Sued on a credit card debt. Can I negotiate settlement on a judgment?

One of my credit cards I fell behind with sued me and has a judgment.

Can you settle credit card judgements like other debts


The short answer to your question is – YES! CRN does assist in settling debts like credit cards where there was a lawsuit and then a judgment entered against you. Settlements can be negotiated at all stages of the collection cycle.


There are challenges to settling credit card debts that have reached the lawsuit and judgment stage.


Before I address the challenges, I want to point out that the best time to settle credit card debts is before a lawsuit is filed, and even before the account is placed with a debt collection attorney.



While this may not be instructive to your judgment debt, you may have additional credit card debts that have gone unpaid and I want you to be aware of the following:

  • Settling a debt with your original creditor (the bank you had the credit card with) after having missed a few payments is not only possible, but in your best interest. In fact, reaching settlement early will often achieve the best savings result when negotiating is done correctly.
  • You may end up with credit cards that are charged off and placed with outside collection companies. This is the next best (sometimes the best) opportunity to settle a credit card account you could no longer afford to keep payments current.
  • If your overdue credit card account lands in a collection attorney’s office, you can still settle the debt before any court action is filed, or at a minimum, negotiate favorable payment terms.

There is a science to navigating the collection stages I briefly outlined above. Timing, balances, who your credit card debts are owed to, and your ability to come up with the money needed to settle the debts – all will affect the strategic design of which account to settle with first, second, third etc…. It is important to have a plan to follow if you want to systematically and successfully settle debts and save the most money in the process. CRN is excellent in assisting people in this regard.


If you want to learn about how to settle your debts no matter what stage of collection you are in, we just launched a ton of resource pages to help you. Check out this link to the debt settlement section of our free online Debt Relief Program.


If you are floating out there with several unpaid credit card accounts with no real financial resources to handle the situation, or a plan for doing so, you owe it to yourself to learn if you would be better off filing for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy before a lawsuit is filed, or now that a judgment exists.


The primary ingredient found in any debt settlement recipe whether there is a judgment or not is; money. If you have enough of this ingredient you need to be aware that:


Collecting on credit card judgments can be challenging too.


A judgment is just a piece of paper. It’s the court sponsored enforcement of that piece of paper that is the problem. You could end up with liens placed against your real property, your bank account levied and wages garnished directly from your employer. There are even instances where a sheriff can show up to take a look around at your “stuff” and inventory personal items that can be taken to satisfy a judgment (this happens, but relatively rarely).


Judgment debt, whether past due credit card bills, personal loans, medical bills and other debts, are easier to negotiate and settle while maximizing your percentage of savings results if:

  • A bank account to levy cannot be found because one in your name does not exist, or does exist but is maintained with little money in it;
  • If a w-2 wage source cannot be located to garnish and;
  • Where there is no real property to lien, or where the lien is filed, but has been in place for some time and remains unpaid.

The one thing you can control is whether you have a bank account with your name attached. If you do keep a bank account open, realize most bank levies are attempted at the beginning, middle and end of the month – when you are most likely to have deposited a pay check, or other money to cover bills.


If you have sources of funds electronically deposited, you may want to elect to have paper checks issued to you until the credit card  judgment debt is resolved.


The lien on property will generally not involve forcing the sale of the property in order to satisfy the judgment.


You should look to resolve the judgment prior to selling the home or refinancing.


Wage garnishment is a major concern. Once your wages are attached, the creditor has little reason to work with you at resolving the debt for less because they will continue to get paid unless:

  • You prove you meet garnishment exemptions in your state
  • You leave that job
  • You satisfy the judgment

Warning: Your credit card judgment debt grows!


Interest is accumulated at the rate set by the court, or the maximum allowed by law in your state for judgment debt. While you may be able to be creative in how you avoid paying the judgment you must realize that the balance of the judgment is increasing.


If you are struggling with overdue bills and other expenses and are unable to come up with a plan to get rid of the judgement or lawsuit through a negotiated settlement or payment terms you can afford, the fact that the debt is increasing should concern you. Stop and consider what your options to resolve the credit card judgment will look like next year. The year after that.


Warning: Judgments have a “Best Collected By” date, but can be renewed!


Judgments have a shelf life with a time frame specific to your state. Most states allow for a judgment to be renewed prior to expiration. For many, this is a ten year time line and renewal allows for an additional 10 years. That’s a 20 year shelf life!


Identify all resources you can tap to fund a settlement offer or payment plan successfully. If you cannot reasonably come up with the money to settle the debt, or make payments after reaching agreeable terms, look to bankruptcy to stop a bank levy, wage garnishment or lien on property.


Those are the unfortunate realities.


As mentioned prior – It is always best to put a plan together to address delinquent debts before a judgment becomes the concern and you are forced into crisis mode. If you have other debts, you can still put a plan together that includes resolving the judgment too, but it is important to not waste any time in doing so.


If you want assistance in putting a plan together to settle debts, including judgment debt, or debts placed with debt collectors or collection attorneys, call the debt relief hotline at 800-939-8357, and choose an option that best suits your needs (settlement is option 2). Your call will be connected with a professional for a no cost consultation.


If you have a question about your specific situation scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page and post it in the comment section.

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  1. Troy Donato says:

    I have been unemployed for three years and have accumulated may be three judgements (one is paid off) and may be a couple of other inpaid credit card debts. I have now secured two jobs totaling 200K in base pay plus commissions and need immediate help in putting a plan together to settle my debt as soon as possible. I can begin making payments as soon as next month. HELP!!!!!!!

    • Hi Troy,

      Feel free to contact CRN direct by dialing 800-939-8357 then press ext. 3 to connect with a specialist who can discuss your situation with you.
      You can also fill out and submit the short contact us box found in the right column of this page. Once that form is received a specialist will reach out to you using the phone number and email you provided.

      • I just received a default judgement in ga from my credit card. The amount is about 11,000. I didn’t ignore the the paperwork I was given. I sent a reply within 30 days before this happened. I asked to get a trial by jury. The sent me some info, but I never received anything showing court dates. Now I get a default judgement. Help I’m worried the will freeze my checking account? How can they do this and why wasn’t I told of a court date? Help please thanks

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Aubrey – One of 2 things appears to happened.

          1. You were not copied on important motions and hearing dates. Which would need to be addressed with the court.

          2. You did not fully understand the court procedures, did not properly follow them, and a default or summary judgment was entered.

          The best thing you can do right now would be to consult with a consumer attorney, one with debt collection defense experience. Run your scenario by him/her and see what can be done from here. If you want help locating one, send an email reply to the comment notification with the name of a nearby city and I will email back contact info.

