was for $1,300 plus 6.5% interest.

        • http://www.Credit.com Gerri

          Hmmm….Does the landlord have the judgment or is it a collection agency? What does it say on your credit reports?

  • Rose

    Judgment and not on credit reports. No one will rent to me and I can not buy a home. I have 22 medical diagnoses with multiple organ involvement. It is medically necessary for me to be within thirty minutes of UWMC Seattle. I have been forced to move over two-hours away and my health is in danger. The landlord will not discuss settlement with me. I have a very complicated medical situation. I need the judgment vacated and am not sure how to handle it. If she will not talk to me about settlement and I am on the verge of being homeless, can I requests that the judge vacate it based on this situation? I can offer her settlement but not for the $1,300 plus interest. I have been in a couple of comas and even on life-support. I did not even remember the judgment. My fixed income makes it difficult to come up with more than $1,200. Since the landlord and I were to discuss settlement and she all of a sudden didn’t want to talk to me or for me to call back, she has no idea what my offer even is. Please advise.

  • Britta

    I have a judgement that I just found out about because my employer was served with garnishment paperwork. I was never served. I went & got the proof of service and it says I was served on a day when I was at work (claimed they served me at home). What are my options at this point? I can’t afford an attorney and bankruptcy isn’t an option. Can I work out something still or is it too late? I would never had let it get this far had I been properly served. I would have tried to work something out in court. Its for under #3K.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Britta –

      Who obtained the judgment against you? A collection agency or the creditor?

  • Britta

    the creditor, Capital One

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Brita,

      It sounds like you were not properly served and the process server my have, in fact, lied about it. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of getting help from an attorney. An attorney may be willing to help you on a contingent fee basis which means you only pay if you win. You can find consumer law attorneys at naca.net. You could also talk with the court where the judgment was entered and ask them for information on how to request that the judgment be vacated. I don’t know how difficult that will be, but it’s worth checking into.

  • Kari Strueh

    My mother has a judgement against her from our neighbor. My mother took care of this neighbor for a year and kept poor finacial records. In turn the neighbor took my mom to court and they signed an agreement. It states a judgment against my mother is to be be paid to the neighbor upon the sale of her home. My mothers home has been on the market since October of 2011. It still hasn’t sold. The neighbor died a week ago. Does my mother still have to pay if the neighbor died? Document doesn’t say. Thank you! I’m in Evansville, Indiana by the way.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      The problem is that judgments don’t just disappear. If the judgment was obtained in court, it will remain there until the statute of limitations expires. It may also be renewed in most states. In addition, if there is a lien against the property it won’t likely disappear either just because your neighbor died. Their heirs may decide to try to collect if they are aware of the situation. At risk of sounding like a broken record, your mother may need to consult a consumer law attorney.

  • Dee

    Hi,

    I have a 2007 judgement, for a car loan where the monthly car payment was approximately $350.00, and a court ordered wage garnishment for $100/month. The creditors have been reporting late payments since the judgement, can they do this? If not, how can I have this removed or resolved?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      In your situation, I am quite honestly more concerned about the judgment debt than the details of how it is reported. At $100 a month on a $10,000 balance that’s over 8 years to pay it off. And that is assuming that they aren’t adding on interest. If they do add interest that will mean that it will take longer – if you even pay it off at all. You could find yourself after several years still owing about what you owe now.

      Is this the only debt you are dealing with? Is there any way you can come up with enough money to pay it off in three years or less??

      • Dee

        Yes, this is pretty much the only debt I am dealing with and interest is applied. A total of $3000 have been garnished from my wages thus far. Is it possible to negotiate an amount that I can afford to save and have this removed?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Dee –

          It is very hard to get public information removed. It is a matter of public record and so it’s not negotiable in the way a collection account would be. However, it would be great if you could resolve this so it can be updated as paid. Then you can start to really rebuild your credit.

          Is there any way you can come up with a lump sum to try to settle this debt? If you could borrow say $2000 from a family member, for example, then you may be able to get them to agree to accept that amount as payment in full. (If you do go that route then you should not pay a penny until you have a signed agreement in hand.) I realize that may be easier said than done but I am concerned that continuing to pay a relatively small amount each month is going to keep you stuck with this debt forever.

  • A.J.

    I have been living in FL for over 11 yrs, a few days ago I saw a huge debit was coming out from my savings account. After calling the bank I was told there was a judgement against me and was given a telephone number to a collection agency responsible for the judgment. The collection agency told this judgment was filed since 2005 in Queens County Civil Court in NY. My question is, how can a judgment be taken out against me since I have not been living in the state of NY for over 11yrs and also why was I not notified of this debt/collection/case/judgment? I have lived at one address from 2003-2009 and then at another from 2009 to present. Is this legal what they have done? Also I do not have any knowledge of opening this account they claim to which I did, I am determined to fight this but can you give me some guidelines.

    • http://www.Credit.com Gerri

      AJ –

      Please talk with a consumer law attorney right away. It is possible this collection agency acted illegally. You must be properly served with notice of a lawsuit and there are numerous reports of situations where this has not happened. In fact, the NY Attorney General took action against a number of collection agencies for this very problem a few years ago. So please get legal advice asap. If it does turn out the collection agency acted illegally, you will be entitled to damages and the collection agency will have to pay your attorney’s fees. So it shouldn’t cost you anything to consult with a consumer law attorney who represents consumers against abusive debt collectors.

  • La Recia

    Can a judgement be removed from my credit if the Collection Agency has gone out of business? They filed the judgement in 2008 and filed bankruptcy in 2012. They are no longer in business. Please Help!!

  • mrichards

    I have a judgement that was filed against me by the collection agency mcm. The amount is 1200 dollars. I am currently unemployed and want to know if they can garnish my bank account, (which would devastate me right now). If so how long do they have to do so and what will happen if I am unable to appear in court. The judgement was filed in New Jersey

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Taking money from your bank account to satisfy a judgment is called a “bank execution” and they are legal in New Jersey. However, the funds in your account may be safe from creditors (or may not be). To find out whether they are, we recommend you talk with a bankruptcy attorney. Many offer a free or low-cost consultation.

      Sorry to hear what you are going through and hope you are able to get the help you need with this.

  • Keith

    Q: recently I found that I have an outstanding judgement against me from nearly 20 years ago. after reading abou the statute of limitations and judgements needing to be renewed before 10 years, I asked the attorney for the Plaintiff to provide me with a copy of his renewal of judgement. he refuses to return my calls (3). do I contact the court and tell them the attorney is not cooperating and ask the court for a copy? the attorney supposedly provided me with all the paperwork on this case, but there is nothing which shows the case was ever renewed. thank you.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Unfortunately I am not familiar with the procedure in this kind of situation. If the court can’t help – that’s where I would start as well – I would talk with a consumer law attorney.

  • Keith

    BTW….case is in Indiana.

  • Keith

    RE: the above mentioned judgement, I have contacted the Plaintiff myself and they tell me that they have no knowledge of a judgement against me. the owner of the company stated, in writting, that if there is a judgement, they have no interest in either pursing or collecting it. I have presented this statement to both the court and the Plaintiff’s attorney. it’s been 3 weeks and have heard nothing from the court and the attorney will not return my numerous VMs I have left.

    if I have a written statement from the Plaintiff such as I have presented, is the court obligated to dismiss the judgement per the Plaintiff’s request, regardless if the attorney does NOT want it dismissed?

  • Jasmine

    Hi
    I have a judgement but the unpaid debt is no longer on my credit report. The debt was in 2003 or 2004 we made a stipulation in 2008 but I was unable to make the payments, so they did a judgement against me in 2009. I just received a letter saying I must pay 10% of my income or they will garnish my checks. I am only a temporary employee so i did an order of show cause and the lawyer is trying to work out a new agreement with me. I dont want to make an agreement and when my assignment is up I cant keep it. Also, I would like to know can the creditor still collect the debt eventhough the debt was removed from my credit report?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Jasmine – The fact that this judgment does not appear on your credit reports doesn’t affect whether the judgment creditor can still try to collect. In fact, you’re pretty lucky that it is now showing up since unpaid judgments can be reported under the Fair Credit Reporting Act for seven years or the governing statue of limitations – whichever is longer.

      • Jasmine

        Thank you for your help. I went to court on January 16, 2013 and agreed to a settlement with payment arrangements. Today I recieved a Affimation in Opposition which was done January 15, 2013 and its basically saying Im not entitled to the relief requested in my motion as it will be established in the proceeding arguments that the defendant has failed to provide both a reasonable excuse for her default and a meritorious defense to the present actions.
        Im not sure what actions I take now. In court they agreed to the settlement with the payment arrangement. Could you please advice me on this ?

  • Keith

    Jasmine, from personal experience I can state that your credit report and your obligation to pay a debt is not related. I’m dealing with a judgement from 20 years ago and not once did it ever appear on my credit report, but that isn’t stoping them from starting a garnishment on my check. garnishment started in November of 2012 and as of this month, still…nothing on my credit report to reflect that. I suppose that’s a good thing but had it appeared years ago, this issue would have been resolved. instead its been sitting in some debt collectors file cabinet collecting 8% interest for those 20 years.

  • Keith

    btw, thanks Gerri for the info. if you come up with something regarding my situation, please forward it to me ASAP, as I am about to file a couple motions next Monday and need all the help I can get. thanks for your help! K

  • Melanie

    Hello I have a question. Back in 2012 I was served by a credit collector for credit card debt. I managed to make arrangements to pay off the whole debt that was owed. However In 2012 I moved from New York where I was served to California. In my time in California I only had only had one payment left that I mailed off. 6 months go by and I received In the mail a letter from the credit collector letting me know a judgement was filed against me. Please note that the letter had my previous address on it that I haven’t lived in for 7 months. After getting this letter i called them up and asked what my balance was and why i owe additional funds. They stated my check bounce – which could have happened due my bank believing there was fraud on my account. My question is there any way in which I have the judgement thrown out since I haven’t received any paperwork?

    Thank You.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Melanie -

      If you are able to show that you were not properly served notice of the lawsuit against you, then you may be able to get the judgment vacated. However, there may be a short period of time in which you can attempt this. I don’t know whether that opportunity has expired. My recommendation is that you contact a consumer law attorney right away for assistance.

  • Richard

    Q. Today, 1/11/13 I was provided a Earnings Withholdings Order (garnishment papers) by my employer indicating withholdings will start on 1/18/13. The order shows the judgement was awarded to attorneys representing LVNV Funding LLC on 4/24/2008. The amount of the judgement appears to be written (not typed) in for $8860.18. I just ran a credit report on myself and indeed found a judgment with the same date. However, the amount shows $4096.00. Does this sound right? I have been caught completely off guard. I was never served to appear otherwise I would have asked for proof of the debt. What are my options? Ask for proof of service with the court? Ask to vacate judgement?

    • http://www.credit.com Gerri

      Richard,

      I’d suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney or bankruptcy attorney asap. (Some bankruptcy attorneys also handle related consumer law matters.) If you were not properly served with the notice of the lawsuit you may be able to get the judgment vacated. It’s possible you may also be entitled to damages if the debt collector violated federal law in its collection efforts. But I don’t think I would try to take this on alone – it’s not typically a DIY project.

      • Richard

        Well things are getting more interesting. Today 1/14/13 I received a letter from a law office stating that they represent Asset Recovery Solutions and are demanding payment of $8998.68. How is this possible? Two different law offices claiming to represent two different agencies for the same debt? All within a matter of days of each other. This is suspicious at best. For todays letter I intend to respond with a debt validation letter since according to their letter this is a time sensitive matter (10 days). Thank you for your insight. I will certainly will look for an attorney for assistance to deal with this matter first thing tomorrow.

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Crazy isn’t it? Do talk with an attorney as soon as possible since your time frame for challenging it may be limited, based on state law.

  • Athena Trujillo

    I had a question. I live in Colorado and was served with papers for a medical debt from 04/2012. I called the collection agency and set up monthly payments to pay the debt. I explained to her my situation and the reason for non payment in the 1st place. Now she stated that even though I am paying the debt and being faithful that they still have to file a judgement against me. Do they still need to file judgement and does that mean they can still garnish my paycheck even though I have a payment plan set up through August/2013? Does this also mean I still need to appear for the hearing in February? I understand she cant say much and when I asked if I should contact the lawyer respesenting them she said no he would be notified ….I mean I know its late but I am taking responsibility for my debt…Can someone please advise I appreciate it!

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Athena –

      Just to be clear, I assume they have served you with notice of a lawsuit and will be seeking a judgment against you. (They can’t just file a judgment against you.)

      They don’t have to sue you unless perhaps the statute of limitations is about to expire on the debt and they want to protect their right to collect in the future. But this debt sounds too recent for that to be the case.

      So they are either trying to pressure you into paying faster or following some kind of internal policy. But that they “have” to sue you is a bit misleading. It is their choice.

      If you don’t show up in court, they will get a default judgment against you. But if you go and don’t raise any defenses, then they will get a judgment anyway.

      If you can come up with money to settle the debt that may be preferable, but if you can’t then you can’t.

  • Justin

    Question. My wife and I are trying to refinance our house but Cavalry llc has a lien on it from a judgement they got a couple years ago. Long story short, we got into trouble few years back from when I was going back to school and living off one income for a family of four. We went with a debt management company, Credit Solutions, to help us take care of things(big mistake). We signed over power of attorney for them to negotiate on our behalf, they told us to disregard future mailings and calls from the debtors as they worked out payment schedules. Ended up a $10,000 debt that Cavalry obtained ended up getting a judgement against us and we didn’t even fight because we were listening to what Credit Solutions told us. The judgement was for $18k and my wifes checks started getting garnished. We figured at 6k a year being garnished it would be paid in 3 years so we went with it. Now we are 2 years into it and during the refinancing our mortgage with wells fargo we found out about the lien and can’t refinance until the judgement is paid and lien released. In dealing with the law office working for Cavalry now they are saying the balance is 16k and not the 6k we were thinking it would be. We offered to settle for 7k and they keep the $3800 garnished last quarter that the sheriff’s office must currently have and will be sending to them. They countered at 14k and we keep the garnished amount from last 3 months of last year. We then countered 10k and haven’t heard back yet. If they accept our counter how do we go about getting that $3800 that was garnished but not sent to them yet? Any other tips or advice you can give us? We live in Iowa and refinancing from 5.5% to 3.75% and saving $350/month in doing so so we really need to get this done in the next week or two. Thanks

    • Gerri Detweiler

      I wish I knew what to tell you. Unfortunately this is a negotiation process and they can either take the offer and leave it. You’re going to have to emphasize that this way they will get their money now rather than over time. (I don’t know how to get those garnished funds – I am afraid I don’t know how that process works.)

  • kc

    I leave in Pennsylvania , but i work in New Jersey. I have a collection agency judgment entered in Pennsylvania . Can my wages still be garnished ?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      KC – My understanding is that as a resident of Pennsylvania you are protected by that state’s laws. However, I’d say that anytime you are getting to the point where you are faced with wage garnishment it’s probably time to see a bankruptcy attorney. That doesn’t mean you should or will file, but the attorney can tell you what’s at risk if you can’t pay your debts and hopefully offer some strategies for taking care of the debt.

  • Kimberly

    Hello, I was wondering if someone can also put a judgement on someone in the National Guard?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      I don’t see why not unless it’s in a situation prohibited under the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act. However, that law applies to those entering or called up to active duty or those who are deployed.

  • Chip

    I’m in South Carolina, A JDB is attempting to get a Summary Judgment on me for a CC debt. We met with the judge to hear the motion. The judge wanted us to settle the matter instead of ruling on the MSJ and gave us a few weeks to negotiate a settlement. I agreed to a negotiated settlement amount – a lump sum payment. I asked for a written agreement before making payment. This was 3 weeks ago and I have emailed and called the JDB to find out what happened to our agreement. I have left messages and no one will return my calls. No one answers my emails. Should I be the one to notify the judge that we have not settled?

    Can the judge award a partial settlement for the negotiated settlement amount? Of course, this means that I have a judgement on my credit report which is what I was trying to avoid.

    Also, I’m wondering what happens when I move from SC in the next few months assuming a judgment is awarded to the JDB here in SC, and a settlement isn’t reached or a payment made?