          Were you following a book, or website, for how to represent your case yourself?
          What was your goal for this debt, settle it, try to get it dismissed?

          • michael need your advice just recieved a warrant in debt for $1,200 can i still settle it with out going to court who do i need to call? thanks..roland

            • Michael Bovee says:

              roland – You would contact the attorney suing and negotiate a payoff amount with them. Be sure to get any arrangement you make to settle in writing before remitting the payment.

          • Hi Michael,
            Can you please provide some informaiton for a Consumer Attorney near Riverside Illinois? Also do you know what the attorney fees cost?

            • Michael Bovee says:

              I sent you an email with a few attorneys info. All of them have the experience you want in order to defend against a debt collector in court.

              What attorneys charge for this type of work will vary. Some charge a percentage of the amount you are being sued for, and some charge a flat rate. Flat rate works better for many of the people I speak with after the fact.

          • Can you please provide some informaiton for a Consumer Attorney near Casper wy? Also do you know what the attorney fees cost

            • Michael Bovee says:

              I do not have anything I can refer to directly. You may want to connect with an attorney network that helps consumers with collection issues like Hyslip and Taylor, or see if you can get Wyoming attorney listings at to work for you (I got errors trying to find someone in WY).

      • Hello
        I’m in a complicated situation. Today I received a letter from my job stating that my wages will be garnished. In the letter they sent it was dated for October 14,2014. In the copy that was sent to them it was dated for September 26, 2014. I just got the letter today and the first garnishment has already appeared on my next pay check which is October 24, 2014. The debt is for a credit card with a balance of $3,550. They are taking 25% out of my check, net before taxes is 1377 after taxes is 997 and with the garnish it’s 743 every two weeks, which I can survive off. I call the company unified ccr llc, they said they couldn’t do anything because there has already been a judgment. I was wondering if I could call the attorney is see if I could work a pay off payment. Is that possible? What are my options? Thanks in advance.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Many of your options to resolve the debt are outlined in the article above, and throughout the comments on this page. But I can add that Unifund CCR is not known for its fairness when settling judgment debts. Not unless they have had the judgment for a while and efforts to collect fail.

          You will want to contest the judgment, and if it will cause an undo hardship on you and your family, you may be able to get the garnishment lowered, or even be found exempt for now. If Unifund is unable to garnish, they will become more reasonable to settle with.

          Is there any way you can pull together money to settle in a lump sum amount with them?

      • i have a medical bill that was entered as a judgement after i fell ill while i was in college in another state back in 2010. i recently tried contacting the hospital but was informed to call the lawyer office, is there anyway to get them to settle for 1/3 of the amount? on my report it shows one amount but they told me an increased amount. I’m soo confused and just need some help with this issue to resolve it

        • Judgement in Al but I reside now in Ga

          • Michael Bovee says:

            It is possible to settle judgment debts that low, but it is not all that common.

            Do you have any other debts in collection showing on your credit reports, and if so how many?

            How many positive credit report items do you have showing as being paid on time?

            Debt collectors view your credit reports as source to determine how collectable you look.

            • Hi, I can’t decide whether it would be more beneficial for me to go to court or not. I got served in February for a debt that was closed in 2010, last payment was feb 2010 and that was trying to “settle” with the credit card company (Citibank) as prior to that since 2007-2009 very few if any payments were made. I got the credit card in college,
              What can I say, I was young and dumb. Past few years I’ve tried cleaning up all my mistakes from when I was in my early 20′s. I had thought the debt was time barred (6 years is statute of limitations in New York) so I answered the summons from the debt collect (unifund llc- lawyers mullooly, Jeffrey, Rooney and Flynn llc out of Long Island) to provide information showing what amount was owed and last payment received as i heard that often times paper trail is lost of the years, well lucky me they had all the record that showed last payment was feb 2010 which I naturally don’t remember since it was 5 years ago but I’m sure I did. So now a court date has been set up. Balance of debt is $2,769.89 I do have the money to try to pay this in a lump sum if they can reduce it to less than $2,000. I just want this done with and do not want to make small payments for years and years and plus my income is good. My mother thinks i shouldn’t call to negotiate due to often shady harassment tactics they will probably try to use and she thinks I should just go to the court date as she’s thinking they won’t even show up (I live at least 6-8 hours away from where lawyers are located) however I am nervous that I may end up worse off going to court. My court date is next week so I need to figure this out. Do you think it would be more beneficial to try to settle out of court or in court? And of course even if I settle out of court I will get it all in writing before making any payments and as I do NOT want them to get any banking info from me is a money order the best way to pay? Thank you for any help, I don’t know what to do.

              • Michael Bovee says:

                Why not try both? You could try to negotiate the pay off amount you can afford before the appearance in court, and if you cannot reach an agreement, try in front of the judge.

                Money orders issued by your bank, and from your own bank account are fine. That leaves you with an easily accessible paper trail of your payment amount, date of, and date cleared. Any other type of money order can create headaches if you ever need to show proof of payment if something comes up later on.

                They may send a local attorney, as 6 to 8 hours is a bit far to travel for one account. This can work for and against you in the court room.
                Citibank has historically kept some of the best records and made those available to debt buyers like Unifund Partners that I can recall (since I started paying attention in the late 90′s).
                Have you ever run your situation by an experienced debt collection defense attorney?

  2. I have a judgement in the State of NC. The lawyer issued me another judgement. The original amount is $8,000 with interest it’s now over 29,000. I have contacted the lawyers office they said they will not settle with me. I wanted them to drop the interest and a couple of thousand off of the $8,000.

  3. Michael Bovee says:

    Cheryl – Can you give some more details about your comment? Having a balance inflate by nearly 300% is a bit out of the norm.
    Who was the original debt owed to? What type of account was it?
    When did you last make a payment to the original creditor?
    When was the judgement entered? What is the name of the law firm who sued you?
    Do you currently live in NC?
    Do you own property? If you do, has there been a lien placed on the property in an effort to collect on the judgement?

    If you can answer the questions above, I may be able to give you more detailed feedback.

  4. This credit card company who has a $5400.00 judgement agaist me has issued me a credit card.. now how strange is that.. I am legally blind and 7 yrs ago i was forces to retire.. I had to default on a credit card( cap one) They sued me with a summary judgement, My attorny was shocked we lost. They never proved they owned the debt. So april of 2011 the judgement was placed.. I own a home but on SSDI.. I can never afford to pay this off,, I have a credit card that Capital one is buying out and they are issueing me a new card? And even though I have a judgement my FICO score is 761!! Is it wrong for a credit card that has a judgement against me Issue me an account,, To me that says they forgive me!!