    As a point of fact, tThe statue of limitations (3 years in SC) ran out a few weeks ago, after the MSJ was filed but before a judgement being entered. Does that matter?

    Finally, are property exemptions the same for a judgment as they are for bankruptcy?

    Thank you in advance for your time and answering my questions! Chip

  • Maria

    I live in California and had a judgement filed against me from a credit agency representing Capital One. My tax professional said they should issue me a Form 1099 as a result of the judgement, the money I never paid back is now considered income. How accurate is this?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Maria – You may or may not receive a 1099-C for the debt. The reason I say may not is that if they are collecting on the judgment they may not believe they are required to send one. It’s a little complicated to explain here but we have written about that extensively on the Credit.com blog. I’d recommend you read our story What is a 1099-C? Your Top 11 Questions Answered. Then I suggest you talk with your tax professional about whether you should report cancelled debt regardless of whether they send you the 1099-C.

  • Lyn

    I recenty paid off a judgement for a 2009 credit card debt through garnishment. The judgement itself has never appeared on my credit; however, the original debt appears as “potentially negative closed” and “Transferred to another lender or claim purchased”. Additionally it still reflects a past due amount. Can any of these items be removed/updated to have less impact on my score or should it be left alone until it falls off? My concern is that it is truly paid in full now although through an attorney not the original creditor.

  • Larisa

    Hello, I live in New York.My judgment of divorce in2007 ordered me to pay to my ex $638,000. I sold my house and all proceeds ($653,500 went to him. He waited 2 years and nowclaiming statutory interest for this two years. he did not filed any motions or sent deliquency notice to me before. What can I do?

  • Tracy

    Hello…Michigan here, I was served and lost, a settlement was against me and a business. The business was in my daughters name which i told them but they didnt get it. I have no assets and cannot pay judgement, now they have decided to take my daughter and husband to court and sue them, I say this cannot happen..as they were NOT in any court rulings or files from the begining..

  • bon

    hi..for over a year tried to settle a debt w/ zwicker and ass. that rep discover…3800.00 owed and i offered 3000.00 lump sum borrowed from family they kept wanting more more more and thats all i had to offer… nope(can you believe it lawyer i am now with is/was stunned as well as myself) so they sued 12/18/12 i went to court mediation etc and they won as i never disputed debt just i havent been working for some time not for lack of trying…they placed a lien on my home (kinda) 2/15/13 but in wrong county…since being sued and being served w/ this judgement lien ive been talking w/ a lawyer about bankruptcy as im under water on home etc and this…btw this has all taken place over a 2 month period very fast not like anything ive read or lawyer thought he said id have some time ha…i would love to settle this and not file bankruptcy so ive suggested that he call or ill call and say something along the lines that i’m just a click away (which really i am as ive filled out all the paperwork of assets debt etc and done with the course and just need to pay him and sign which will come from the 3k ive offered them) from efiling bankruptcy and they will get nada…and maybe point out that in their haste (or just plain stupidity :) they filed in wrong county if this helps …is this something that is a good idea or just go thru with the bankruptcy and not try to settle with them as they are just being nasty literally…of course id would want something that would discharge? judgement if settled if that is doable …again would like to avoid as in my mind i need to have some semblance of dignity with this… i know i owe just trying to do the best i can and give them something just cant or my family cant afford all of it and payments i dont want to do as i just never know when ill have money etc i do not collect food stamps unemployment welfare nothing i plug along on the little savings i have and scraping metal small odd jobs etc …i am located in michigan if that helps…thanks for your time

    • Gerri Detweiler

      I think you have done the right thing by getting legal advice. You are in a much better position to negotiate with them now. If you do decide to settle then please make sure you get everything in writing first before you pay. It should specify that you won’t owe anything after the settlement amount is paid, that they won’t sue you etc. Then you can make the best decision possible based on whether they are willing to work with you. Also, this isn’t a huge amount of money but do keep in mind that if you settle the debt you could receive a 1099-C and perhaps owe taxes as a result. That’s not the case with bankruptcy. You’ll learn more here: What is a 1099-C? Your Top 11 Questions Answered

  • sharon

    I have been working with a lawyer since 2009 to settle a credit card debt. To make a long story short the plaintiff filed papers in the court where I live; then the lawyer responded with a letter ;then my husband and I filed exempt papers around to keep them from taking our property. Then we were waiting to hear from the lawyer concerning a settlement. Meanwhile, I was checking my credit report and was surprised to find that the credit card company filed a judgement on our credit report.in the month of June 2012. I called my lawyer and asked what happened and she tried to say because we filed exempt papers ourselves that’s why they put it on our credit report. Then she said not to worry not that it is on my credit report I can pay whatever I want when I want. I was furiou. I told her that I was paying her to settle a debt and to keep a judgement from going against us. The lawyer stated that we could still make a settlement with the credit card company. She said she would get back to me and I have not heard from her sense and I don’t think that I am going to either. I feel like I have been taken advantage of and now I don’t know what to do.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Sharon – I don’t know if there is much you can do now about the fact that the judgment was filed. But now that it has been you can either settle it or talk with a bankruptcy attorney to see whether it makes sense now to file since your credit has already been damaged. You can also find out from the bankruptcy attorney whether filing will help you keep your property.

      (You can certainly file a complaint against that attorney with your state bar association and your state attorney general. You could also talk with another attorney about a malpractice suit against this attorney though that could be a tough route to go.)

      • Sharon

        We filed exempt papers on our property to keep them from taking anything. Can they come back later and try again? Since I already have a judgement on my credit report, what else could happen? From my understanding it will be on my credit report for seven years whether I settle it or not. How was there a judgement against us and we were not even told to be in court?

  • http://Yahoo Barbara

    My son bought a car over twelve years ago and didn’t finish paying for it, now he is being sued for the remaining balance, the amount is over $5,000.00 what is the time limit that they can sue for? I thought that if you have a debt that wasn’t paid for that after 7 years they couldn’t sue you, it would be on your credit report but could not sue you. He did call the company that is taking him to court and they told my son they would garnish his wages. My son pays support on four children which they take out of his check and that doesn’t leave him with hardly any extra maybe 100.00 for the week can they take that money? We live in Indiana.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Barbara, The statute of limitations depends on the state in which he lives. My understanding is that it is 6 years for most consumer debts in Indiana, however, I am not a consumer law attorney so please don’t take that as legal advice. The statute of limitations usually starts when the last payment was made on the debt.

      Has he already been sued? If not, he should check out the statute of limitations asap. And he may also want to talk with a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.

      • http://Yahoo Barbara

        Yes he was served papers and court is April 10th. We were figuring when the car was bought and it has been 15 years.

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Barbara – Sorry I didn’t get a chance to respond sooner. Did he go to court? Did he explain that he believed the statute of limitations has expired?

  • andrew

    I have received a judgement. I’ve been told I have to write a letter and a phone call won’t cover a conversation with them. What is that letter supposed to say?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Andrew – I am sorry I don’t understand your question. Can you please elaborate?

  • Kimberly

    Hi,
    I have a judgement lien against me. They took $1000 of a $1600 judgement out of my bank account. I would like to refinance my house but the lien is still for $1600. I would like to pay the court the balance so I can get a release of judgement. How do I do this? I live in Colorado.

  • James LaDUe

    Hello,
    I’m looking for a little advise. I live in Alaska but grew up in Oregon. When I was 18 I had either a CC or a Checking account with Wells F.. that I did not take care of. I understand that I incurred the original debt of $700 and now that I’m a responsible adult I want to get everything from my past (there is plenty) taking care of. However when I started my new job in September I received a garnishment packet. My total owed is now $7000, that’s right. I offered a settlement at the time of $5000 which I had, I was told that I could pay $6000 now and make payments for the remaining balance. This was not satisfactory for me. My current interest rate is 23.9%. They have been taking out 25% of my gross income for these payments. I make decent money now but this is killing me. Both financially and mentally. My questions regard how much interest is legal, does the state which the debt occurred in or the current state of residence that will set precedent. I know that my garnishment is only good for a certain amount of time and the reprieve will be nice. However the debt will continue to increase.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      James – That’s nuts! Unfortunately the best time to challenge these things is when you are first sued. But I don’t think it would hurt for you to consult a consumer law attorney now to find out whether what they are charging is illegal. Will you let us know what they say?

  • carrie

    So I had a judgment against me since 1997 it started off about 3000 dollars. I didn’t start paying on it until 2006 when I made a payment plan of 40 dollars a month, the by then with the interest it was 6000 dollars, like I said I’ve been paying on it since 2006, now this new guy is trying to pressure me saying I have to pay it right now 2000 dollars or they’re going to start garnishing my wages even though I haven’t missed any payments. in California how many times can they renew a judgement,

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Carrie – My understanding is that most judgments last for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely. The California courts publishes some helpful information about that here. It sounds like you have been trying for a very long time to pay this debt and it’s just getting larger. Have you consulted a bankruptcy attorney? That would be the next step I’d suggest.

  • mark kroepfl

    I received a letter on 3 25 2013 stating there was a judgment against me from 9 13 2006 and there trying to get a wage verification from my employer,so they can garnish my wages.this is seven years old and I don’t ever remember being made aware or this.what can I do, I live in Illinois

    than you
    mark

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Mark – It’s difficult to challenge a judgment after 7 years. My suggestion is you talk with a bankruptcy attorney asap to find out what your rights are and to see if there is a way to stop the wage garnishment if necessary.

  • Shelley Smith

    My mom is 74 received a judgment on a credit card debt that she can not possibly pay. In front of the judge she was asked questions as to her financial situation and the judgement was issued but judge turned to the credit cards representative and said well I guess she can’t pay it. This was last June. She has now recieved a notice from the collector that she must fill out a form and start sending them payments or they will garnish her wages. She made less than $9,000 last year, is making a payment on her mobile home and has nothing else but a broken down old car. She is scared that they will garnish her wages and she won’t be able to keep lights on anymore. The judge had already indicated she couldn’t pay. What should she do. She has no money to pay for an atty and neither do I. She is in Ohio.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Shelley –

      I am so sorry to hear what your Mom is going through. Because of your mother’s low wages, she may be protected (exempt) from wage garnishment. I would recommend you make an appointment with a consumer bankruptcy attorney and meet with the attorney to discuss her options. I am sure you can find an attorney who can give her a free consultation. You can also try contacting Ohio Legal Aid Services for help.

  • Jenn Clark

    Me and my husband are cleaning up our credit reports. He has a judgement against him from a few years ago and it shows X amount on his credit report. We went to pay this judgement and they gave an entirely different number almost 1500 dollars more. Can they do that?? We were willing to pay the full amount that shows on the credit report but they said ” Absolutely Not, full amount or nothing” The debt is in Tennessee and we live in GA.

    Thanks!

  • Leslie

    I live in Texas and just recently divorced, Nov 2012. I had no income for the past 17 years. I just discovered a judgement has been made against me for a loan at a credit union that I was the primary account holder of the checking account and had to be put on the loan in order for my husband to get it. I was never served anything for this judgement and had no idea it was on there until I had to refinance my home after the divorce. Do I have any recourse for this or do I just need to bite the bullet and work something out with them?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Leslie – Generally a joint account holder is legally responsible for the debt, and if the debt is not paid they become fully responsible. However, it is possible you were not properly served with a notice of the lawsuit that led to the judgment. In Texas, there is a terrific resource called the Texas Consumer Complaint Center. I would suggest you contact them to see if they can offer any advice on your situation.

  • Holly Larsen

    Hi. I have a question. My husband and I used to live in Utah. We were dumb enough then to “trust in the system” and took out a car loan and a credit card through a credit union. That was in 2003. Everything was fine and we always paid our bills on time. In 2008, we moved to South Carolina for a job. (2008) We purchased a home. About a year into the new job in South Carolina, my husband lost his job due to the economy crash. We were out of work for over a year. We lost our home (it was foreclosed) and we could no longer pay the credit union for the credit card/car loan. In total, we owed the credit union about $5,900. We asked if they would settle with us and they said no. Recently, they sent an intent to sue brought to me by the Sheriff here in South Carolina. Of course we couldn’t fly to Utah for the hearing. But even if we could, we still don’t have the money. Just today, the court in Utah sent us just sent us a judgment for $6,557.00 Why they think we have the money now as opposed to before, I don’t know, but we don’t. We rent a home and have just enough to pay our utilities and keep our children fed. Regardless, they have sued. My question is, can they now garnish my husband’s wages? We have lived in South Carolina for five years and all of this happened after we were here. What should we do? Isn’t it enough we no longer own a home? And both of our cars are worth about $2,000 each? What are out options? I’m worried they will garnish my husband’s wages and then we’re really screwed. Can’t they just let me rent a house and feed my kids? Is that so much to ask? Please help. I’m super stressed and feel like crying.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Holly – I’m really sorry to hear what a tough time you’ve been through. As far as the credit union goes, try not to be too angry. They are just trying to protect their interest. If they don’t get a judgment and the statute of limitations expire they can’t collect in the future. If they have a judgment and you are able to pay later, then they will be able to collect.

      My understanding is that South Carolina is a great state as far as consumer protections against wage garnishment go. It would be very difficult for them to garnish your wages there, so they may not try. There is an excellent article about that here.

      However, this judgment won’t go away until it is settled or paid. So you and your husband should probably meet with a consumer bankruptcy attorney to a. Make sure your wages are safe b. Find out what else they can do to collect (go after bank accounts?) and c. Learn about your options for resolving this. The attorney who wrote that article should be able to help or to refer you to someone in your area who can.

      I really do hope things turn around for you and your family soon.

  • Bryan

    Hello –

    Great and informative information! Thanks for that.

    My question is:

    I lost a judgement in court, it was from a collection agency, for $3300. I have no means to pay this as I am merely trying to survive. I am unemployed, and have been forced to move myself ad my 6 year old son to live with family members.

    Since losing the judgement – I have head nothing from the collections agency. They were very harrassing and vocal – up until trial. . and now nothing, not even a settlement offer or a threat!

    My question is –

    What is their likely strategy ? and Can and are they monitoring my bank accounts to see if and when there are funds in there – to then effectuate a freeze and take posession of my accounts and funds ? What should I expect ?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks Again!

    • Gerri Detweiler

      It’s impossible for me to say but since judgments last indefinitely, and usually carry significant collection powers (such as the ability to go after your bank account or wages), it’s important for you to find out. I’d suggest you talk with a local bankruptcy attorney. They can help you understand your rights, the risks, and your options.

  • Vince

    I have 2 judgments for credit card debit. One has already started garnishing some money from my bank checking account. I’m unemployed and there is very little money in that account. I may be able to gather half of what is needed for pay off from relatives, but who do I pay that to without getting ripped off? The constable? You say get it in writing before paying, pretty sure they won’t do that.
    I’m having a hard time finding an attorney up here in Reno, NV. Everybody is busy.
    Thanks for your help.

    • http://getoutofdebt.org Get Out of Debt Guy

      You can use the directory at http://bankruptcy.getoutofdebt.org to find a local attorney but unless you come to an agreement with the lender to stop the garnishment it will take legal intervention to make the debt situation better. A chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge the debt in about 90 days.

  • Jen

    A ceditor company recently called me at work threatening garnishment of wages. They said it was from Capitol One, and the judgement was in 2007. I was never served and have never signed anything. I am in California, they have been calling up to 7 times a day at my business (a job I just started after not working for a while) the debt is $5200, they said if I paid $3000 within 10 days they would not garnish my wages. I’m unsure what to do at this point as I of course do not have $3k or anyone that can give it to me. It seems like quite a high settlement, I would have of course come up with other options had I realized it had gone this far. Not sure what the next steps are…thank you so much.

    • http://getoutofdebt.org Get Out of Debt Guy

      It’s hard to tell exactly who is calling you at this point. Most likely it is some debt buyer down the food chain since the debt is so old.

      If you have not admitted to the debt yet the first step would be to even see if the debt buyer has enough information to even make a claim they own the debt. See How to Dispute and Ask a Debt Collector to Validate a Debt

      For a seven year old debt there is enough of a concern they can’t even prove ownership. Armed with that information and a visit to a local attorney, this can be taken care of rather easily.