  5. Michael Bovee says:

    Is the card formerly an HSBC card? Capital One acquired the portfolio and is probably sending you a replacement card branded to them.
    It is not wrong for them to issue you the card. I would not even consider it an oversight – where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Credit cards get issued to people with judgments all the time. Even ones that are unresolved.
    I would not go so far as to say they forgive you. If they were that forgiving they would not be the most active filer of credit card collection lawsuits in many counties across the US.

  6. I just received a call from a debt collector. they are telling me that i had a judgement from discover in 2007. the original amount was 7000. and now is 22000. She said the judgement was just renewed. I lost my job and my home. She said that she can take my car (which I lease) is this true?

  7. Michael Bovee says:

    I am always skeptical of debt collectors who start off with threats of taking your stuff.
    Lets get to the bottom of whats happening here.
    Did you have a discover account you stopped paying prior to 2007?
    If so, were you ever served a lawsuit?
    What county did you live in in 2007? Check that county court for a court action in your name. If you locate a case, lets analyze what you find. You will want to look for whether a process server filed who, how and where you were served the lawsuit. Is there any truth to how that happened i.e. the address for service is one you never lived at, have not lived at since 2005 etc.
    There will be more to review, but lets start with whether you can locate the case.

    You don’t own a leased car. They would have no ability to take something from you that you do not own. Threats of this nature may in fact violate fair debt collection laws in your state as well as federal laws.
    Take notes of everything that occurred during this collection call. What number called you, time, day, what was said, by whom.
    Did the collector say who they worked for? You will want that info.
    It would be a good idea to connect with an attorney experienced with helping consumers who get abused by debt collectors. Judgment, or no judgment, you should not be victimized with empty threats.
    What state are you in?

  8. I live in Ct since 2004. The card was issued in 2001. I couldnt afford to pay it since 2007. They are calling from Nassau County ny

  9. Michael Bovee says:

    Okay. I still want you to verify that a judgement exists and how you were served etc. Unless of course, you recall being served the lawsuit and did not respond to it and they ended up with a default judgment.

    CT has a statutory cap on judgment interest of 10% which would make it impossible for your debt to grow from a 7k judgment to 22k. There are states that allow money judgments to grow at the default credit card interest rate, but I found nothing in my research that shows CT is one of them. Even if that were the case, the math still would not add up to 22k.

    Please learn what you can from the court and let’s take it from there.
    I found 6 attorneys with FDCPA experience in CT. If you would like, I will email you a list of them.

  10. The card was an HSBC… Anyway, I have no ablity to pay the judgement, They have yet to contact me after 17 mo after they were awarded the judgenent,, I know they pulled me credit report and most likely saw that I am disabled(legally blind).. I figure if they try to force sale my home which i am underwater by $30,000.00 I will file Chapter 7.. The judgement for some reason has not effected my credit score it’s 761 on equafax. It shows the public record on there.. cant figure that out.. I have heard though usually debt collectors like fredrick hanna and associates will not go after homes cause it cost alot is that true?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I have been at this kind of thing for nearly 20 years. I have never seen a credit card judgment end up with any effort to force the sale of a home. Especially if the home is underwater. That would mean the judgment creditor would spend a good amount of money to get zero back since the mortgage would be paid off first. I have no concern for your home being at risk.

      I do want you to be aware of the bank levy concern with a judgment I mention in the above article. Your SSDI cannot be attached or garnished at the source, but that money in your account is at risk if it is mingled with other sources of deposits.

      The credit report showing a credit card judgment as recent as 18 months ago would normally have a BIG affect on your credit score. I would expect your credit score to have dropped lower than what it is. That said, if you have no other negative stuff on your credit report, and a deep, positive and diverse credit history, the judgment would not have too large an impact and would diminish over time.

  11. I have a wage garnishment against me and I recently became unemployed. If my creditors choose to issue a bank levy against me, how long will that take? Also what if I have more than one bank account, can they freeze all?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      No paycheck means no garnishment to collect on the judgment. It could take a few days to a few weeks for the judgment creditor to be aware of this change of events.

      It is probably best for you to assume your bank accounts are at risk of levy from the judgment right now and plan accordingly.

      Are any of the accounts joint with a spouse? Remove your name from the account.
      Operate as much as you can from a cash basis until you can resolve the judgment.
      Without the garnishment the judgment creditor may be more reasonable with you about setting up a payment that you can afford monthly, or settling for a reduced balance. Keep that in mind.

  12. We had set up a checking account in someone else’s name so I am good there..thanks

  13. Hi – I am in Nebraska and currently being sued by Gurstel Chargo(Capital One Credit Card for $500.00) I have just missed the window to answer the summons. I had written to the atty requesting a pmt plan, explaining my dire situation. Last week I received a huge packet of Interrogatories, with a cover letter stating that if I wish to resolve this without further litigation to call them. Here is my current situation: I work as a farmhand “under the table”, so there is no employer, I have no bank accounts, no car, no telephone, and rent my house…in which the lease is in my girlfriends name. I literally don’t even have $10 to my name. What is my next step? Do I attempt some sort of a settlement plan with no money at the moment, do I need to answer the interrogatories, or just bury my head in the sand and see what happens? Thanks for any advice!

  14. Oh – The credit card was used 2 times in June 2011 (The limit was only $300) as I paid the power company + water bills…the rest is interest and addl charges. Thanks

  15. Michael Bovee says:

    You can only do what you can do. Right now that is likely nothing. You should not agree to any payment plan unless you are confident you can follow through with it from start to finish. That does not sound possible for you right now.
    Without a timely answer, or even one submitted late, they court will likely grant default judgment.
    How and if you should respond to the interrogatories is a question best answered by an attorney practicing in Nebraska. Have you reached out to a low income legal aid office? Your finances suggest to me you would qualify for legal assistance.
    The balance is going to balloon from attorney fees. The balance will continue to grow at the legal interest rate allowed in Nebraska.
    You can come at this a few different ways when you have the financial ability.
    1. Set up payment arrangements when you are in a position to do so Be sure the payments you are making are enough to make a dent in the balance, and not an amount so low that it is only being applied to the interest on the judgment.
    2. Save up money over time, or tap a resource of money large enough, and settle the debt for less than the amount sought now, or later after the judgment is obtained.

    Given the detail you provided, this may just have to run its course. You can pick up the issue when you are better prepared financially.

    You do not have real exposure to enforcement of the judgment if you work under the table, don’t bank traditionally, and have nothing for them to attach.

  16. Just wanted to thank you for the swift reply – So informative and made me breathe easier…thanks again!

  17. Hi- I am i am in missouri, I had a installment loan through a company like a payday loan that charges extremly high interest it was 255 daily interest rate. I defaulted on the loan that was 1500.00 It was then turned over to a debt collection attorney and they sued for 2217.00, I made payment arrangements with the attorney before the court date and made the mistake of not going to the court date. I made my first payment of 800 and then was to pay 200.00 a month. I was not able to make the 200 payment so the attorney started garnishing my wages. After 2 years of this, I could not understand why the amount was not going down, so I went to get the paperwork on the judgement from the court only to find out it had a 99.99 percent interest rate a year. I didn’t think that was legal on a judgement but have been told they can charge the contract rate if they want to and they acted like they were doing me a favor by charging this amount instead. I cannot continue to keep this judgement at this amount of interest, I have paid well over the 2217.00 that the judgement amount was for. I would like to settle this but it is at 3800 now and I do not have near that amount of money or can I come up with it, I am not able to get a loan, do you think they would settle for 1200 or do have any other recourse other than to fill bankruptcy?

  18. Michael Bovee says:

    The interest cap on judgment debt like yours in Missouri is 9%. There are some states that allow for contract interest rate after judgment. I am not certain if Missouri is one of them. I only briefly researched whether judgment debt in Missouri can exceed 9% before responding. I found nothing definitive, but did peruse 2 Missouri Supreme court decisions referencing the 9% cap.
    You should not believe a word a debt collection outfit tells you. Speak with a consumer advocate attorney in your area who has a practice that focuses on defending consumers against debt collectors. Often enough, these types of attorneys provide initial consults for free.
    What is your zip code? I will help you locate one.
    If interest is capped at 9% on your judgment debt, it would appear you have already paid it off. If not, and that absolutely ridiculous amount of interest is legal and was approved by the court, I would like to speak with you further and work with you to expose this for what it is – a travesty.
    Settling the judgment is possible, but lets dig deeper first.

  19. Hello
    I am considering a strategic default, I had about 6 credit cards with extremely low rates from 1.99% to 5.99% I just transfered them all to a card that i kept getting offer on (no interest until july 2013 and then 7.99%. I decidded to trasnfer everything together to that one card totaling $56,000.00. I want to stop paying it and negotiate as much as 90% off . do you think that is possible

  20. Michael Bovee says:

    Settling for 90% off (10% of the balance) is unlikely in most situations. When settlement savings that large occur it is situational in the extreme. So, don’t set expectations that high.

    Furthermore, you have probably shot yourself in the foot. Most banks have policies for how settlements are offered (at what rate of savings etc.), based on account activity and other minutia. Recent balance transfers are one criteria credit card issuers take exception to. Some banks wont offer settlement at all on an account profile you just briefly described. Some will settle, but at 40%, 60% or higher. Many of these bank internal protocols require normal payments for 12, 24 months or longer in order to clear recent activity flags they set.

    No, I do not think what you are suggesting is possible.

  21. Hi,
    I had a discover card back in 2007 with a limit of $1000 that went in to collections and they took me to court. I was like 19 at the time so i didn’t take it seriously and didn’t respond to the lawsuit filed. There was a judgment and now i recently had a garnishment go into effect. I owe $2260 now and they took $400 from my check which will make it difficult to pay my rent. I have a way to come up with the total to settle, but i need some assistance on how to make sure i go about it properly. I’m going to borrow the money, but i want to make sure it gets handled properly. Is there any way to pay less than is totally owed at this point? What should i do to make sure they stop the garnishment and the payment is reflected on my credit report? Its through Fred Hanna & Associates and I’m in GA.

  22. Michael Bovee says:

    It is difficult to negotiate a reduction of the judgment payoff when there is a garnishment in place. Their thinking they will be paid in full as long as you are at that job. Settling for less than the balance on a judgment when being garnished can and does happen. Just be prepared to pay more in the settlement than would have been the case without the garnishment. If you need help, call and talk to us. The number is on the screen.

    As for your credit report, the damage is done. It sounds like there is a charge off from Discover dating back to 2007. That should come off sometime in 2014 or early 2015. That charge off is fairly old and has lost some of its credit report sting at this point. The judgment in the personal records side of your credit report will be there for 7 years from the date entered, if its showing now. What you will need to be sure of is that Frederick J Hanna and Associates files a satisfaction of judgment with the court upon settling the judgment.

  23. Thank you so much for your prompt response!

  24. Hello,
    I have a capital one credit card that I have not paid on in over a year. Just shy of two weeks ago I received a summons and complaint that I am being sued. The amount I owe on the card is $,1889.05. I know that I have to file a answer to the lawsuit within 21 days of me being served. Here is my question. I would like to try and work out a settlement so the case does not go to court. Here is the catch . I do not have enough cash laying around or have enough left over each pay week to pay off what I owe in just a couple of payments. I could make a payment of maybe $200-$300 upfront and than do weekly or monthly payment plans after that.What should I do? I admit that I owe the full amount. I would just like to keep from having to go to court and from my wages being garnished.Help !! I live in Michigan of that helps.

  25. Michael Bovee says:

    One way for you to avoid court and the potential judgment that could lead to garnishment and levy is to negotiate a payment plan with the collection law firm suing you. You will not be able to work with Capital One. They will refer you back to the attorney suing you.
    The attorney will likely agree to a payment plan, but may insist you sign a consent to judgment. This would mean if you miss a scheduled payment, you have already waived all defenses and admit to the debt. The consent would then allow them to pursue collection of the judgment through any legal means.
    In this effort you are unlikely to be settling for any lower payoff amount. You are just making payments on the full amount. One thing you can and should shoot for is no interest be applied to the agreement.
    Do you have any other unpaid credit card debts out there?

    • Hi I just got a summons for a credit I owe money do think I can make a payment plan with the original creditor without having to go to court or do I have to contact their lawyer to do that

      • Michael Bovee says:

        Once sued, it is near certain you will have to communicate with the collection attorney’s office to set up payments, or otherwise resolve the debt.

        Going at lawsuits with payments can often mean consenting to a judgment. That could mean that appears on your credit reports. Are you okay with that? Are you inclined to try to prevent that from happening?

  26. Hello,
    I am currently being sued by capital one for $940. My question to you is if I go to my court day will they give me payment plans or automatically set up garnishment? Also, I am not employed or have nothing to my name but a bank account that I share with my husband. Can they come after him for my wrong doing that was done before we were married. I live in Indiana now but card was taken out when I was young and lived in Illinois. Please help.. Thanks.