  • vincent caiazzo

    My ex wife had a business credit card in the state of florida she used to travel with for work, they paid her when she showed the statements and she was too put it too paying off the card, well when we got divorced she had added a second card which I never used, I did not sign anything, the company lvnv bogus as they are ran up the amount she said and charged her 10,005 dollars I had no idea about this debt we divorced in 2005, and in 2006 they filed a judgement against her and sent her a court paper to appear, I did not get anything she never showed and they placed a judgement on her and me also, I had to go to extraordinary lengths to find out who this was from, where it was from who owed it and how I was involved, it turns out the debt from the company lvnv went out of business and was bought by resurgent capital i called them for information and they said they do not have me listed on any judgements only my ex-wife, i asked for a document to say this , they refused and said they cannot since they dont have any records of any judgements, so my question is how do i get this removed from the court, it will be offf my credit in december 2012 but I want to buy a home now, and feel this is not my debt , i wasnt served and its not showing on the companies list as being a real debt or judgement.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if the judgment creditor renews this judgment – which they can do in most cases – then the judgment may not disappear from your credit report. I am not saying it will happen, but you should be prepared for that possibility.

      In addition, in Florida, like many other states, judgment creditors can go after wages, bank accounts, etc. So waiting for this to drop off your credit reports is not the best option. It sounds like fraud is involved her but given how old this is, you are going to need to get help from a consumer law attorney to challenge the judgment. I wrote about that in this article: How to Kill Zombie Judgments on Your Credit Report

  • http://N/A Jon

    Hello,

    Earlier this month a friend of mine decided to drive my car which was not insured. The reason he had my car was because he was supposed to be keeping it off the street in a friends tow yard whom he was close with. Either way, he crashed it and told me he hit a guardrail and telephone pole. I received a letter in the mail two days ago from a esq. stating that their client sustained $50,000 worth of damage to their home, and that I should forward the letter to my insurance company or if I don’t have insurance to call them ASAP to discuss the matter. I am afraid to call because I know nothing about law and fear that since the car was registered in my name I will have no legitimate defense and must pay for this persons damaged home even though I was not the driver or present at the accident. This occurred in NYC. Can you tell me what I could do? I am unemployed and receive financial aid from the gov’t to attend college and am afraid if I am sued my loan/grant money will be interfered with – is this a possibility? Perhaps I can take out a loan from school to make payments to keep them off my back worst case scenario. I will not respond until I can figure out just what to do. Please help and thank you very much.

    - Jon

    • Credit.com

      Jon – Depending on your insurance coverage, the damages may still be covered under your insurance (even though you weren’t in the car.) Call your insurance company and they’ll be able to tell you your options. We aren’t attorney’s and are not familiar with the laws regarding property damages or NYC laws, but your insurance company should be able to explain your options.

      • http://N/A Jon

        Actually that is the reason for my question: I had no insurance of any kind. It had lapsed for a month and I couldn’t afford the money to renew it, so he was going to keep the car off the street in the tow yard. That is why I am concerned about this $50,000 estimate this lawyer is speaking of because I’m pretty sure I will be held accountable even though I didn’t authorize him to drive it around.

        • Credit.com

          Don’t wait or ignore the situation, it could end up making it worse. We’re not attorneys and our area of expertise is credit and finance (rather than property damages and insurance claims) so we’d strongly urge you to contact an attorney for legal council. There may be other legal avenues that neither of us are aware of that may protect you (or allow you to transfer the damages to the driver of the car if they had insurance, for example). Either way, an attorney would be able to at least tell you your options so that you’re not walking into a lawsuit blindly.

  • Twocrazydogsmom

    I live in Nevada and had a judgment against me that I ignored and then lost. Dumb I know but I didn’t realize the ramafications at the time. I am now trying to take care of the debt which they are now saying is 5 times higher than the original debt and being charged 32% interest. They refuse to work with me on a settlement and are garnishing my wages. Is there anything I can do. The stress is killing me and they keep telling me I have no options.

    • Michael Bovee

      I would encourage you to connect with an attorney in Nevada with collection defense experience to discuss your issues.

      Judgment interest in Nevada is allowed pre and post judgment at the rate set by contract, or 2% over prime. It sounds like the credit card debt you were sued for was being charged a default rate (unfortunate, but normal).

      You are entitled to petition the court in order to show the personal financial hardship resulting from the wage garnishment. If you meet garnishment exemptions (partial or complete), it will be easier to work out a payoff when the judgment creditor is no longer able to collect.

      Be aware that if garnishments are eliminated the creditor can still go after a bank account levy, so be certain you manage your finances a little differently until you resolve the debt.

      Also, chapter 7 bankruptcy would eliminate most judgment debts.

  • Jen

    I have a judgement that was placed against me in 2011. I contacted them today to make a deal if some sort. The law firm had gone out of business! What do I have to so now?

    • Michael Bovee

      The court record will show who the attorney was hired by as the plaintiff in the case against you. Contact the judgment creditor (the named plaintiff). You will be able to resolve the debt with them, their assignee (which they would tell you how to contact), or learn from them if they sold off the right to collect the judgment, who to – then contact the new owner for resolution.

  • Dan

    I received a notice that a collector was seeking a judgement but have misplaced the notice and have no way to communicate with the collector. How can I find out before its too late?

  • Puma10

    Okay, I have a 2,110 Judgement that was filed just recently with Blatt, Hasenmiller, Leibsker, and Moore with Capital One in Indiana. I was very foolish back in the day and this debt is probably over 7 years old. I tried calling the collection agency today to work out some sort of payment play before having my wages garnished. They did not want to work anything out only wanted the payment in full. I go to Court May 22nd for a asset hearing, etc. By the way, I have no assets in my name. Since I have no way in getting in contact with the lawyer at this firm and my employer would prefer this be handled without garnishing my wages. I should be able to come up with $900- $1,000 by the time I have to walk in court. Should I still walk in court with this payment which would leave a balance of $1,110 after that payment and would the judge consider this good faith and possibly let us work out a payment arrangement instead of going after my wages? If they let me pay the 1,000 on the day of court, I have no problem doing a payment arrangement of 200 a month to finish of the debt. I only have a fax number of the attorney, should I send a letter asking if this is possible to the attorney and to the court as well prior to the court date? I already feel sick to my stomach, so lost at this point. This is the only debt I have.

  • Chanel

    I get my credit report monthly and I just checked and noticed I have a court judgement. I live in Missouri but I have had fines in Illinois. How can I find out what the judgement is for?

    • Credit.com

      Chanel – your credit report should include information for where the judgment is recorded. You should be able to use this information to look up and call the court/county where the judgment was filed. They’ll be able to tell you what the judgement was for, etc.

  • Pingback: Help! I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report | Best Credit Repair

  • Dana

    how do we go about changing the amount of a wage garnishment? We live in California and its a car repo.

    • Credit.com

      Some states will allow you to appeal the garnishment, in which case you may qualify for an exception but you’d need to check your individual state laws to find out. The only other option to wipe out a garnishment is bankruptcy, in which case we’d advise consulting with a bankruptcy attorney to help you determine whether or not this would be a good fit for your individual financial situation.

  • Christine

    I have a judgement on my credit report for approximately $8, 100. My credit reports says this will be removed from my report July 2016. I never signed for papers for this and when I discovered it a couple years ago and tried explaining that the other person on the account was charging things stilk without my knowledge, the creditor was unwilling to work with me. I am wondering how this is going to affect me in the future. I have not been contacted by anyone since. And in 2 years it will be off my credit report. I received the judgement while living in illinois and now have been living in maryland for 2 years. Any suggestions?

  • KC

    I paid a judgement one week after the creditor took it to court. The judgement still appears on my credit and I want to either have it show that it was paid or possibly remove it (if possible). What should I do?

  • Catherine

    Hello. On Feb 09, 2012 the court requested garnishment on my wages every month. The total judgement due is $6161.15. The payroll has been deducting 25% of my gross wage twice a month. On 11/09/12 the payroll made the last deduction for $174.04 to pay the balance from the total judgement due. $6161.15 is showing on my paycheck that was total garnishement they have collected on my paycheck. This month the payroll received a fax from the creditor that I still owe them money and the balance is $798.01. My question is where is that amount coming from??? the payroll told me to contact the creditor and I did…they told me that was the interest accrued from the balance from 11/09/2012…they said after the they received $174.04 on 11/15/12 there was still remaining balance the total money collected was $5690.53. My question is am the one who is responsible to pay to what ever balance since they already collected $6161.15 on my paychecks?

  • daphne

    I have a judgement lien filed against me,right when im going to purchase a car,can I still buy that car if I have a co-signer?

    • Credit.com

      Daphne – it’ll depend on the lender. Although, it’s important to understand that the co-signer will be taking a very big risk in doing so. A cosigner will be just as liable for the car as you are and if you are ever late or miss a payment, it will hurt your cosigner’s credit just badly as your own because it will be reported in both of your credit reports. For more on cosigner risks the following article goes into more detail. Even though it’s specific to credit cards, it’s the same for any type of cosigned loan: Hey Buddy, Can You Co-Sign for Me?

  • delores rush

    The nursing home that my deceased dad was in is suing me for what the remainder of what he owes which is $76,000. My dad while in good health when he gave my children & I in the last 5 years close to that amount . He was living alone in his home & very active until his stroke in 2011. I received a summons stating that they are going to put a judgement against me if I don’t answer this complaint which I already spoke to another attorney with this firm in March . I called the number on the summons last week & they didn’t answer me. I don’t know what to do as I have never been involved in a lawsuit before. My attorney is difficult to get a hold of & doesn’t reply to his calls.Please help me as I am very distressed over false allegations in this summons.

    • Credit.com

      Delores — In this case, you need a reliable attorney. If the attorney you hired isn’t returning your calls, get a new attorney. That’s just unacceptable. You can try a site like http://www.NACA.net to find a consumer law attorney in your area. Please keep us posted and let us know how things go.

  • http://credit.com gail mcgann

    I brought my 20 yr. old son to court yesterday who has a dual diagnosis (schizophrenia & drug addiction). He is taking psychiatric med’s, is unable to work and waiting for disability to kick in. While he was ill and not on med’s he used his debit card that had $20 in the account, now with penalty charges he owes $1000 plus $50 in court costs. A lady representing the bank asked my son to fill out paperwork. She asked him then if he agrees to admit what he did was wrong and they would not come after the money, if he gets a job then they would want him to pay back.., he agreed and signed an agreement for judgment. I noticed after on this agreement paper when I got home that there is interest of 12%, she never told my son about that part of the agreement. Can he change his agreement?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Gail – Creditors are often allowed to charge interest on judgments. The amount they can charge is based on state law and the contract. I wrote about that in this article: How to Avoid a Debt Collection Snowball. Keep in mind that judgments can often be negotiated. Perhaps you can try to offer to pay a lump sum to settle the debt for him? It may be worth a try. (Keep in mind I am not an attorney and can’t offer any advice regarding the legality of the contract he signed.)

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Gail – I wrote a reply to your question in this article: http://blog.credit.com/2013/05/how-to-kill-zombie-judgments-on-your-credit-report/

  • Candice

    Hi Gerri – I hope you can help. My husband broke a lease several years back and the apartment complex hired a collection agency which states his balance is over 2k dollars. But we recently found out there is actually a judgment against him for about $300. Is this possible? I was thinking that since the judgment is like a settlement stating who owes who so much, that was the final amount, but the collection agency is hearing nothing of it and sticking with the 2k amount. Which I still find ridiculous because I think in Texas you are not allowed to double dip and only charge for loss of use, which makes since if the court settled at $300. Can you tell me if the same company can have a judgment and collection for different amounts? And what the options are? Thank you!

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Candice – It is difficult for me to tell exactly what’s going on here. Judgments can accrue interest, but the amount is determined by state law and/or the contract. I wrote about that in this article: http://blog.credit.com/2013/06/avoid-debt-collection-snowball/ It does sound excessive though, and it is not unusual for collection agencies to inflate debts or to try to collect more than is owed.

      Fortunately, in Texas there is a terrific resource you can try. It;s called the Texas Consumer Complaint Center. I recommend you contact them here http://www.texasccc.com/. Hopefully they can help you figure out what’s going on and straighten it out.

  • Ashley kepley

    A few years ago I had a car repossessed. They auctioned it off and I still owed a large amount. I was unable to pay it so they took out a judgement against my grandfather and I. It was a joint account. They threatened to take his home and land so we agreed to pay a monthly payment and settled outside of court. I have been paying on this for 2.5 years. I just pulled up my credit report and it says the Judgement is on there and that the judgement was in favor or the company. Should this be on there even though we settled outside of court and never had a court date? It looks like I’m not paying anything at all.

    • Credit.com

      Ashley – The judgement will remain in your credit report for seven years from the date filed, whether it’s paid or not. Once you finish paying off the total amount, it should be updated to “paid” or “satisfied.” How much do you have left on the debt?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Unfortunately, Ashley, unpaid judgments can, for all intents and purposes, be reported for many years. Once they are satisfied they can be reported for up to seven years from the date they were entered by the court. And making payments on a judgment doesn’t really help your credit scores either. As long as the judgment is on your credit report it will hurt your credit. If you are making no progress on paying off the judgment and the amount is large in comparison to your income, you may want to talk with a bankruptcy attorney.

  • Mike

    I had a discover card that i defaulted on and had a judgement put against me in 2008.Tried getting a hold of them in 2010 but could not find a number for them. did not hear anything from anyone about this judgement untill today.A collector from Dynamic Recovery Services. How can i find out if this is not a scam before i start giving them money?

    • Credit.com

      Mike – your credit report should show evidence of the judgment, as well as contact information on who filed the judgment, etc. The best way to find out for sure, is to order your credit reports and contact the company that filed the judgment against you. You can order your credit reports for free once a year from http://www.annualcreditreport.com. This resource will help you through the order process:
      How to Order Your Free Annual Credit Reports

  • Maria

    Hi my name is Laura. I need some help ok LVNV Funding garnished my wages no problem but, it seems that i done paying this loan and now they keep garnishing my wages and i try calling the attorney that its on my paper work. I would like to know if someone knows what to do when you are done paying off your garnishes and who do you talk to. Cant seem to get a hold of anyone. Do i call the loan company. Please any advice

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Laura – The creditor that obtained the judgment should answer your questions for you. It’s possible that interest has been added to the judgment and that’s why your wages are still being garnished. Or it is possible that they are simply making a mistake.

      I would suggest you send the attorney a certified letter (keep a copy) telling them that you believe you have paid this debt in full and that you want a full accounting of the debt and any balance remaining. Send a certified copy to the collection agency as well. If they don’t get back to you in a reasonable time, consult a consumer law attorney or at least file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Laura – I wrote about this problem in this article: http://blog.credit.com/2013/05/how-to-kill-zombie-judgments-on-your-credit-report/ You need to talk with the judgment creditor – the one that got the judgment against you. Try sending a certified letter to both them and the attorney. If they don’t respond, file a complaint with your state attorney general and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

  • jd

    I am a judgement debtor for embezzlement case. The amount claimed is $14600.00. It was an undefended judgement. I offered to pay $50.00 monthly as i am unemployed at the moment, but the judgement creditor refuses to accept and says he wants a lump sum. And he says that he has done a civil case now his going to complain in the police. I told him a i dont have any asset or a bank account and he doesn’t understand. I told him i will pay more when i get a job. What should i do now?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      jd – Talk with a bankruptcy attorney to find out what the creditor can and cannot do to collect from you. With that information, you’ll be in a better position to respond to these threats.

  • Phil

    I went to court and a judgement was filed against me can I still be sued and charges brought against me for same judgement

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Phil – You cannot be sued and a judgment entered all over again for the same debt. I suppose a version of this would be if you moved to another state and established residency. The prior judgment can be refiled in another court in order to obtain “foreign judgment” status in order to aggressively collect from you.

      You do have to be concerned with the fact that they can be more aggressive in how they collect from you now that there is a judgment in place. This would include property liens, bank levy, and wage garnishment (depending on the state you live in).

      It is always a good idea to discuss your vulnerabilities with an experienced debt defense attorney.

  • Abe Shadeh

    My house went to foreclosure in Sept. 2012. I also had a second mortgage the second bank got a judgment against me, a year later they came to my house and took my car sold It at auction for $2400. Is this legal and can they just walk in my home and take anything, or are they limited to what they can take and where they can take it from like inside my house?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Abe – How much is the judgment for? Are you working?