  27. I have been filed a judgement due to an outstanding debt. Before the judgement I was making payments of $100 to $125.00 per month. If I could come up with $4900.00 they would wipe the rest of the balance off. I have offered them $2000.00, plus $100.00 to $150.00 per month until I get my taxes done and will offer them a settlement at that time. The attornys office is not sure if at that time if $1000.00 would be enough to close the file or not. My question is, if they do not accept that $1000.00, will they come after me with another judgement at that time, or will they let me continue making payments on the account.

  28. Michael Bovee says:

    In order to get a garnishment they would have to get a judgment. If you don’t show up for a court date, they will most likely get a default judgment. Even if you do show up, if you have no real defenses, they could wind up with summary judgment.
    Garnishing is typically associated with a paycheck. If your not working there is nothing for them to garnish. Your joint bank account is another matter. If a judgment is entered against you, virtually any personal account with your social security number attached to it could be at risk of a bank levy. Risk of a bank account levy begins when a judgment is in place already and the judgment creditor asks the court to help enforce payment by granting a levy order. You can remove this risk by removing your name from the account until a judgment is resolved or set up on documented payments.
    You could show up to the court date and offer payment arrangements you can afford while there, or try to set up payments you know you can succeed with over the phone with the attorney suing you.
    If it were me in your shoes, I would show up for the court date and do it there. Sometimes the other side on these debt collection cases wont show up. You can ask the court to dismiss it if they don’t show.
    The payment amount you can afford monthly is not going to change whether you work out the deal on the phone or in person. Their willingness to accept your payment offer is not likely going to be different over the phone or at the court.

  29. Michael Bovee says:

    Hi Deb,
    I want to be sure I understand your comment and question. The way I read what you posted:
    You were making payments you could afford to an attorney collecting a debt. They sued you anyway. The ended up with a judgment. You are now trying to make payments on the judgment.

    If there is already a judgment, they will not need to obtain another.

    I have some questions for you.

    Who is the attorney? Who hired the attorney (your creditor)? What is the total balance owed on the judgment? What was the balance on the account before you were sued? Are you working?

    I may have some suggestions you could consider, but I would like to know a little more first. Please post your answers in a comment reply.

  30. That is correct about the payments and judgement. According to the attorneys, there is no set court date, I have not been served by the sheriffs office, but it was in the paper about a judgement. The attorneys office is Rausch, Sturm, Isreal, Enerson & Hornik and they were hired by the creditor (credit card company). $7201.16 is on the account as of now. I have emailed the Attorneys office and asked for the payments that I have made and balances, since I started making payments to them. Yes, I am working. I would love to hear your suggestions. And thank you.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      What they call “service of process” can be done through a newspaper publication that meets certain criteria in some states. Papers publishing judgments sounds a little weird. Did you see the notice in the paper yourself? Did the attorney tell you about it?
      I now have a couple of additional concerns. Deb, if your okay with talking over the phone about this, I would like to dig into this a bit further. I will send an email to the address you used when commenting here. If you would like to connect and talk about this off line, just reply to that email and we can set up a time to connect that works with your schedule.

  31. Thank you for your speedy response! You suggested removing my name from our joint bank account- will it be to late to do if my court date is set for this thurs afternoon? And if I do go forward with payment plans. Do you believe they will allow me to make plans for payment to be paid in full within 1 1/2. So basically like 50 a month. I am so glad I stubbed upon your website. You have in a sense given me some piece of mind. Thanks again!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      In the abundance of caution, yes, I would suggest removing yourself from the joint account – even if you agree to a payment consent or stipulation to judgment.
      How long payments can be stretched out will depend on the attorney and what their client (creditor or debt owner) will allow. I have helped with and/or seen many a payment plan set up that lasted 12 or more months. The key for you with smaller monthly payments will be getting the payment agreement at no interest.
      Don’t hesitate to show up at court and tell the judge you are not working and things could not be tighter and that you can only agree to something you are confident you can follow through with.
      Very happy to have set you at some ease.

  32. Hi, first thanks for your time in advance Michael. I found yesterday a creditor got a bank garnishment. There appears to be two banks they submitted it to. I was lucky in that I no longer have active accounts with the banks they did this on. The court action is from Ohio. Some hearing is setup for Oct 9. I lived in Ohio at the time I started this debt, but now I live in NC. I won’t be have to travel to Ohio and attend. It seems NC has some protection again wage garnishment, but does it protect against bank garnishment? Since the case seems to be in Ohio while I live in NC currently, which states laws apply to me? Will NC wage garnishment laws apply or Ohio’s? I am thinking about changing out my direct deposit to paycheck or maybe a direct deposit into prepaid money card. any response will be greatly appreciated.

    It seems odd that while wage garnishment seems to have a 25% cap (in most situations), that creditors are able to freeze a bank account where 100% of my paycheck is put. When they freeze it I don’t know how long it stays that way….

    From what I am reading they just need to find the bank name of my current bank account and they would have me pinned fairly quickly….

    my public case records are shown here and I can send more info if helpful: **** – I removed the link to your courthouse in Ohio – MB

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If you are an established resident in North Carolina, I should think wage garnishment laws in NC will protect you on that judgment angle. To be certain, speak with an experienced consumer rights attorney.
      Bank levy is something else entirely. I would be curious to know if the Ohio judgment would have to go through the NC courts and granted foreign judgment status before your NC established bank account could be levied. This question should also be answered by an consumer advocate attorney practicing in NC.
      I would speak with an attorney before deciding on the paper check, or direct deposit to prepaid card step. Those are both good alternatives to use until you can resolve the judgment debt.

      I agree with you that allowing a judgment creditor to legally freeze up an entire bank account when garnishments are capped at 25% (or lower) comes off as inconsistent. We have to play the hand we are dealt though.

      If you would like, I know a few consumer advocate attorneys in NC I can refer you to. Let me know if you want that info in a follow up comment reply.

  33. I am in Texas and being sued by Discover. My husband has severe medical issues and has gone blind in the past year and needs 24 hour care, so I am unable to work. We only have his SS. My court date is October 25. When I quit paying in 2010 due to my home business suffering due economic times and my husbands job loss, I owed around $7400. Now they are saying I owe $8,900. I contacted them yesterday to see if we could work out a settlement, but was asked to leave a message. How much should I ask them to settle for if they agree to?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Given the hardships you outlined and the fact that you live in one of the friendlier consumer law states when it comes to credit card debts and judgments, your settlement target would be lower than is typical with Discover. How low? It can depend.
      What amount are you prepared to settle for? Can you come up with half of the amount?