      There are limitations to what can be taken from you to enforce a judgment. You really need to consult with a debt collection defense attorney in order to get the feedback you need – which is going to be state specific.

  • Nori

    Hello, I was wondering what happens after Creditors put your account on hold, can they do it again ? My account was on hold for 30 days, and they wiped out my savings account, but it was not enough to pay the debt off, but they have not contacted me anymore. Should I contact them? Also,before they froze my account,I attempted to pay the bill,and they gave me a monthly payment plan, but when I called to make my first payment on the plan they said it was something wrong with the account and the couldn’t process it and the following month my bank account was frozen. Is that normal procedure or was I treated unfairly?

    • Deanna Templeton

      Nori – If they seized the money in your savings account and it wasn’t enough to pay the balance on the debt, it’s in your best interest to contact them. Otherwise, they may attempt to seize funds again if they become available.

      I’m not sure what you mean by them saying there was something wrong with the account and they couldn’t process your payment but if at all possible, you should try to pay with a check or money order rather than granting them access to your checking account. Can you contact the creditor and try making payment arrangements so that you’re not blindsided with another account seizure?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Lyla – Did you participate in the court process? in other words, did you file an answer to the lawsuit, appear in court etc?

    It is always best to consult with an experienced debt defense attorney about these concerns. Generally the IRS will be first in line. You may need to be concerned about a bank account levy the collector can get the court to issue as a method for collecting on the judgment. The credit card judgment creditor can attempt to garnish wages direct from your employer depending on the state you live in, but if you are already being hit by the IRS, you may be able to contest the wage garnishment and request a hearing to show you meet partial, or full exemption from garnishment.

    Do you have other debts outstanding besides this judgment and the IRS? If so, what does the full deb picture look like?

  • Terri Stafford

    I have a judgement against me for $4421 plus interest & court cost from 2008, I have a balance of $1622 at $50 month. My only income is social security, question is what would happen if I asked for a lower payment or just stopped paying. The $50 a month is hard to send every month, I live in Ohio.

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Terri – Was the judgment debt something unsecured originally, like a credit card?

      Getting the judgment creditor to agree to a payment lower than 50 a month is just not all that common. In fact, your getting the 50 per month agreed to on that size of a judgment balance is not common. Having said that, you can always ask.

      If you stop paying the amount agreed to:

      SSI cannot be garnished at the source for most debts.
      Your bank account is not at risk of a levy if the only funds deposited are exempt, such as SSI.

      If your SSI is deposited into a bank account where you have additional deposits coming from sources that are not exempt – there may be real risks to money on deposit in the account.

      If you own property there are risks of a judgment lien being filed. This does not mean the lien will result in forcing a sale, but it can sit there for a long time.

      Judgment debt can grow from the interest that is allowed in your state. Do you know what interest rate is being applied to your debt, if any?

      You can only do what you can do. And if the monthly payment is simply not something you can continue, there are going to be some side affects. The judgment will not go away, and will likely grow.

      It is always a good idea to run court and legal issues by an experienced attorney. One with collection defense experience would be ideal in your situation. With your limited income you likely would qualify for low income legal aid, so try connecting with a nearby office first.

      • Terri Stafford

        Only deposit is ss & and a very small retirement check less than $100. I do not own property and my car is 13 years old. This is fromm a credit card..

        • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

          I would say you are fairly insulated from aggressive collection actions if you were to have to stop making the monthly payments. I would question whether the small retirement check is an exempt source. If not, and when mingled in the same account as your exempt SSI, there are risks. You could insulate yourself further by having one account exclusive to SSI, and another account for the retirement checks, or any other funds.

          I would still encourage you to speak to a local legal aid office about this and whether this would be a necessary caution to take.

  • Brender

    I have two credit card judgements on my credit report that were placed in 2011. They are listed as debt collection companies not the credit card companies. The original debt (last non payment date) was July 2007. Can they still continue to add/renew these? Is the judgement date from last payment date like your credit report? Or the date of judgement? How long from now before they come off? The amounts are far above anything I can pay.

    • Deanna Templeton

      Brender – Credit card companies often sell the debts to third party collection companies so it’s not uncommon for a judgment to listed by the collector (rather than the credit card company.)

      The statute of limitations to collect on judgments is quite different from traditional debts, with many lasting as long as 10-20 years depending on your individual state laws. The point being, once a collection makes it to judgment status, it’s not going to just go away or fall off your credit reports.

      Credit reports will go by the date filed for judgments. Unpaid judgments remain for seven years from the date filed OR however long the statute of limitations on judgements is for your state (whichever is longer). Keep in mind, however, that unpaid judgments can often be renewed so if you don’t address them, they can stay on your credit reports for indefinitely.

      With all that being said, if you can’t afford to pay the debt, you may be able to negotiate a settlement for less. This may mean setting aside minimal payments each month to save up a reasonable settlement before making the offer. A lump sum payment can often entice the collector to negotiate and accept.

      Unfortunately, once a collection makes it to judgment status, there really are only two ways to resolve it — either pay or negotiate a settlement, or file bankruptcy.

  • Ted

    I filed bankrucpty in Oct.2005. About a month ago I received a court paperwork that I must go to court for a medical bill from 2004. I have never received any unpaid doctor bills since 2005 and nothing shows on my credit report. I am pretty sure I filed bankruptcy on this debt. The new company says they bought the bill. The problem is I have court in 2 weeks and even though 3 weeks ago my attorney has requested the original debt holder from 2004-2005 they are dragging their feet and not producing it. I don’t want a judgment on my new clean record and will pay if it doesn ot fall under my bankruptcy. Am I protected by anything if I go to the judgment hearing if they are refusing to give me this information?

    • Deanna Templeton

      Ted – I’m not sure I understand completely, but what exactly is your BK attorney requesting from the original debt holder?

      Is your attorney not able to see from the filing paperwork that the debt was included? (That’s confusing and should be something they can see from the bankruptcy filing itself– whether or not the debt was included in bankruptcy.)

      I’d clarify this with your BK attorney but in the meantime I’d also strongly advise reading Gerri’s feature on: Seven Ways to Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit. It gives excellent advice on how to handle collection companies that are seeking judgements.

      If your attorney is dragging their feet, another way to determine whether or not the original debt was included in bankruptcy would be to check your credit reports. If the debt was included, it would be reported as “included in BK” on your credit reports. You’re entitled to one free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies every 12 months:

      How to Order Your Free Annual Credit Reports

  • Julie

    My father got served, saying they were going for a judgement against him. (He had been late in paying – but WAS paying.) He went in, and made payment arrangements. He was told that as he made payments, they would cancel the judgement. He paid $100 right then and there. They have since accepted THREE checks – and sent bills showing the payments he had made, and making note that the balance was going down. The true balance from the loan – nothing – NOTHING – about a judgement. The last bill we got a few weeks ago said he owed $100. Since they were accepting payments and had SAID they were cancelling it, he did not go to court.

    Imagine his shock when, over two MONTHS later, he got a statement saying that they had gotten a judgement against him, had filed a ‘check for asserts’ (I forgot the exact term.) A judgement for $1200, when the loan itself was only for $1000, and he had bills FROM them, stating that he only owes $100. That now he had to show up in court and prove why he shouldn’t be held in contempt!

    Then when he went to the bank today (the ‘”contempt” thing’ is in three days), he found out his bank account had been frozen. To say that he’s furious just would not even BEGIN to cover it.

    Is this legal? Normal? Is there ANYTHING we can do? This is in IL, by the way – I know the laws go from state to state. We have copies of the checks they accepted and the bills they sent, btoh before and after the judgement. Can they really tell you they’ve cancelled a judgement, continue accepting payments, send bills showing the payments being accepted…and continue with a judgement?!

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Julie – From what you have shared in your post, your father was served a lawsuit, did what he thought was the right thing by making payments, and then ended up with a default judgment, a summary judgment, or a he signed some papers consenting to a judgment.

      Is what happened legal? You should connect with an experienced debt defense attorney to discuss how all of this went down. But I have seen enough of this type of collection activity to unfortunately call it “semi-normal”. As far as what to do, I would suggest connecting with they type of attorney I mentioned above through http://www.naca.net – and/or showing up and outlining in full detail what happened with the judge.

      Your father absolutely needs to show up at that hearing. The stories you hear about people going to jail over an unpaid debt are when not showing up for hearings (especially this type of hearing), then having a warrant issued for arrest. He MUST go to that hearing. Bring all documents etc.

      What is the name of the plaintiff in the suit?
      What is the name of the debt collection attorney or law firm?

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  • Betty

    I need help- I have a judgement against me for $2,600+ however after receiving a payout it shows” Judgement = X” but TOTAL (with mostly legal fees) is $10k! My question is, Is a JUDGEMENT an amount the court has reduced an old debt down to or is it just an initial lump amount they have allowed the collector to pursue? (I had my bank accounts garnished and I really want to settle this- but the only option they’ve given me thus far is reducing the “total” to $8,000 w/$200 per month paid- I just think they are not telling me something… so I don’t want to agree to anything unless I know exactly what it mandatory to pay off so I can get my bank accounts back! Please help- thanks.

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Betty – There are 2 immediate things that jump out at me.

      1. Judgment debt grows from interest that is set by the court. There are caps on interest, but in some instances the interest rate after judgment can be the default rate from the credit or loan agreement. This is 30% in some instances.

      How long ago was the judgment entered?

      2. Depending on how the court action was entered, legal fees (attorney and court costs) can climb rapidly. If this is a judgment that was heavily contested through the court process, legal fees of several thousand dollars are not unheard of. But there have also been problems with collection attorneys tacking on far too much in legal fees, and slipping it by the court when the lawsuit goes unanswered and ends in a default.

      Did you fight the suit? Was the judgment entered as a default?

      It would help to know who the name of the law firm that sued.

      Settling the debt can often be done at a better savings, but when you have a lump sum to offer. Is that an option?

      Depending on the answers to my questions above, it could make sense to run your situation by your own attorney.It is best to speak with one that has experience in debt collection defense.

      • Betty

        Hi- thanks so much for your response. The judgement came after I was conned out of a loan mod and HOA lapsed as a result. The issue is it seems I’m being charged long after I foreclosed so how on earth would I be responsible for those payments? My biggest concern is to find out if the judgement means the amount has been reduced based on inactivity or if it’s just a portion of the sume the court has allowed the collector to pursue.. does that make sense? Every time I’ve tried to talk to the hoa/collector attorney they haven’t been very flexible or helpful for me to negotiate a payment plan. This recent conversation was “They are willing to reduce $2k so you’d pay $200/month on an $8K fee” I still feel it’s too much and want to request perhaps meeting me halfway at $5k… I just don’t know what to do and can’t afford an attorney.

        • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

          With a judgment the collector is allowed to pursue payment through wage garnishment in most states, a bank account levy, or a lien on real property.

          I have seen exorbitant legal costs added to HOA fees when sued for collection. That may be the case here, but did you contest any of this with the court, or was this a default judgment? What month and year was the judgment entered in the court?

          Judgment debt does not get reduced based on inactivity. The amount actually grows from inactivity because of judgment interest being charged on the balance of the judgment that remains unpaid.

          Settling at 5k is possible in these scenarios, but that is often possible when you have a lump sum to offer, not when you are only able to offer monthly payments, like 200 in this case.

      • Betty

        It’s La Ze Ga & Jo ha nsen hoa attorneys in Georgia. I cannot do a lump sum at this time only set up payments. I am starting a new job soon where I would be out of town a lot and really need my bank account back!

  • Joe

    I had a default judgment against me for a repossession a few years ago and while preparing to file bankruptcy I looked up court case history and my credit report, it now says “judgment satisfied” without any action on my part …what gives?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      If you didn’t pay or settle the judgment, it could be a misreporting error.

      The credit reporting agencies pay third-party companies to research and report public records (judgments, liens, bankruptcies, etc.) Mistakes in reporting happen quite often and it’s possible that the third-party furnisher that reported the public record to the bureaus misreported.

      Did you double check with the court records to see if the judgement was satisfied at the court level (not just your credit report?)

      If you’re planning to file for bankruptcy it would be worth checking the records at the court and documenting that the judgement was satisfied. You may even want to take it a step further and have your bankruptcy attorney contact the creditor/collector to confirm just to be safe. Filing bankruptcy gives you the option to include the judgment (the only way to resolve a judgment without paying it). If you don’t include the judgment and the “satisfied” reporting is in error, it could resurface later on down the road.

  • d

    I made an agreement with a debt collector only because they said that they would come to my job and take me to court but I had only made one payment my finances dont allow me to make the payments they are too high for me 298 on a monthly basis I am a single mother of 3 and no one helps me pay my bills and I advised them that the 298.00 was still high for me when I agreed now I cannot pay the second payment and Im just thinking of going to court and letting the judge see my income and lower the monthly payments for me as they will not work with me. is that a good choice?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      D – you mentioned that you agreed to the payment terms because they threatened to come to your job and take you to court — if this is the case, I’d be careful and make sure you’re not dealing with a payday loan collection scam. (See “Beware of Fake Payday Loan Debt Collection Scam“.)

      Legally, collectors can’t threaten to show up at your home or place of employment. However, if it is a legitimate collection, you do have a few options. Before you agree to any other payment arrangements, we’d strongly urge you to read through the following resources so that you’re fully aware of your rights, your options, and what collectors are legally able to say and do — and what they’re not:

      1. Seven Ways to Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit
      2. The Dos and Don’ts of Paying a Debt Collector
      3. What to do if a Debt Collector Calls

  • Rhonda

    Is there any way to lower a judgement? I have been paying it for 10 years (it was a total of $5000) and I still owe money. However, I barely make enough to survive. What can I do?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Rhonda – What is the amount you send in monthly? What state do you live in? What was the judgment debt regarding (credit card, medical, services)?

  • Chiichi

    If there is a judgement which has expired statue of limitation and is not shown on my credit report, but still collectable, how can I check if there is any judgement against me?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      If the judgment has expired and is no longer on your credit report, the only other option that I’m aware of is to check with your local county’s court office. If a judgment was filed against you, it should be on file at your local court office. That’s assuming the collector filed the judgment in the correct county.

  • Kerry

    Question, a creditor (Capital One) got a judgment against me three years ago, after refusing to settle with the Credit Consolidation program I was enrolled with. Now, I pay Capital One each month, but the money is filtered through a law firm. The Judgement was to Capital One and my payments are made to Capital One each month via the law firm.
    However, Capital one is reporting to the credit agencies, not only the judgement, but the original account (with a notation that the debt was written off). Additionally, the law firm is not sending me any statements showing what I’ve paid and what my balance is despite written correspondence.
    I’ve reviewed the fair debt collection act, and it looks like I have grounds to sue them if they do not comply with my certified written requests for the statement, and my credit report to be fixed. Am I right?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Kerry – Generally the original charged off account can remain on the credit report for the applicable time period even if a judgment was subsequently entered for it. In addition, judgment creditors aren’t required to send you periodic statements. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act doesn’t require judgment creditors to send you statements either, as far as I know.

      You may want to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and copy your state attorney general’s office. You can always consult a consumer law attorney as well to see if you they have broken the law in their attempts to collect from you.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Chichi – you’re right, the judgment wouldn’t follow you from county to county but to make one small clarification: the judgment should have been filed in the local court where you lived at the time the debt went to court and the judgement was filed.

    Hopefully that makes sense! :)

  • justmeasking

    I was found to be judgement proof in regards to a judgement. I believed the judgement was dismissed on these grounds.However 5 yrs later and the creditor continues to send me demand notices. Is there anything I can do? Also the total debt reported to the credit bureau has been grossly inflated and does not show the payments I made. Ex I paid 7.500 on a 10,000.00 debt. But the hole 10,000 is being reported vrs the 2 500 remaining

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    You can undo an unfortunate circumstance like this. But because this has gone through the courts, the process to reverse it must also be accomplished through the courts.

    You should consult with an attorney about your next step. Not just any attorney though. Look for an experienced “debt collection defense” attorney. http://www.naca.net is a go to resource to help you locate an attorney nearest you with the experience you need.

    • wrong defendant

      Thanks for your help! We just want this to go away so I called the Collections Agency who initiated this and had them send us detail for the amount due. I was told if we pay quickly then they’ll file to vacate the judgement and give me a form to send to the credit bureaus. I figure paying it is cheaper than fighting a judgement in a city 3 hours away when our adult daughter owes the original $400 anyway.

      Original debt was $400, but Collection Agency sent a “breakdown of court costs” saying we owe a little over $1,000. Online it says the court allowed the $400 debt plus “Assess Costs – Allowed”, but doesn’t specify amount of the “assess costs”. I do see online $172 of filing fees which matches the Collection Agency’s invoice, but nothing about the $416 “Service Fee” on their invoice. I called the Court to validate the amount we owe and the rep said “that’s strange. I’d think they should have entered an amount there. You should ask the plaintiff’s attorney.” Is that really how it’s done? The Plaintiff has been given a blank check for any costs which they call a “service fee”? Maybe I should be happy it’s only $416…. Thanks!

      • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

        Sorry for not replying sooner.

        I would not say the fees, which are basically the attorney costs, are a blank check. The fees in this case seem high relative to the debt amount, but are not all that high.

        Given the amounts involved, paying may indeed be the most economical thing to do, as hiring your own attorney to undo all of this would have its costs as well. Be sure to document all that they have agreed to do, especially vacating the judgment.

        I do still think it worth the time to speak to an experienced consumer law attorney. If they waffle on any part of the deal they are agreeing to, or what is put in writing is not clear to you, check out the site I linked to in my prior comment.

  • Cara Marks

    What happens if the landlord dies and there is no one else that is entitled to the money? Does anyone know? I wrote a affidavit and even went and purchased a death record. I dropped it off at the court house with the Judges clerk. Does he answer? What happens now?

  • Christen

    I served time for a legal matter in court back in 2005, resisting law enforcement. I had no knowledge of any fines that were outstanding (I served SIX MONTHS for this incident – wow). I have repaired my life, and my credit report, and it is in excellent shape now. I have known of EVERY debt on that report. Today I received a letter from a collection agency stating that I owe $12K because of the civil judgement filed against me back in 2005. How can this be? I don’t know what to do. I know how creditors can be and don’t want to respond but also don’t want wages garnished, etc. I definitely can’t afford a debt like this.

  • Stu

    Hi,
    This credit card account I used to have is closed and paid in full, but Experian shows the account as open with a balance due. The payment process involved a debt collection law firm who then filed a “Summons” and “Stipulated Judgment.” I filed an “Answer,” and stuck to a payment plan. When I finished paying, as my bank records can show, the Plaintiff’s Attorney filed a “Satisfaction of Judgment” agreeing that the debt was paid. This matter never went before a Judge, and Experian doesn’t show a “Judgment” on my credit report. My question is this: for purposes of credit reporting, is a “Stipulated Judgment” or “Satisfaction of Judgment” the same thing as a “Judgment”? I guess I’d just like to know before hand whether by proving to Experian that the debt is paid I’d also be reducing my own credit score. Any clarity you could offer would be very much appreciated.
    - Stu

  • luna

    I have a question, can an attorney file a judgment against me after I made a payment arragement with them? I

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Do one of the following scenarios apply to your situation?

      You were sued. Reached a payment agreement out of court and signed a formal document outlining the terms (sometimes referred to as a stipulation or consent to judgment).

      Made an agreement to pay with the attorney collection firm without having been sued. Later were sued anyway.

  • Wonder

    If I lose a civil lawsuit, can they collect my daughter college fun.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      It depends on your state’s laws. In Florida where I live, for example, funds in a Florida prepaid college tuition program or in a Florida 529 plan are protected. To find out whether the money you have saved for your daughter’s college fund is, I suggest you talk with your attorney. If you don’t have one, consult with a bankruptcy attorney who can help you understand what may be at risk if you lose this lawsuit.

  • Mike

    A collection agency, called and said there’s a judgment against me but have not sent me anything in the mail stating so. Is this their way of scaring someone?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      It can be, but collection occurs on legitimate judgments.

      Did you get the name of the collection agency, court, or judgment creditor?

      Have you pulled your credit report to see if there is a judgment being reported?

  • chiiqueen

    I had a judgement against me and I have settled it by paying in full. Now, I have received Satisfaction of Judgement and I am being recommended to forward a copy to all three credit bureaus. The judgement itself is so old that it is no longer on my credit report. Should I still forward a copy to them?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Ron – When a judgment creditor is bent on seeking payment through garnishment, some methods to beat that back are:

    1. Offer a lump sum settlement. Settlements at this late stage of collection typically do not get approved at a significantly reduced payoff, but I have seen 70 to 80 percent of the balance get approved. If garnishment is going to jeopardize your employment you should look to any resources you can to pool the money in order to settle this.

    2. Filing bankruptcy will put a stay on any collections.

    3. The notice of intent to garnish usually comes with notice of how you can request a hearing in order to show how you may be fully or partially exempt from garnishment.

    You should also look to consult with an attorney about your options. You will want to connect with an attorney whose practice focuses on consumer law. More specifically debt collection defense. A good resource to help you locate an attorney with the experience you want is http://www.naca.net

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Michael’s advice below is excellent. I will add that federal law prohibits an employer from firing you for a single wage garnishment. I am not saying all employers know – or follow – the rules, but if it comes to that you’ll want to know what your rights are. You’ll learn more on the Department of Labor’s website: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs30.htm

  • Joan

    I was not served. But got a judgement against me. Is there any recourse . I still have no job, money I would like to get a remodification so my pmts are lower. How can I did myself out otherwise? No ones going to hire a 73 year old lady.

  • Joan

    I have a judgement against me, but was never notified of a court date. Is it possible to get another court date and plead my case?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Joan – There are definitely possibilities for you to look at. You should connect with an attorney with a practice that focuses on debt collection defense in order to learn more about this. You can search for an attorney with this type of experience at http://www.naca.net

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Leah – You’ll have to talk with a consumer law attorney in your area to find out. Visit Naca.net for a locator service. If you can’t afford one, you may be able to get help from legal aid.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    You can certainly try! If you do reach an agreement, get it in writing before you pay anything and keep good track of your payments. Also find out if they will be charging interest. If so, your balance may not go down as quickly as you expect.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Sammy – To my knowledge, not being able to pay a judgment is not a reason for getting it vacated. However, there may not be a whole lot they can do to collect it – at least not for now. You may find this other story we’ve published helpful: http://blog.credit.com/2013/05/how-to-kill-zombie-judgments-on-your-credit-report/

  • Pingback: 4 Ways Joint Accounts Can Ruin Your Credit | Best Credit Repair

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Additional fees and interest are common but there are limits. How much collectors can charge in additional fees and interest will depend on the laws in your particular state. You can double check with your state attorney general’s office to find out what your state’s interest caps are for collections.

    Reversing a judgment isn’t out of the question but it would entail appealing the judgement. You can attempt doing that on your own but unless you’re familiar with the courts, it’s probably wise to consult with a collection attorney if decide to you go that route.

  • joni

    A lien was placed on property and sold to a bank. They have received the certified funds but have not released the lien. It has been 56 days. The city says they are out of it now and no one will give me a way to contact the bank. Should I file a complaint with the NY DFS?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Joni – Can you be a bit more specific? What was the lien regarding? Which bank is involved? What is it the city is saying they are out of, or how did the city consider itself involved to begin with?

      You can always look to filing complaints with regulatory agencies in order to move a challenge forward. I could offer more meaningful feedback if you post more details about the issue.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Maf – Someone collecting on a paid judgment is just fishy. Can you share more about your situation?

    Who had the judgment (name of plaintiff)?
    Who is the attorney collecting and threatening post judgment collection action?
    How was the potential additional collection action conveyed to you – over the phone, in writing, from a court filing?

    When you say the court order was satisfied, is that also reflected in the official court record?

    Please provide more detail and I can offer more feedback.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    You should not be required to pay more than the judgment amount. But there are situations where judgments will include legal costs and interest accumulation.

    It would be a good idea to take a copy of the judgment and any thing in the court record after that, along with proof of payment, to your own attorney for review. I would want to consult with an experienced debt defense attorney. A good resource to find one is http://www.naca.net

  • Dan

    Hi-
    I have a credit card judgement two years old. I was considered “collection-proof”, due to my unemployment/no income or asset situation. I’m planning to file Chapter 7 in October, 2013(I had to wait a couple years due to a previous filing 8 years ago- before the new laws took effect). My question is: when I file the Chapter 7 and list the judgement, do I also need to include the INTEREST rate accrued on this debt since it went to a judgement(and/or the court costs + fees)? Thank you very much for a reply in advance!
    -Dan.

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Dan – You should confirm this with your bankruptcy attorney, but generally, the total amount of the credit card judgment, including interest and fees, would be discharged in the chapter 7.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    nw – This sounds a bit odd. Perhaps each suit that was filed was not managed properly to show you paid each one prior to the court action progressing. Pull each judgment from the court record and post an update comment with what transpired according to the court record.

  • Ken

    I had a judgment entered on August 18, 2005 for $10K. I was never served and a few months later my wages were being garnished. At the time, I was not familiar with the law and figured that the credit card company could garnish. I left my job in April of 2006. During the time I was employed I had paid $1790 through garnishment. I had not heard anything regarding this matter until today when I was served with a Summons for Revival of Judgment. I have no assets except my income. Any advice about the options I have? Who I should contact, etc? I’ve gotten my life back in pretty good order and would hate for this to come back and throw a wrench into everything.

  • do-it-stuart

    Hello my question is the court finalized a amount in my favor less than what was persued by the debtor. How can the debtor originally tack interest on the principle after taking me to court and then persue that amount. How can the IRS then come after me for taxes on this unsubstantiated total. My judgement in the court was paid in full.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Typically the debt would have gone to collections before it made it to judgement status. If they’re unable to collect on the collection, and they decided to sue in order to collect, a judgement would be the result. This is one of the main reasons we encourage dealing with a collection before it makes it to this status because once it becomes a judgment it’s very difficult to reverse.

    At this point, you can try to get the judgement vacated, but this isn’t something that’s easy to do without the help of a lawyer. It’s also not going to be easy to do if you actually owe the debt. Keep in mind, too, that once a collection makes it to judgment status, a judgment can last indefinitely and depending on the laws in your state, they may be able to seize your bank account or garnish your wages. In which case, it may be better to find out what the judgment entails so that you can try work with the collector to pay or settle the debt before it gets to this stage.

  • Ricktico

    Hi
    I have left the USA back in 2008 and I had credit cards debts that I could not pay back when I was out of the country. A judgment against me was awarded while I am out of the country, and just found about it by ordering my credit report in preparation to my return to the USA.
    Please advise how to resolve this problem i will be facing upon my return. I am moving back with no money and no job and I am going to settle in Florida. Your advise is greatly appreciated.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Collectors are able to add interest and collection fees but they must be reasonable and there are limits. How much they can charge will vary by individual state laws. Your state attorney general should be able to tell you what the interest rate caps and fees are for your state. To help you find this information for your state, here’s a list of State Attorney Generals and their respective websites for contact information: http://www.naag.org/current-attorneys-general.php

  • j

    Do the 7 years start over as soon as you make contact with a credit card that you have not paid?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Making contact wouldn’t restart the date. With a collection, if you make a payment and agree to a payment plan, then it will restart the date. Keep in mind, if the collection has made it to judgment status, judgments can remain indefinitely as Gerri points out, they can often last 10 to 20 years and can be renewed by the creditor.

  • Mark

    Sammy, They can not take your ssi money or garnish your bank account,it,s a federal law,go to your bank if it has been froze and let them know that you only have ssi in that account,they will have to release it to you even if it has a judgement on it.Look at social security.gov,your benifits are coverd under assignment, Hope this helps you

  • Jimmy Shaffer

    I have judgments reported on my reports that originated in 2005 from collector#1. The debts were sold to collector#2 in 2009. In 2010, collector#2 went bankrupt and is no longer in business. In 2011, I received a substantial amount of money and pulled all my credit reports and began paying all my debts. collector#1 showed on the reports with about 20 individual accounts which I paid. I just found out (2013) that the monies I paid to collector#1 was the same monies owed in my judgment to collector#2 who is no longer in business. how do I fix this and get these judgments removed?

  • tina

    I went to civil court sued by my attorney representing herself, I was not allowed to present my information and the attorney would not make payment arrangements she got the judgement she wanted and now is seeking to garnish my only income child support . I have been seeking employment and it only been a few months since my divorce, The attorney made reference to her friends in high places and she always gets what she wants , I did give her a money order which she cashed and a letter out lining the payment arrangement which she called me and rejected. How could she keep the money and refuse the arrangement? And why wasn’t I allowed to speak in court it was clear that this was unfair. I got a default judgement as though I did not show up

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Tina — In cases like this, unless you’re familiar with the laws and are comfortable representing yourself, it’s best to go in with an attorney — especially if you’re fighting another attorney over the debt.

      I don’t understand why you weren’t allowed to speak in court but something sounds amiss here. Did the judge forbid you to speak? We’re not attorneys but this just sounds “off” and you may wish to speak with an attorney to determine whether or not any laws were broken during the suit.

      In the end, since the judgement has already been awarded, your only option in fighting it would be to try and reverse or vacate the judgment but this isn’t something that’s easy to do without the help of a lawyer. In which case, we’d encourage you to consult with an attorney for specific legal advice regarding your case. To find a consumer law attorney in your area, http://www.NACA.net is a good place to start.

  • Cindy Johnson

    This comment isn’t about debt but rather about starting to establish credit for my daughter. She’s trying an keeps being told “lack of credit history”. She has rent & utilities that are pd on time, has savings but no checking account. Has a good steady job as mgmt. & has been there for 4 yrs. any suggestions?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Rent and utilities aren’t typically included in credit reports (which is why she doesn’t show a credit history for those accounts). You can read more about rent and utilities being reported in credit reports here:

      Why Are Utilities & Rent Payments Not Included in My Credit Report?

      Fortunately, there are a couple of options for her to build and establish credit. One option is for a family member to add her as an authorized user on a credit card that has a very low balance in relation to the credit limit, and preferably an older, well established account with no late payment history. This can help her ‘piggyback” on your good credit. You can read more about this option here:

      Piggybacking to Boost FICO Scores: Does it Still Work?

      And finally, if she’s looking to establish entirely on her own, without help from parents or family members willing to allow her to piggy back as an authorized user, the easieast and most effective way for her to establish and build credit on her own is to start with a secured credit card. You can read more about how this works here:

      How to Build Credit: Establishing Credit From Scratch

  • desi

    I live in Florida. I have a judgment against me but the creditor keeps seeking information about my husband. Do I have to give them his info? And if my home is in both our names can they pt a lien on it?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      If you are being asked to provide information in a formal court process (often the case when judgment creditors are trying to collect), you should speak to an attorney of your own in order to move forward with confidence.

      Talk to the attorney about any lien potential and risk to your home. Florida is one of the most favorable states for consumer protection laws regarding your personal residence.

  • Nikki

    I took an apartment complex to court regarding charges they put on my credit after , I moved out. The court ruling was in there favor but I didn’t have to pay the $1500. they claimed I owed , only $350. I was in a process of buying a home with a FHA loan so it had to be paid before We qualified for loan. So I paid it and got a receipt then. here 9 years later ,Im doing a loan modification and the judgement is still listed. It hasnt showed up on my credit but showed up during my Title search, granted it was paid before 2 months before I evening purchased my house. so apparently they never cleared the judgement . but my concern also it that it should be cleared b/c debt was paid over 9 years ago , but Im not sure if i could provide money order that they requested i use to pay it. what is my next step ? call the court / apartment complex ..dig in my boxes for receipts ?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Nikki – You should do all the leg work necessary first (digging through boxes etc). I would also recommend consulting with an experienced real estate, or collection defense attorney. You may need to work through the court in order to get a formal satisfaction.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    It is possible to have a judgment entered against you without ever having been notified you were being sued. It should not happen, but happens enough there is even a term for it – Sewer Service. Depending on the circumstances, you can unwind what happened in the court without your knowledge, but that is best done with the assistance of your own attorney.

    Check out http://www.naca.net and locate an attorney with debt collection defense experience in your state. Call one to go over the details and what your options are. Most NACA member attorneys will offer a no cost initial consult.

    As far as sending in a payment for less than the judgment balance – it’s not a good idea. Accord and satisfaction has limited uses. And once a debt like this has gone through the courts, you typically should look to resolve it through the court process.