      Also, you should consider what settling means to your finances now and into the future. Even with a judgment, there is little Discover will be able to do to collect in Texas if your only income deposited into your bank account is SSDI, which cannot be garnished for a judgment like this.

  34. Hi , I have this law suit (A C Contract/Account) against me from GE money bank and sheriff brought it to my house this morning. My court date is Oct 29 and I dont know what to do. I’m just a student and moved back with my parents and do not work right now. This debt was from 2008 and I paid it regularly till 2010, it started around 4,900 and I paid some in two years and the new balance is 3,084 plus the interest they charged me in two years (from 2010 to now) is about 1,600. I just own a car that’s all and a checking account with some money for the gas, should I close my checking account, can they get my car? should I call them first thing in the morning and negotiate with them to settle the debt (the attorney for plaintiff)? I never had problem with paying my debt, I just dont want to lose anything… Please help!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Your checking account is not a risk until their is a judgment in place.
      No, they cannot get your car.
      If you call them and negotiate, what are you prepared to pay? Can you settle for a lump sum?

  35. It depends how low is the lump sum, I guess I could. But how low could I go, or there is a limit?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Generally speaking:
      Prior to the lawsuit I would have suggested targeting somewhere on the order of 40% for a settlement.
      With the lawsuit, targeting 60 to 80% may be necessary.

      What state do you live in? When you were making “some payments in two years”, were these payments to GE Money, or were they to debt collectors calling you? Are you being sued by a debt buyer? If so, who? What is the name of the attorney firm?

  36. Thank you for answering my questions and helping me with this situation.
    I live in Missouri, and I was making payments to Ge Money bank for that two years. I am being sued by Ge Money bank (their name is under plaintiff on the letter), and the attorney firm is Kramer & Frank P.C. but at bottom of the page it says “this communication is from debt collector attempting to collect a debt…”!

    I was wondering if I negotiate with them should I give them the settlement amount or wait for them to give me an offer?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You will need to instigate the negotiation and settlement process. If they are suing you, they will continue on that path.
      Please be sure to check with the court listed on the complaint you were served with and see that the case is indeed filed.

  37. If I negotiate with them and we agree on a lump sum amount and I pay it, can I trust them to release my total debt?

    Also I would like to know, what is the worst thing would happen if I go to the court with my situation (no income)?


    • Michael Bovee says:

      Part of the settlement process, in court or out of court, is to get all agreements in writing. The written agreement and proof of payments that met the written agreement will be what you use to establish your trust of your dealings with them. Not to be a skeptic, but we are talking about debt collection here. It’s not something to leave to a handshake.

      The worst thing to happen if you go to court and explain your situation is that the you ultimately end up with a judgment anyway. If you have no wages to garnish, no property to lien, and are able to navigate how you live and pay bills given the concern you would have for your bank account getting levied with a judgment out there, think about going through the motions in court and see if you can get a payment arrangement you can afford. If you do elect for payment arrangements that are small, be sure to insist on no interest as part of the deal. Otherwise you may be paying forever with small installments.

  38. A judgement from Capital one was entered against me in april of 2011 of 5,600.00.. I dont want to file bankpcy.. I am on ssdi and own a home that is under water by $30,000.00 so they cant do anything to me.. I want to settle the judgement so I can get the lien of my house and credit report. The lawsuit was from Fredrick Hanna and associates here in GA.. 1st. do I call them to negotate the settlement or Cap one..2nd can I start at $3,000.00 dollars and work my way up. If i cant get this done i will have to file bankrupcy.. They will get nothing then.. what do I need from them if the except the negotated settlement so I can get the FI FA lien removed also..I am blind so if my typing was bad i am sorry..

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You typically would work directly with the law firm who got the judgment in order to resolve it. If your only source of income is SSDI you are in a good position to hold your ground and settle at the amount you can afford. 3k is about half of the judgment amount and a fair offer given the circumstances.
      You will need the agreement to satisfy the judgment in writing before making any form of payment toward the settlement.
      You will need for the attorney to file a satisfaction of judgment with the court.
      All of this is pretty standard, so I don’t imagine you will run into any trouble. If you do, come back to this page and lets talk about it, or put a call in and we can talk over the phone.

  39. The attorney by the way who lost this summary judgement case is telling me to chapter 7 here is what he said

    We have tried many times over the years and have found out that you can’t settle with Hanna. Please have a look at some of their consumer complaints from other people that have made the mistake of paying them:

    (Removed link to Frederick J Hanna complaints posted on the popular site ripoffreport)

    You can give them money, but it is very likely that they will NOT report any of it on your credit report, or file a release of the Fi Fa lien or judgment that they have filed. Hanna refuses to sign settlement agreements or prove ownership of their debts. For these reasons our advice is to file Ch. 7 to get rid of the Hanna lien and judgment, and all your other debts. Please let me know if you would like to hire us for this. Thanks.

    e to file chapter 7 and that this is a copy of what he said..

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I cannot speak to others experience in negotiating settlements with the Hanna firm. I can tell you that my experience, that of others in my company, our members, and many other professionals in the debt settlement industry, settling debts with the Hanna firm is a regular occurrence, and this includes lawsuits and judgments.

      I do know the Hanna firms reputation in the debt collection and consumer protection world. It is not good. The reputation is earned. Try not to let that cloud what it is you want to accomplish for you.

      Here is my opinion on your follow up post about settling or filing bankruptcy over the judgment debt:

      From what you have shared so far, you are what many refer to as judgment proof. This basically means there is no way to enforce payment on the judgment because:
      1. You do not have a regular W2 wage that can be garnished.
      2. If your only income is SSDI, and those funds are all that is deposited into your bank account, your bank account cannot be levied or attached (if it were to be it can be undone – be sure only exempt money is being deposited into this account).
      3. You own property that can have a lien placed against it resulting from the judgment. This has already happened. The value of the home is less than what you owe on it and could stay that way for a long time. This makes the judgment lien pretty useless from a collection standpoint.

      I do not know what your other debts are, or what they add up to, or if you are at risk of additional lawsuits. Knowing that may help to better evaluate the following feedback:

      Assuming the judgment debt with Hanna is the only motivator for filing chapter 7 bankruptcy, settling the judgment for 3k will allow you to save the bankruptcy trump card if you need it in the next 8 years. Chapter 7 is a once every 8 year card that can be played. The national average cost of a straight chapter 7 bankruptcy is roughly 1800.00. Lets assume you have an attorney who will do the filing for 1500.00. If you settle the judgment for 3k that would be twice the cost of bankruptcy and allow you to save that trump card.
      If your other debts are sizable, chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the way to go to get rid of them, the judgment and the lien that is the result of the judgment.