    You can often negotiate a lower payoff on judgment debt. But you need to reach that agreement with the plaintiff (you would be the defendant), and get a satisfaction filed with the court.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Your bank accounts are at risk from levy when you have a judgment. Some states do have laws that provide a buffer from what can be levied from your account. That buffer is fairly small. What state do you live in?

  • Tamara

    I’m trying to pay off a judgment and we keep calling and calling and we can’t get ahold of anyone to even talk to. Left messages. What can I do to settle this if no one responds?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Who is the judgment creditor (the name of the plaintiff) in the lawsuit?
      What is the name of the attorney or law firm that handled the suit?

      If you have a goal you are trying to accomplish (like qualify for a home loan), you can check with the court clerk about paying the full amount of the judgment directly to the court and getting the court record to reflect that the judgment is satisfied. You may want to connect with your own attorney about navigating that process (getting the court record updated).

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    You should connect with an experienced consumer law attorney with a practice that focuses on debt collection defense in your state to ease this concern. But the ability to intercept your tax refund from the federal government, unless the debt at issue is a federally backed loan (many types of student debt, SBA, etc), is not typically an option on civil judgment debts like this.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Can you provide more context to your question? Are you being sued? If so, what has transpired to date?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Getting the judgment resolved would be a priority if it were me. But I would want that to happen at the court level, not starting at the credit report. The judgment on the credit report is there as a result of the court record. If the court record is not changed (getting the judgment vacated), any change (if one occurs), may be short lived.

    When was your last payment on this debt?

    I get that it is your debt, but I want to help compare some costs. If the judgment is successfully vacated, and the debt is old enough, it may create a situation where you could not be legitimately sued again because the statute of limitations to do that again expired. If this were the case, the cost of working with the attorney to vacate a judgment would put you in a better position to deal with the old debt on your own terms.

    There are some other angles to consider, but lets look at this one first.

  • Rita

    I filed Bankruptcy chapter seven then 3 creditors they got Judgment against me I went to the court and told the Judge I am not working and can’t pay he told me to hire a lawyer to make it in writing I think is called set aside the new lawyer said okay but send me a letter for to sign a paper to go to mediation which I did not they called me on the phone and the mediator was screaming at me I told her I am not working If you find me a job I will pay you I can’t promise to make any payment can they hurt me or not, please answer me …..Thank you

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Rita – I am confused by your email so I’ll answer the best I can. Please keep in mind I am not an attorney and can’t offer legal advice.

      Did you include these debts in your bankruptcy? If so, then the creditors should not have pursued judgments against you. I hope you filed for bankruptcy with the help of an attorney. If so, please contact your attorney asap to find out what needs to be done. If you did not file with the help of an attorney, then perhaps there were mistakes made in the process. Since you can’t afford an attorney and aren’t working, find your local legal aid office and ask them if they can help you.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Rana —
    That is a tough situation, and unfortunately, it sounds as if you need to contact a consumer law attorney for advice on how to proceed.

  • Lisa

    Hello,

    I defaulted on a debt for 1400 now I got a document in the mail for garnishment of my wages. Can I settle this with them on a payment plan before they start the wage garnishment?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Were you sued for this debt? Is there a reference to the judgment in the document you received?

      If there is a legitimate judgment for this debt, their pursuing garnishment is their way of forcing the payment plan. A judgment creditor taking collection this far can complicate your efforts to call and set up voluntary payments. They may be thinking they will get more money, and faster, through the garnishment.

      You may be able to get them to work with you on your terms, but my experience is that this is not that common at this point. One way to get a judgment creditor to be more reasonable is if you can qualify for full or partial exemptions from garnishment based on your income. You have to go through the court to establish this. The instructions for contesting a garnishment will often accompany a notice like you reference receiving. You can also contact the court clerk about the process for requesting a hearing to contest the garnishment.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    It sounds as if you need competent legal advice, and we’re not in a position to give you that. As for the judgment, this resource may be helpful:

    Creditor Gets a Judgment Against You — Now What?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    LBC – You’re in the realm of needing legal advice at this point and we aren’t able to provide that. I encourage you to talk with a consumer law attorney to find out whether this debt collector may have broken the law. Look for a consumer law attorney familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and state law. They may be willing to give you a free consultation, and even represent you for free if they think you have a good case, as the collector would likely have to pay the attorney’s fees if it broke the law in attempting to collect from you. Visit Naca.net to find an attorney in your area.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Jason – Are you suing the property owner or management company?

    Garnishment laws vary by state. You should receive notice of garnishment, but a few days is not much warning. Check out your Supreme Courts web site for more details: http://www.azcourts.gov/selfservicecenter/SelfServiceForms/GarnishmentofEarnings.aspx

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    We’ve received other complaints like yours and it’s incredibly frustrating. I wrote about it in this article:

    How to Kill Zombie Judgments on Your Credit Report

    You may want to file a complaint against the credit card company with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and see if they can help. If they can, you won’t have to get a lawyer involved just to pay the debt!

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You’ll need to talk with an attorney to find out a. if you can pursue it and b. how to do that.

  • Lost

    We had a judgement granted against us for a student loan, and now have an emergency hearing tomorrow. We received a copy of the original Lawsuit over a year ago, which we filed an answer to. We tried to work out payment arrangements on it, but the plaintiff’s attorney rejected everything we offered. Should also mention that the student loan company before filing, never made an attempt to contact us or send any bills after we had made payments for the first 6 months. Well the judgement was handed down within the first week or so of September. My question is, should we have received the following from the court or the plaintiff’s attorney via certified mail? Notice of Court Proceedings, Affidavit of Judgement Creditor, Motion of Summary Judgement or even an Answer of Garnishee? Only paper work we received since the original Lawsuit was from my employer after they had already started to garnish my wages. This judgement was granted in Franklin County Common Pleas, in Columbus Ohio.

    Any and all information you can share with me would be great, as we have to head to the hearing tomorrow and can’t afford an attorney.

  • lost

    I have had a judgement granted against me in Franklin County Courts in Ohio. We received a notice of the Law Suit on a student loan last year by certified mail and we filed our response within the proper amount of time(thanks to a lawyer who only charged us 200.00). Some background we made payments 6 payments on this private student loan back in 2006, after making those payments we never received another bill or any phone calls from the student loan company. Now come full circle in 2013 they were issued a summary judgement against me and are garnishing my wages. Problem is we were never notified of the judgement being granted. In Ohio should of the courts or the plaintiff’s attorney notified myself(defendant) by certified mail with any of the following paperwork, Notice of Court Proceedings, an Affidavit of Judgement Creditor, or an Answer of Garnishee? I see they had sent certified mail to my employer after doing some digging but nothing was ever sent to me except for the initial filing over a year ago. Also we didn’t even know it was granted until I got a paycheck and money was taken out and we didn’t know what it was for until we called the payroll department, in which they told us. Then the following week we received paper work from my employer after the fact. We filed an emergency hearing which I now have to attend tomorrow, and can’t afford an attorney. Any and all help would be most greatful

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I am so sorry but you really need legal advice from someone who practices consumer law in your area, and we simply can’t provide that. Have you tried to find a legal aid clinic in your area to see if they can help?

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Please try to keep the discussion constructive and comments civil.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Kathleen – New York has been active in highlighting the type of issues you shared you are going through. Yes, you can get this unwound for some of the reasons you stated, and others. You may even be able to target the debt collector, rather than being targeted by one. I would encourage you to contact your state AG’s office and the CFPB. Both are interested in hearing from you.

    I would also encourage you to speak with a consumer law attorney in NY that specializes in debt defense. You can locate this type of attorney at http://www.naca.net.

    Who is the judgment creditor listed as?
    Who is the collection firm handling the case?

  • snoopdog

    I think you are a real loser yourself. It’s no telling what you’ve gotten away with–more than likely you don’t even have a job yourself. It appears that you’re angry because you’re in the same position many of these people are in and the only thing you know to do is get on the computer an bully people. Here’s what I know–people who have a lot of material things are the ones who really have created the debt in this country. People like you who file bankruptcy for the hell of it—-under this reorganization crap. The little people like the people asking for information on here are barely making it more than likely because they’ve been hoodwinked by these credit cards or even medical bills. I think you ignorance is only superseded by your lack of intelligence.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Let’s try hard to stay on topic and keep the conversational civil.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    It was not clear from what you wrote, but it sounds like you were sued and aware of that, but prior to conclusion of the lawsuit you made a payment agreement where, if you missed one, you had signed a document stipulating/agreeing to the judgment.

    Is that what happened? If not, can you be more specific about what led to the judgment entry?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Great question! Foreign judgments are good for 6 years in Nevada. Given the timelines you have going with the original and renewal in Oregon, as well as the 2008 date in Nevada, this all looks to be coming to a close in 2014.

    You should definitely run this scenario by an experienced debt defense attorney in Nevada before proceeding with your personal finances confident that the judgment can no longer be legally enforced.

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  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I don’t know what the requirements are for your state, but the fact that you were served with the notice of the court date may mean you were adequately notified. I really don’t know because it depends on the procedures in your state.

    You need to talk with a consumer law attorney to find out for sure.

    It would have been better if you had talked to one before this happened, since the calls you received may have been illegal and you may have been able to stop it then. But I wouldn’t wait now – you can find one at naca.net.

    • Thevolget

      Thanks for the advice, as I’m trying to dig my way out of a mountain of bills that I incurred while being out of work for an extended period of time. Looks like I’m going to have to talk to a consumer law attorney after all. I called the courthouse again today, and once again attempted to get information regarding the judgment being reported and was told by the clerk that “the courthouse doesn’t report the judgment to the credit agencies, the collection agency that is seeking the judgment is responsible for the reporting” (this was after being told two times that there is no record of a judgment being issued for that case number).

      • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

        I am sorry I couldn’t be more specific. Will you let us know what you find out? It may help other readers in similar situations.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    We wrote about that in this article: Can a Debt Collector Double My Debt?

    You need to find out if the charges are legal, and if you haven’t been able to pay this debt off in four years, consider bankruptcy. A consumer bankruptcy attorney should be able to help you with both questions. Visit NACBA for a referral.

  • Gabriel

    Hello, my name is Gabriel and I have a couple of questions. I had a judgement against me for 3k and I missed the court date so was found guilty by default.5 months later I find out my license is suspended. I think its for child support but I check with child support and they say I am current with my payments and its not suspended through them. I contact the MVA and they say a law firm suspended my license for failing to pay. I contacted the firm and explained I was broke with no job and that I had just gotten out of prison and they set the fee at 25$ per month. This allowed me to get my license back. 6 months goes by and I speak to the lady that sued me and she says she hasn’t gotten any money. I contact the firm and now I owe hundreds more and they say my payment doesn’t even cover the interest accruing on it. If I stop paying, can they suspend my license again for falling behind or not paying? I also have a civil suit that is pending me being served where someone pulled in front of me and hit their brakes and I hit them from the back. It did no damage to my vehicle and dented their tag in but they said they had back surgery 6 months prior and they were re injured from the accident and sued me for 28k. I was excluded from the policy by my ex do to my points but I had 2 of my own vehicles which were insured at the time. Im not sure if my insurance could possibly cover it or not. their insurance co settled for 11k and is trying to sue me for the 11k. I have no job or vehicles or anything valuable. I am trying to start a coffee biz with a partner who has a llc. If I add my name to the llc can the civil suit affect the business even though it happened 3 years before I started the biz with my partner? Does my partner have anything to worry about? The driver that pulled in front of me had changed lanes on a bridge we were on and you cant change lanes on that bridge so they were illegally changing lanes when they pulled in front of me. I was excluded from the policy but had my own insurance and thought I was ok to drive. Am I automatically at fault because of the exclusion or beings that he illegally changed lanes, is he at fault? I never got served because I was in prison and have a different address now. Should I contact the insurance co and explain my brokeness(lol) to them and see if they might drop it? Is bankruptcy an option and could that affect the biz I’m trying to start with my partner? Thanks for all of your help. I know its lots of dumb questions.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I wish I could help but you really need to speak with an attorney. If you can’t afford one, check with your local legal aid office to see if they can help. It wouldn’t hurt you to also talk with a bankruptcy attorney. They can tell you whether the debt in question can be discharged in bankruptcy. If so, it might allow you to start fresh.

      Bankruptcy will affect your credit, but it may be better than dealing with this indefinitely.

      I hope you are able to find a way to turn things around.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Unfortunately, Amy, you can’t just get out of paying a debt because you can’t afford to pay. I would suggest you talk with a non-profit credit counseling agency to see if they can help you figure out a way to deal with this debt. If it’s the only debt you have, it’s probably not large enough to file for bankruptcy. Read: Does Credit Counseling Work?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Nicole –

    I am a little confused here because you are mentioning school / lender/ collector and I am not sure who is doing what.

    But you basically have two choices here. One is to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They may be able to help. At a minimum you would go on record with the problems with this school/lender/collector. (If you do file a complaint, be very clear about who did what and what kind of remedy you are seeking.)

    The other is to talk with a consumer law attorney to find out whether any laws are broken. Your story is a little confusing Personally, if I were in your shoes, given what you are telling me I would consult a consumer law attorney. They will likely give you a free consultation, and if the collection agency broke the law they may be liable for damages – and have to pay the attorney’s fees. Visit Naca.net to find one in your area.

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  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Hi Dave -

    Thanks for the kind comment and apologies for not seeing your question sooner. Whether or not they can charge you for these costs depends on state law and the contract. If this has been going on for years, it may be past the statute of limitations at this point. I wrote about the topic of additional costs in this piece: Can a Debt Collector Double My Debt?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Sammy – So sorry to hear what you are struggling with. Not being able to pay a debt is not a defense; in other words, they won’t vacate it just because you can’t afford it. But if there were other irregularities, it may be possible. I wrote about that here: Seven Ways To Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit

    However, in your case it may be wiser just to wait it out until the statute of limitations expires. If I were in your shoes, I’d talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney in my area about options. The first consultation is likely going to be free.

    • dpavlako

      BEST ADVICE – at the end of Gerri’s comment – see a bankruptcy lawyer. At 23 you can still get your life back on track, but not unless you can get this stuff discharged.

  • Rod Thirkield

    I had a judgment made against me but the it past the statue of limitations on the debt

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Was a default judgement where you didn’t show up in court? If so you need to talk with a consumer law attorney about trying to get it vacated, or with a bankruptcy attorney about wiping it out in bankruptcy.

      Read more here: Help! I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    It will take time — and consistently paying off any credit as agreed. Negative information stays on your credit report for 7 years and 6 months from when you first fell behind, and your credit score will reflect that. However, recent activity affects your scores more than problems further in your past, and positive activity can help. You should stay away from “credit repair,” and, painful as it may be, take a look at your free credit reports to make sure the information is accurate. (Mistakes can and do happen, and you don’t want your record to contain mistakes that could make an already difficult situation even worse.) Here are some resources that may be useful to you:

    All About Credit Scores

    The Truth About Credit Repair

    Pay for Removal Deals: Removing Collection Accounts from Your Credit Reports

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am sorry but I really don’t understand your situation. Why is your mother’s judgment on your credit report if the apartment was solely in her name?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Have you tried to contact the court to find out what you can do to force it? You may need to send a written demand, and if they don’t cooperate you may be entitled to damages and/or they may be penalized. (It depends on rules in your state.)

  • maallen

    I was recently served with a summons/complaint on a medical debt from 2009 for $700 in Michigan. I responded immediately to the attorney to work out some kind of payment plan (corrospondence through email). They agreed to $50 a month until paid off. On December 10th, 2013 they said they would send me document to finalize the deal and they will contact the court about our agreement.

    On January 21st, after not receiving anything, I contacted them asking where the document is. On January 23rd I received paperwork from the court that a default judgement has been rendered. Ugh…I wanted to resove this without courts being involved.

    Is there anything I can do now? Or am I to expect garnishment or bank account seized?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You still have the email showing that you were negotiating? If so please contact a consumer law attorney immediately. It does not sound like this company was negotiating in good faith and you want to see if you can get this judgment vacated. Otherwise you are stuck with a judgment on your credit reports for seven years or longer – and that’s not good. Don’t be panicked about the cost – if the consumer law attorney thinks you have a good case for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act they may take your case for free (since the collector would have to pay their attorneys fees if you prevailed). Visit Naca.net for a referral to one in your area. Please act quickly – you may have limited time to challenge that judgment.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Hank – I would not recommend you do this without input from an attorney. I would would to make sure you have an ironclad guarantee that no one can come after you for the difference and that it will be listed as satisfied on your credit reports. I am not sure you can do that yourself without the company also releasing you from liability. (Remember the company is about to go through a legal proceeding – bankruptcy – and that may have an impact.) I’d suggest you talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney to make sure all is in order before you sign anything. I am confident it will be money well spent.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Yes, if they are legally entitled to do so. They can do an asset search to locate your accounts/property. If you are worried about this, I would suggest talking with a bankruptcy attorney asap.

  • lynnad ae judgement

    ?I just had a large judgement entered against me. all the funds I receive are from gov. sources, I.e. soc. sec. disability & a pension. I have taken steps to protect these funds, but I am the representative payee foe my brother who receives SSI. Since my name is on the acct., can the creditor go after his money or should I take steps to protect his money too.?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      That’s a great question – and unfortunately I don’t know the answer. I will have to suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney. A consumer bankruptcy attorney should be able to answer this question for you.

  • Slayer

    I have a judgement agaisnt me that was a workers comp injury and I wasnt even notified about it. I just got a notification that was added to my credit report and its not even my responsibility. What should I do

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I am sorry but I don’t know enough to answer your question. What do you mean it’s not your responsibility? Who obtained the judgment and for what kind of debt? Were you notified that they were suing you for the debt.

  • captdantman

    I had a civil judgement against me. My pay was garnished and it was paid in full. It still has not had the status changed on my credit report after 5 months. I tried disputing with credit agency and it comes back verified. How can I get them to remove it or at least show it as paid? I read that collector had 60 days to get “satisfied judgement” paperwork submitted. they haven’t, what can I do? how can I find an attorney that can handle this? I would love to have item completely removed if there is a way. Thanks

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      If the judgment creditor is required to file this paperwork with the court with 60 days and has not done so, then there are likely penalties for failing to do so. The procedures may vary somewhat by jurisdiction, but generally you can send them a written demand letter (via certified mail) stating that this needs to be filed. If they don’t comply in a specific time period (again, varies by jurisdiction), they may be liable for damages. Have you tried contacting the court in which the judgment is filed? They may be able to tell you what the procedures are. If not, I’d recommend you contact a local consumer law attorney (visit naca.net) for advice.

      Will you let us know what happens?

  • Angela Murphy

    You have the perfect first name , Judge lest ye be Judged

  • Angela Murphy

    In my opinion you should

  • Tshepo

    Hi there I have been owing my university fees and I paid them off last year 2013 but only to find out that there was a judgement laid on 2012. The fees are paid up in full but I wanted to buy a phone on contract and I was told that I am on judgement. So I do not understand that how can I be on judgement even though I paid up everything

  • Tshepo

    Hi there I have a problem. I have been owing my outstanding University fees for the year 2011 and in August 2012 there was a judgement against me. Fortunately I paid the fees in August 2013 but now there is a problem. I few days ago I wanted to apply for a phone contract and it was unsuccesful because I have a judgement on my name. I do not understand for as far as I know I paid off my fees but now I am still carrying a judgement burden that hampers me from accessing any credit solution. How do I remove the judgement even after I paid my debt

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      The judgment creditor is required to file paperwork with the court stating that the judgment has been satisfied. How quickly they must do this depends on the jurisdiction but it usually must happen within 30 days. They may be fined or penalized if they fail to do so, and you may be entitled to damages – particularly if it causes you to be turned down for credit or other benefits, as this has.

      You can consult a consumer law attorney in your area (visit Naca.net for a referral) or you can try to handle it yourself. To do that, call the court or go to their website to see if you can find out what the requirement is. Then send the school a certified letter stating that they need to take care of this, and if they don’t you will consult an attorney.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Victoria – It depends on what property is safe from creditors under your state laws. A consumer bankruptcy attorney should be able to tell you that.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You have to find out whether the car would be exempt property that the creditor could not touch. Unfortunately I can’t answer that for you because it depends on laws in your state. A consumer bankruptcy attorney should be able to answer this for you. If you can’t go that route, then it may be safest for your relative who is buying the car to maintain ownership and for you to make sure it is insured in your name as well.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You need to talk with a bankruptcy attorney immediately. They will be able to tell you whether these actions were legal and what steps you can take now to try to keep your business going.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    The requirements on that can vary by jurisdiction. You may want to contact your state attorney general’s office to find out more.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Is there a reason to sue him? Why is your son part of the discussion? Is the money owed related to him some how?

  • Key

    I’m having a difficult time paying off a rental judgment
    from December 2007 that’s on my credit report I received from Transunion. I
    decided to stop by the rental office to pay off the judgment they were unable to
    help. The staff member stated that they are under new management as of 2011 and
    cannot assist me. I ask the staff member for the number to the corporate office
    to contact the previous owners of the rental property. The corporate office was
    also unable assist me. I was given a number to the Nation Credit Collection
    Agency and the rental company law firm practice to pay off the judgment. Spoken
    to a staff members and manager of the collection agency, they were unable to identify
    me within their system base off my social security number and other demographic
    information they requested. I contacted the rental law firm went through same
    problem as the collection company; still no luck. What do you suggest that I
    do?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      It is possible that the debt was sold off, or lost in the mix with transfer of new owners etc.

      Talk to an attorney familiar with debt collection from the consumers perspective in your area. Find out about paying the judgment in full at the court. You may be able to get this resolved that way.

  • bgable

    Is it legal for a judgment creditor publish the court judgment in the legal notices of a newspaper as an inducement for the judgment debtor to pay?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Great question. I would encourage you to talk with an attorney in your area who is familiar with fair debt collection laws to get a solid response.

      I did check with one in California prior to posting this reply, and he doubted that was okay for a judgment creditor to do – other than for something like substitute of service.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Joe – I am sorry but I don’t know the answers to all your questions about how to collect this judgment. I am going to have to suggest you talk with an attorney with experience in debt collection for advice. Unfortunately as any collection agency can tell you, getting a judgment is half the battle. Collecting it may or may not happen.

  • Misty

    You’re disgusting with your foul, obnoxious, and outright rude comments. How close are you to defaulting on your own debt buddy?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am so sorry to hear that. You are going to have to talk with a consumer law attorney. If you did not receive the required notice of the lawsuit you may be able to sue the collectors, but I have a hard time seeing how you can do that without legal help. Visit naca.net or nacba.org to find one in your area. They may be able to help you for free if they think you have a good case. If not, and if you can’t afford their help, ask them if they can refer you to legal aid in your area.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    I do know that some court decisions can result in restitution, or some other type of monetary decision that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. 100% wage garnishments are just not normal though.

    Can you be more specific about what led to where you are at now?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Christina – Your best resource is the courts on this. How much of your husbands assets and income are protected can vary. Have you discussed these developments with your BK attorney?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    David – You’ll need to ask that question a consumer law attorney in your state. Every state has certain property that is “exempt” or safe from creditors, but it does vary by state. A bankruptcy attorney should be able to answer that question for you as well.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    brian – Check with an attorney in New York about whether your workers comp is protected from judgment creditors. The problem, even if a protected source, is when exempt money gets deposited and mingled with nonexempt money. Be sure to get clarity on that angle too.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Hopefully you got something in writing from them describing your agreement. Once they accept that payment they will need to file the forms with the court stating that it has been satisfied. The procedure varies by jurisdiction.

  • Had Enough

    You make a very good point. If somebody shafted them for $4400 THEY would be the first ones asking “How can I collect on this debt?” The entitlement mentality in this country has reached epidemic proportions. smdh

  • Baily

    A friend of mine was living in an apartment with his now ex-wife and decided to leave the apartment but was still keeping money in the account to pay the rent and she chose to not pay it. He has records showing her taking the money out but no rent being paid. A judgement is now on his credit report. If she was served the papers (he is an over the road truck driver so he wasnt home) does that count as him being served as well since he was on the lease and was her husband?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      In general, debts belonging to both spouses (such as joint accounts) are the responsibility of both parties, even if there is a divorce. Your friend is far from alone. We wrote about it here:
      My Divorce Ruined My Credit. Perhaps the information can help him going forward.

      • Baily

        Thank you for the response. That is not what I wanted to hear lol, but that is the reality of things.So besides paying it, there is nothing more that can be done such as attemting to get it vacated?

        • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

          You can request anything you like . . . but this paragraph from the story explains the status of money owed: Here’s the deal: the divorce decrees do not supersede the original contracts with your lenders. That means that just because the court orders one of you to pay a loan obligation, it doesn’t release the other spouse from liability on the account if it was originally opened as a joint or co-signed account. The lender doesn’t recognize that order as an amendment to the contract that both spouses signed. Both parties are still as equally liable as when the account was opened.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Are you referring to a commercial bond (such as one required for a professional license) or a bail bond?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Mellie – With a court judgment in place, you could wake up with a bank account levy, or notice of wage garnishment. In other words, your friend implying nothing can be done to collect from you at this point is not accurate.

    Midland is one of the more reasonable to work with in settling up some form of payment plan. If that is something you want to explore, it would be better to get that going early on, and before levy or garnishments are set in motion.

  • IWin06

    I have been paying monthly installment payments on judgment for 2 years with a 13% interest (I owe for 2 more years) – can I ask to have interest removed?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      You can ask, but depending on the judgment creditor, should not have a realistic expectation of them agreeing.

      If your payments stopped for some reason, you may find the other side more agreeable to structuring something more affordable.

      This was a voluntary payment agreement?
      Do you have any access to a lump sum of money to offer as a settlement in full for the remaining balance owed? Judgment creditors will often accept this in lieu of long term lower monthly payments.

  • savannah

    My husband was recently served by our neighbor with a civil suit saying our animals damaged our fence. (I don’t agree) But he was found guilty and now has a judgement. he is self employed doesn’t own much of anything. Can our neighbor also garnish my wages or any assets I may own even though the serve was to him and never involved my name

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      There are instances where you can be impacted by something like this, even though it was your husband who was sued. You should consult with an experienced consumer law attorney in your state in order to determine if, and how, you are at risk.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Are you sure the statute of limitations for enforcement of judgments is four years? I couldn’t follow your link but what i could find says five years. Either way, it would sound like it has expired – unless it was renewed or it’s longer than what either of us have seen.

    Before you do anything I would suggest you consult a consumer law attorney. You need to find out definitively how long this judgment can be enforced.

    If the judgment has expired then it should come off your report in May 2014. You may have to dispute it if it doesn’t happen automatically.

  • Rms

    Hi. Last year a judgement was won against me. They had a wage garnishment in place however after a few months of garnishment , they returned 500$ of it and no longer took the money out of my wages.. However, a soon received a document from the County recorder stating they had placed a lien on any property I own. However I do not own any property. Not even a car.. I changed my direct deposit to a family members account and do not have anything in my name other than my 401k/ retirement account. I wanted to establish my own checking account again however I am worried they will freeze my account.. I also moved out of state and am wondering if I establish an account in a different state ( local credit union) can they still freeze those accounts if it’s a bank account solely within the state I reside ? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Probably not . . . This Credit.com post may be useful to you in figuring it all out.
    Your Social Security Disability Income Is Probably Safe — for Now

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    This is a great question for your attorney, or perhaps the clerk of the court.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    That depends on your state’s laws. You’ll either have to consult and attorney or research it yourself. Generally, though, collectors know that getting a judgment is one thing: collecting it is another.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Are you sure it’s not on there? Have you checked your credit reports? The good news there is that the impact of delinquencies and judgments fade with time. In some cases, a creditor may agree to leave something off your credit report in exchange for payment, but that would be something you would want to get in writing before you paid. A creditor is not obligated to keep something off your credit report if it’s true. Here are some Credit.com resources that might be useful to you:
    free annual credit reports
    How Long Does Negative Info Stay on My Credit Report?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If the interest and court costs are legal then they can collect that and you won’t be able to get the judgment released and they may continue to try to collect. If you aren’t sure whether the charges are legal you can consult with a consumer law attorney, but I am not sure what other options you have. They have enormous leverage with the judgment against you.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Candy – Please talk with a bankruptcy attorney asap. They may well be able to go after the funds in your bank account and trying to recover them may be difficult if not impossible. The first consultation with a bankruptcy attorney is usually free.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It depends on state law and the type of debt. She may be right – but I would be nervous about trusting her on that!

  • David Brockman

    I have a judgement against me from 1995 in the state of alaska, I was never served papers, nor told I had a judgement. Now, almost twenty years later I am being summons to bring tax returns and bank statements for a judgement I did not know existed. I believe they are past the statute of limitations for taking action on a debt, which in alaska is ten years. Do you have any knowledge of Alaska law in this respect?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      David —
      We are not lawyers and can’t give you legal advice. But you are certainly right to question it. It’s never a good idea to ignore a summons, though. It seems reasonable that you might not have the documents they are requesting. You may find some useful information in this post:
      Does Your Old Debt Have an Expiration Date?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Good to know!

  • Chris

    I just found out I have a judgment against me from 9/5/1986. Is there a statue of limitations on a judgment?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Yes, but it is usually a long period of time in many states (20 years is not uncommon) and may be renewed. However, it would be a good idea for you to research it for your state to find out if this judgment expired and was not renewed.

  • Betty Haltom

    We have a judgement against us from a former Landlord, our last rent check bounced, and he kept trying to cash it, on the 6 months and 1 day past time that the check was written the Bank Cashed it and gave him the Money, We went to the Bank and because of the 6 mo. 1 day rule the Bank was made to return our Funds. Now the Former Landlord is trying to collect for this Check that was already included in our Judgement amount, Can he legally do anything since this is already a part of the Judgement? Isn’t that considered Double Dipping? I have a feeling he’s going to try and file through the District Attorney’s office for Hot Check and it would be a Felony since it is over $500.00? Can you tell me what I should do?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Betty – I suspect he can’t double dip but since I am not an attorney I don’t know exactly what the rules are. I’d suggest you either consult with a consumer law attorney, or if you can’t afford it, find a legal aid office in your area. There may also be housing agencies that can help you resolve this. Visit HUD.gov for a referral.

  • Noi

    Same situation with me…apparently they served me at the home address listed on the bill that I no longer lived at for over a year…smh So I had no clue as to where this garnishment had come from when they started it…when I told them they had the wrong person…they didn’t care, they only cared about it getting paid….

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    This is a tough one. We wrote about this problem in this article: How to Kill Zombie Judgments on Your Credit Report

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Noi – Can you post the amount of the judgment and the name of the judgment creditor (plaintiff that sued)? I can often offer more actionable feedback with those details.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Shellie – I found an article that may help: Arrow Financial Services closed.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Reggie – Check with an attorney in PA. Generally though, a judgment only gets filed once for a single case, and in some states can be renewed years later (often 10).

    Are you by chance referring to how often an attorney with a judgment can seek to levy your bank account, or something more akin to trying to collect on the judgment?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Is there a city housing authority you can talk to about your concerns?

    As far as the judgment, and legal advice about your options, you should run your situation by an experienced consumer law attorney. You may be able to get help from a low income legal aid office if you qualify. You can also look for an attorney with the experience you need at http://www.naca.net

  • Pat

    In 2005 my son got a used car loan from a credit union. He made payments and then received a clear title in the mail. So he stopped making payments and didn’t hear from the bank. Now he has been served papers to go to court regarding this. If he could get a copy of the title would this be proof in his favor?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      The first thing is that this has now become a legal matter. The lender or collection agency will no doubt be represented by an attorney. So even if your son is in the “right” he may fail to defend the lawsuit properly which could mean a judgment will be entered against him and face the problems I warned about in this article. So I think it would be wise for him to consult with a consumer law attorney.

      He made have a valid defense against this collection lawsuit. It may be too old. they may not be able to prove he owed the debt. it may be in error etc. I wrote about that in this article: Seven Ways To Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit

  • http://batman-news.com jodie

    once they get a jugdement againt you can they still bug you every day at work and home

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You need to talk with a consumer law attorney. You may have been improperly served and that may affect whether you can get the judgment vacated. Please visit NACA.net to find an attorney in your area who can advise you.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Maria – They will continue to call and see if they can convince you to pay. Once a month is not overly much. Do you take each of the calls?