      Also, filing a satisfaction of judgment if you settle it with documentation etc., is pretty standard stuff. If Hanna did not follow through on it, you could always file a bar complaint and motion the court for sanctions against them.

  40. You are so right.. hanna is the pnly reason I have to file bnkrpcy. its not worth that.. maybe I need to hire youguys..

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You are welcome to enroll as a CRN member for one on one assistance. You can do that right here on the website, or call and talk with a counselor first to be certain membership is a good value.

  41. I live in Washington State, and judgement was entered in for a Capital One Credit Card in August 2012 by Suttel and Hammer Law firm for a balance of $11,343.

    Here is a little history of why this came about… Within a six month period my mother died, my dad became hospitalized and went through a divorce. I took on all the debt from the marriage and pay child support for three kids and alimony. My house is going into foreclosure sometime this year or beginning of 2013 and am under water on that mortgage by $50,000 so they can’t get anything there.

    I settled a $28,000 debt earlier this year for $7300, so taxes are looming on that for next year along with my home buyers credit that I will have to pay the IRS back… PLUS I work for the state and they are cutting my job next year (April-July timeframe). A windstorm of bad choices coupled with bad events.

    The law firm recently garnished my account but I expected that and they only received $87. I am now getting paper checks from my work.

    I have $7700 in cash…. but $3000 of that is borrowed and I don’t know if I want to use it so $4700.

    I think I have a tiny bit of leverage as in things are so bad they can’t seem to get much worse and they can garnish my wages but I am losing my job.

    Is $4700 to low a number considering my circumstances and if not, can I say in my settlement letter all the bad that has happened to help them realize I really want to pay something but just don’t have the money.

    I just want this off my concience.


    • Michael Bovee says:

      I am sorry to hear about how unfortunate things have been going. The judgment debt and the fact that the firm and the creditor they represent are often known to be unforgiving may/may not compound what is happening financially.

      You mentioned writing a letter in an attempt to resolve the judgment with a settlement. I would suggest you first reach out via phone and suggest you can follow up with a written hardship explanation. The problem here is that, though you will be speaking to a human being, and perhaps your request to settle the judgment will be reviewed by several people who could even be sympathetic to your situation, there may be policy and protocol in place that require them to “not care”, or at least be forced to separate themselves from the part of them that might care. In other words, they just want to get paid. The collection racket is not known for compassion. The fact that you are working now is all they will potentially hear.

      Capital One is one of the most litigious credit card issuers. The law firm who sued you is very active in your state. Neither are known to settle at the percentage where your 4700.00 will be enough. The 7k offer to settle the judgment given your hardship is more in line with where I would reasonably set expectations. Having said that, you could be an exception.

      My question for you though, is have you considered bankruptcy? Have you consulted with a bankruptcy attorney to get a feel for how that might work for you? If you qualify for chapter 7 where your debts are discharged and the judgment eliminated, that could be the breath of financial fresh air you need right now. Chapter 7 may also be a benefit to the foreclosure you mention is imminent.

    • @Joe M. For the credit card that you settled on, you will receive a form called the 1099-C which will should show the difference between how much you originally owed and the amount you settled for. A lot of tax professionals/Accountants do not know how to handle this income form when presented to them by their clients (I have a masters in taxation, an enrolled agent plus over 13 years of tax experience). Ask your accountant about including IRS form 982 (reduction of tax attributes due to discharge of indebtedness). On this form, you would have to determine if you are solvent or not(your assets less your liabilities). If your liability is more than your asset, you can reduce that income (difference btw the original owed and settled amount) by the insolvent amount. I hope this information helps.

  42. My wages are currently being garnished. I called the law office and they said I could make a lump sum payment and they will ‘begin’ the process to stop the garnishment however they still have not received the past 2 payments that were deducted from my wages. They said the court takes a long time to forward the payments. My question is, which option is ‘better’ for my credit score:

    1. Make the lump sum payment to the law office and have them ‘start’ the process to end the garnishment. Things to consider: 1-I would have to pay the total amount owed on their books which does not include the payments of over $600 made that are held up at the court. 2- Risk having the court take an additional month + to process their request to stop the garnishment which will in turn probably result in more wages deducted. 3- Wait God only knows how long for the refund which may come in pieces.

    2- Keep the money that I would have made the lump sum with and let the garnishment run its course thus avoiding all the headache associated with them charging me ‘double’ and waiting to get refunded from the courts.

    Ideally I would like to avoid the courts and just let it run it’s course, but I wanted to know if paying it off in full looks ‘better’ on my credit, or is the damage already done and either option has no positive effect in reference to my credit.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Judgments get reported on the public record section of your credit report. If this judgment appears on your credit report now, it will not fall off for 7 years from the date the judgment occurred. Paying the judgment, whether it gets paid off in full through garnishment, or by settling the judgment for less, will not change the fact that you have a judgment on the credit report. Unfortunately, the damage does appear to have been done to your credit. Make your decision on how to handle payment on the judgment using the other concerns you have and not on credit reporting at this point.

  43. Hi Michael
    we agreed on a lump sum, Im going to ask them for a written agreement what should be included in there?
    I also would like to know if its okay to give them my routing number and my account number for paying the lump sum or I should pay them in some other way?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks for posting the update. It is great to see you are able to resolve the lawsuit. When it comes to getting this documented the law firm will have some standard boilerplate document they can send you. Here is a brief video I published this week on what to look for in a settlement agreement:
      The video does not speak to settling a lawsuit specifically, but all of the same items I talk about will apply to you and will be what you look for.

      If you have the agreement documented and in front of you, there will not be much risk to paying through an ACH authorization over the phone. If you want to eliminate any concern you may have with a phone payment, make the payment in the form of a certified check issued from your bank and associated with your checking account. This will provide a clear record of payment if you ever needed that information. Just be sure that the payment date you agree to have the funds to them by allows for the delay that will be created if you use the mail or a courier service.

      Be sure that the law firm follows through and dismisses the action they filed with the court.

  44. Michael,

    I thought about bankruptcy a while back but never considered chapter 7. I think that in light of the IRS Foreclosure debt forgiveness relief running out at the end of this year it is in my best interest to talk to someone who can better assess my options instead of trying to figure it out all on my own… because the stress is wearing me down and I don’t want to throw good money into a debt settlement if it can be discharged when I might have a couple of big tax years that cannot be discharged. Sound reasoning?

    I just worry about the looming job loss and how a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will effect my chances of getting a new job. And do they take an impending job loss (I do have the letter saying i will lose my job) into account when determining a chapter 7?

    A lot of things to consider, but I think I will talk to a bankruptcy attorney to see what the options are.