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    D –
    We’re not lawyers, nor are we familiar with the laws of every state. You might want to call the Texas attorney general’s office to see if it can give you that information.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    You can call the attorney that sued you, the plaintiff that hired the attorney, and sometimes just show up and pay the clerk of the court.

    You can settle judgment debts for less than the balance owed. Realistic savings you target when negotiating can vary. One ingredient that will often go into your judgment settlement cake is how long it has been since entered in the court record.

    How old is the judgment? What type of debt was this? Who sued you? How poor is your credit right now?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    This is a tough one no doubt. What happened when the first company took you to court to get the judgment? Did you fail to appear in court? Once it’s been reduced to judgment it’s difficult to get it reversed (vacated). And as long as they have the court judgment they can try to collect that full amount plus any charges that have legally accrued. I am not an attorney and this is now a legal matter, but I think you’d be fighting quite a battle to get the judgment vacated. However, that doesn’t mean the new company may not be willing to settle in order to put it behind them. Judgments can be settled like other debts.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Business judgments are not reported on standard consumer reports so I assume you are talking about business credit reports. I would imagine it should be showing up on at least some business credit reports by now, but you may have to check with Experian Small Business, D&B and others to see how quickly they incorporate this data.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am sorry I don’t know enough about enforcing judgments to advise you. It sounds like you would have been better off with an attorney rather than a paralegal. But do keep in mind that many judgement creditors have a difficult time getting paid at all. The amount you are collecting may be better than trying to wring out a little more.

  • sonny

    I live in Texas. Today I recited a Notice of Judgement from the county clerk’s office saying that a creditor from over 5 years ago filled.

  • sonny

    But I was never served. Is this legal? What I mean is that this is the first time I’ve heard from the courts, nothing prior to this legal notice.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You should have been served, though exactly how that must take place depends on your state’s laws. I’d suggest you start by finding out what the requirements are in the state where the judgment was rendered. If you can’t find information online, contact your state attorney general’s office.

  • Robert

    Ok so here is the short version: Creditor won a court ordered judgement for $2500 on a $6600 balance, I was never a part of the process as I was never served, and was out of state by then. My wages were garnished (how I found out I had been sued and lost), and court ordered judgment has since been paid in full ($2500). My CR has been updated from $6600 due to $4100 (difference). The Collection agency says they still plan on getting the $4100. My question is, can they do this, or once the court ordered judgement is made, is that not the “settlement”? I understand if I agreed to pay a settlement of $2500, I could also negotiate to have them update the bureaus once satisfied, but isn’t the court ordered judgement essentially the same thing as a settlement? They wanted $6600, court awarded $2500, should the account not be satisfied at this point? Thanks!

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      The original collection reporting is different, and separate from what is showing as a result of the court action.

      Who is the collector you are dealing with?
      When was it you last paid the original creditor?
      What state are you in?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If you didn’t sign for the joint account and had no knowledge of the debt then it’s not your responsibility. However, to prove that you weren’t involved you may have to file an identity theft affidavit. (That’s essentially what it is when someone gets credit in your name without your knowledge.) That puts you in a very tricky position to say the least.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Unfortunately, you’re not the only one who has had trouble with the same debt being reported multiple times. This post, Credit Report Double Jeopardy Means Double Damage, addresses the problem and contains advice from lawyers about how to take care of it.

    Good luck, and please let us know what happens.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If the plaintiff did not properly serve you with the notice of the lawsuit then you may be able to get the judgment vacated. The procedure required to serve you can vary by jurisdiction. It’s recommended that you talk with a consumer law attorney. We wrote about that here: Help! I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report

  • Ann

    If someone has a judgement against me would this affect my ability to collect on a debt that someone else owes me?

  • Love

    I have a judgment against me and I am trying to see if I can make monthly installments if they tell me no I cant and want to settle with a lump sum that I won’t be able to afford what should I do?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You can only do what you can do. Have you consulted with a bankruptcy attorney? Telling them that you’ve spoken with a bankruptcy attorney and are trying to avoid having to file might get their attention! (Please do so, however, so at least you understand your options.)

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Not typically. If you share a joint bank account, though, all those funds may be at risk. A consumer law attorney can tell you for certain what they can and cannot do to collect. (It varies by state.)

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Oscar – we moderate and answer questions on weekdays. I don’t see your question on this post though…?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    I would encourage you to talk this whole situation over with a debt defense attorney. Most attorneys, with practices that focus on consumers rights in debt collection, offer a no cost initial consult. You can locate someone nearest you through http://www.naca.net.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am so sorry to hear of your stress and your losses Denise. You cannot go to jail just because you can’t pay your debt. But having a judgment entered against you can create some additional problems for you. I would recommend you talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney to at least find out what they can and cannot do to try to collect from you. Knowing your rights here should put your mind at ease.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If it is legitimate then they can take you to court and if they are successful may get a judgment.

    Please be very careful here. This could be a scam. Scam payday loan collectors often threaten to file a judgment. Insist they send you the notice of the debt in writing – it is your right – (snail mail not email) and do not feel pressured to pay anything over the phone. Please read our other articles on payday loan debt collection scams:
    7 Ways to Stop Debt Collection Scam Calls

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If it is legitimate then they can take you to court and if they are successful may get a judgment.

    Please be very careful here. This could be a scam. Scam payday loan collectors often threaten to file a judgment. Insist they send you the notice of the debt in writing – it is your right – (snail mail not email) and do not feel pressured to pay anything over the phone. Please read our other articles on payday loan debt collection scams:
    7 Ways to Stop Debt Collection Scam Calls

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Kim –

    Please talk with a consumer law attorney. You are being sued for this debt and if you fail to respond properly they may get a judgment against you, which can complicate your financial life. If you can’t afford one, find out if there is a legal aid office or clinic in your area which can help you respond.

  • kayla ashley

    I had a judgment last december and i was completely unaware of this, i never recieved any papers, i wasnt even living where the sent these papers but they won by default. Isnt this illegal?? What can i do about this? -Kayla

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      It is possible that you were not properly served with the notice of the lawsuit. That absolutely does happen. However, the procedure required varies by state. Either way you’ll likely need to talk with a consumer law attorney familiar with debt collection lawsuits in your state. You can find one at NACA.net. The first consultation will likely be free.

  • Mona1992

    I had a BK Chapter #13 is 2011 where my vehicle loan was included. The Finance Co wasn’t too happy with that and ended up going to court to fight the judges orders on the BK which they ended up loosing their fight. One year later my case was dismissed due to my employer furloughing me and that made me no longer qualify for the payment plan under the BK Ch.13.

    My BK case was dismissed in Dec. 4 2012 and right as this happened I received several calls from the car finance company. They wanted me to pay $2,000+ to keep the vehicle plus continue to pay them the regular stipulated amount from the initial contract – due to the federal protection lift after the case dismissal. I was ok going back to the initial payment which was really high but I first wanted to know why they wanted $2k and where the payments that the Trustee sent to this company had been applied. I wanted to make sure that I was well aware of where the account stood and they refused to provide that. Because I didn’t have the $2k they wanted they came after me at work and repossessed the vehicle from my job site. After that, I never heard anything else but I did receive a letter from them telling me they’re intentions to sell the car.

    It is now June 2014 and I just had my credit report pulled from the finance company. I sent a letter requesting a reason why they pulled it and they send me back a copy of my signed vehicle purchase contract stating that I approved for them to do so at any time (or they say so). The letter also said that they tried reaching me with no success – although they have my correct work and home address since I have never moved – and that “we” (the finance company and I) have a court date scheduled for July 30th at the Superior Court. They state that due to not being able to contact me they pulled a credit report as a normal collection effort process. This of course is the first I hear of this court date. I am not sure if its a judgement meeting, but I’m guessing it is.. I have read information (in this site) of judgements and I’m getting ready to call the clerk’s office to get information on this meeting date, but I want to ask, shouldn’t I be served first? why don’t I have any documentation letting me know about this court date? I also want them to provide me with the summary of the account as I never got that from them.. Can I just call them and request it? I am afraid I will do something wrong and regret it later this is why I need your advice. I will be seeking a Attorney for legal advise but I feel anxious I need to know why it is that the account went from 5k after the sale of the car to $7k+. Finally, I read that they can garnish my wages up to 25% but I have 3 children that fully depend on me and I’m a single parent. I also support my 80-yr old mother who lives with me and I barely make it – which is why I ended up filing for a BK to start with.. I don’t know that I can survive if 25% of my check is taken out. Please help/advise. Thanks.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Mona – Was an attorney representing you in your bankruptcy? Is there a reason why he or she could not convert your case to Chapter 7? Is it possible to file Chapter 7 now? At any rate, it is entirely possible that additional costs were added to the debt but that doesn’t mean they were legitimate. And since you owe them this debt they are likely allowed to pull your credit reports. The real question is now whether you can find a way to resolve this without a judgment, and if you can’t what will happen if they get one. Unfortunately I can’t answer those questions as specifically as you need since it depends on state law and the individual circumstances of your situation.

      • Mona1992

        Gerri,

        Thanks so much for your reply. First of, I apologize for not being that detailed – was trying to avoid writing a book on here – I am in California. As for your question as to “if I had an Attorney” for my BK. The answer is yes, the firm filed the Chapter 13 bk for me and then when it was dismissed they pretty much didn’t want to hear much from me, in fact after I paid them for the case filing they pretty much didn’t want to be bothered – each time I called with a question they’d be short, rude, and sometimes didn’t even answer me back :/

        At that time I ended up going to another Attorney for help and this one just ended up taking $500 and did nothing. Luckily after reading information on here I was able to recuperate that money back from him after using the information obtained here and 1-year later I received a reimbursement from him.

        So to get back to my case – I had a different Attorney review my case – two of them to be exact – and my situation is this: I was going to convert my Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 but after the 1.5yrs went by there was an increase in my home value. The total debt I had was about $40k and the home has an equity of approximately $90k. Therefore, both Attorney’s said that it wouldn’t be a good idea to file a Chapter 7 as the court could very possibly ask/force me to sell the home and then pay the creditors to clear everything out. Needless to say, being the single parent and not receiving child support, I wasn’t about to let my home go as it was beyond hard to even be able to purchase my home. I was left with the recommendation to try to work with creditors to pay back the amount due and every since (Sept. 2013) I’m stuck, afraid, and felt hopeless and I have no clue what to do now. I knew sooner or later something like this would come up but I was praying it didn’t.. Obviously, not being sued by at least one creditor was too much to pray for.. :/ I just need guidance.. I know that out of all my creditors this vehicle finance company was the only one to put a fight with my chapter 13 bk initially so I knew they were going to come back after me.

        • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

          Thanks for explaining this. Makes sense now. It sounds like you are either going to have to settle these debts, fight the lawsuits and/or just deal with the judgment when it happens. But you probably already knew that.

          All is not lost. You may have a defense against this lawsuit. Seven Ways To Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit

          Are you in Southern or Northern California?

          • Mona1992

            I live in Southern California.. Is there a difference? Well, honestly I figured the answer wouldn’t be a nice one :( but I was hoping that there was something else that could be done.. I feel a bit intimidated by court and judgements and stuff since this is all new to me and I have never had these types of issues.. :/ Again Gerri thanks so much for the information. I guess I’ll just have to go and stand before a judge and hope for the best after preparing for that date.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    We talked about getting a judgment vacated in this article: Help! I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You need to talk with your own consumer law attorney to find out whether the judgment creditor acted legally.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Interest may be added to the judgment if your state laws allow it. You may want to contact your state attorney general’s office for more information.

  • Harvey Stoner

    Hi. My son who is a minor is a judgment debtor on a court restitution order. I am not and neither is my wife. The creditor has put my name on its invoices as judgment debtor, threatens to start collection proceedings and report me to the credit reporting agencies.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Unfortunately if they have already obtained a judgment that means you have already been sued and the court has determined you must repay the creditor. Hopefully the advice in this article will be helpful in that situation.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Don – Not sure what your question is…how can we help?

  • Fiona Adams

    I have a civil claim judgement against me which they tried to garnish my wages for, however, I do not make enough for them to do so. On my credit report it says this will be on record till Apr 2016, which will be ten yrs. I live in Illinois and from what I read the statute is 10 yrs, will this go away?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      It depends on what you mean by go away. It sounds like it will come off your credit reports in ten years. (Judgments can be reported for seven years if paid, or until the statute of limitations expires if unpaid.) But in many states judgments can be renewed. So it is possible that could happen. If they are successful they may still try to collect from you.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It’s possible they misled you about the status of the debt if you were making payments. I’d suggest you either talk with a consumer law attorney or file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (I’d lean toward the former – visit NACA.net for a referral.)

  • dpavlako

    Of course it is. All they have to do is send it to someones LAST KNOWN address – it really isn’t there responsibility to track you down. Additionally, most courts will accept that if something is put in the US Mail that it is delivered. What the reciever does with it after it is delivered is up to the reciever – not the mailer.

    I’m not a fan of collection agencies, but that is really all that is required. It really wouldn’t be fair to put the burden on them to track down everyone they are sending something to. Most people who don’t pay their bills also move a lot. And I’m sure somewhere in the contract you signed there is a clause that you will notify them of any address changes.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Tracking down those receipts are the best things you can do to resolve the situation. But in the absence of those, it’s a good idea for her to talk with her attorney who may have some suggestions. If the attorney can’t help, she could try filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Where do you live in Florida? If you are on the Gulf Coast please contact Gulf Coast Legal Services asap. They have excellent attorneys who will try to help. If you live elsewhere in the state try this directory of Legal Aid offices. You are probably “judgment proof” and I think you are going to feel a lot better if you get advice from an attorney. (The collectors threats may have been illegal by the way. If they are you may be entitled to damages.)

    If you can’t find a legal aid office that will talk with you then visit NACBA to find a consumer bankruptcy attorney. You should be able to get a free consultation to ask the attorney your questions.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I would suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney/ bankruptcy attorney to find out whether the amount they say you owe is correct. It’s one thing for a debt to increase, but for it to quadruple makes me wonder if the charges are legit.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    That seems like a very large increase. Whether it’s legal depends on state law and the extra charges they have added. I’d suggest you consult a consumer law attorney to find out whether they are trying to collect more than they are legally entitled to collect.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I’d suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney. If you were not properly served it may be possible to get the judgment vacated but that’s hard to do without legal advice. Visit NACA.net to find a consumer law attorney in your area.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Seriously? The printer broke? She needs to talk with a manager.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    This sounds risky. I’d suggest you send them a certified letter stating your agreement and your understanding that you will not be sued if you meet the terms of the agreement. Keep a copy for your records. Then keep careful records of each payment.

    However I am concerned that they are roping you into payments with this vague statement that payments will have to increase in the future. I don’t think that’s a great approach. They may just be trying to extend the statute of limitations – which happened when you paid them the $200. How much do you owe? How long ago was the repo?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Sure – that would be a good idea. How long he has to file the documentation that the judgment has been satisfied depends on state law. You may want to contact the court or your state attorney genera’s office to find out.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Are you selling the house? The lien will have to be paid off out of the proceeds of the sale. If you are not selling the house then I’d suggest you check with an estate planning attorney to find out whether a sale could be forced to satisfy the lien.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Our condolences for your loss.

    Are you planning on selling the house? If so then the lien will likely have to be paid from the proceeds of the sale. If you aren’t planning on selling then I recommend you consult an estate planning attorney asap to find out whether a sale could be forced to satisfy the lien.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    So sorry you’ve had so much trouble with this! What did the bankruptcy attorney say? What do you mean you paid your attorney $1500 and they fled with the money? Have you considered filing a complaint with your bar association.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Your employment status doesn’t matter. Do they have a judgment against you or are you just falling behind? (And is this a credit union by chance?)

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler
  • Suzie Heelen Primack

    I have a judgement against me, in oregon for a credit card Midland funding…never lived in oregon

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Judgments aren’t always updated with payment information but it probably won’t matter much as far as your score is concerned. A judgment is considered negative whether it is paid or unpaid. But once it is paid you want to get it updated to reflect that so it will no longer be reported after 7 years (from the date the judgment was entered by the court). Unpaid judgments may be reported for a much longer period of time.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Lulu – I am sorry but this question requires legal advice which we’re not able to provide. Perhaps a legal aid office in your area may be able to help.

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