    Thanks and will keep you posted.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Perfect. You will learn best what you need to know about how bankruptcy will work given your personal set of circumstances by talking with an attorney. I often recommend speaking with two.
      If you cannot qualify for chapter 7, and would only have access to chapter 13, it may be worth circling back and talking about settling the judgment. But you will have a better sense of that once you get a bankruptcy consult or two under your belt.
      I really appreciate your offer to provide an update with what you learn and decide to do. It will help others who read this page.
      As far as finding a job with a bankruptcy – it will probably be a lot like finding a job with a judgment. With a chapter 7 bankruptcy you at least wont have unpaid debts any more, because they will be discharged.

  45. Hi Michael,

    I received a letter (writ of excecution) money judgement from a county sherrif department for 3,000 dollars. The bank levy was for an account that is closed as of I don’t know how long. I called the debt collection agency to give them an amount and settled for the amount of 2,100 and in addition any proceeds in the bank levy serviced in the judgment letter. Once they revive the 2,100 and no other monies can be collected from the account they indicated in the letter I can consider this matter closed right? Please let me know. Thank you.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You need to be certain the deal to settle the judgment is documented before paying anything. The document should clearly state what they are accepting as payment and that amount is going to satisfy the judgment, even though you are paying less than owed on the judgment. Be sure that they file a satisfaction of judgment with the court shortly after you pay your settlement.
      Congratulations on settling the judgment!

  46. Amy Bechard says:

    About 2 yrs ago, I took out an AZ Express title loan from Speedy cash for $1000. I lost my job within 6 months of taking out the loan. I contacted speedy cash customer service to try to see if I could make payment arrangements. I was told they could only extend my payment by five days. They would not work any details out. The guy suggested I let it go in default and make arrangements at the time it went to default. Upon missing my payment, I called right away to make arrangements. Once again, I was told only the five day extentsion. Today, my 16 yr old son, opens the door to a service processor with a summons stating Speedy cash will be suing me for $1594 plus court/attorney fees due to my default. I have 20 days to respond. I am not disputing the dollar amount… however, I am a single mom of 3 children, working part time at min wage and on state assistance (food). I can’t afford for my wages to be garnished. I would like to contact this attorney to see what I may do about making a $25 a month payment arrangement until March 2013… when I can use my tax money to pay it off. I can not borrow or come up with a large sum to pay it off right now. What is your suggestion? How do I respond. I live in Phoenix,AZ. Thank you Amy B

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You are receiving public assistance. You would probably meet the the exemption from garnishment after a judgment in your state. You would need to make that known to the court if a judgment later leads to garnishment notice with your employer. No one is going to know you may be exempt if you don’t tell them (the court). You will have the right to contest a garnishment if one is attempted after a judgment is entered.
      Being on public assistance would suggest to me that you would qualify for low income legal aid assistance. Locate a legal aid office as close to you as you can find and make time to go to there office this week. You may find the assistance you need to navigate the lawsuit with an attorney on your side.
      Be careful agreeing to very small monthly payments to settle a lawsuit or judgment unless you have a written agreement that no interest is being assessed. Otherwise you end up making payments that are not making a dent in the balance.
      No matter what, I would suggest you file an answer to the lawsuit.

  47. amy bechard says:

    Continue- I forgot to mention. They never asked for the title of my car just registration. They have my vin number correct color of car incorrect. My car is actually still “owned” by Ford motor for another 2 yrs plus. My car is valued at $6400 and I owe $7350. Can they repo my car or just place a 2nd lien on it. It is the only “collarteral” I have…

    Amy B

    • Michael Bovee says:

      My assumption here is that they don’t want the car. That is why they filed a lawsuit and are seeking a judgment.
      To make a move on the car (not even sure they can), would mean spending money only to have any proceeds go to Ford Motor Credit. They would get nothing out of the deal given you owe more than car is worth.

  48. If I co-signed on a car loan and I was put on the Title(after I told them not to) and I have a fifa judgement against me, Is the lien automatically put on the title or is the debt collerctor have to sumbit the lien.. the car dealership is in the process of removing me from the title. it will take a week to do so..

    • Michael Bovee says:

      A judgment lien is unlikely to appear on the car loan that already has a secured creditor and a co-borrower. You will find out soon enough if the judgment lien reached to the vehicle if the finance company finds one. I really doubt that they will though.

  49. Howdy! I live in Texas. I just learned that a judgement from Discover was filed on June 2008 by Zwicker and Associates. I knew that I still owed Discover for my credit card debit, but because of personal hardships I chose to pay off my other debts. I wasn’t aware a judgement had been filed because it was not showing up on my credit reports. Unfortunely, the judgement is showing up in public records. I do not want this judgment to effect me selling or purchasing a house or getting a new job, so I need to know what to do. I want to settle the judgment and have a satification of judgment in public records. Do I need to hire an attorney to assist me? Or can I call Zwicker and Associates to settle the judgment myself. Thanks for your advice.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Settling the Discover credit card judgment for a fair amount is very possible after the judgment has remained unpaid for this long.
      You do not need to hire an attorney to contact Zwicker & assoc to settle the judgment, but you might consider doing that if I am interpreting your comment correctly.
      You said you were not aware of a judgment being filed and only learned of the judgment because it appeared on your credit report. Were you never served a lawsuit? If you were never aware you were being sued, you may have never been served the lawsuit properly. You may be able to work with an attorney to get the judgment set aside – effectively removing it from the court. You could then get the judgment off of your credit report.
      If you were aware of the suit and just did not know it went to judgment and simply want to settle it, you can reach out to Zwicker and determine a fair settlement. Here you have to be careful. I am a huge fan of DIY debt settlement. Obviously that is what we focus on here. More than 70% of the settlement work we do over the last 4 years led to our members settling their accounts on their own. 20 plus percent we have done on behalf of our members. Your situation represents a large part of the type of accounts we would typically work on. Having said that, here are some tips for negotiating the judgment on your own:
      1. Do not give too much information about your finances. You want to stick to the fact that you were not able to afford your debts and any personal situation that remains that makes your finances difficult right now. Debt collectors can already access real time information about you and use that to set targets they will settle for. Giving them details they do not have will not help you hit a settlement on the judgment you can best afford.
      2. The judgment balance has likely grown from accumulating judgment interest allowed in your state. You are going to be negotiating from an inflated balance.
      3. Getting the satisfaction of judgment filed by Zwicker has been a chore even after a documented settlement. It can take some time. Using a professional may/may not expedite this.
      4. Get everything documented before funding a penny of the settlement.

  50. Omg i was sued and aparently went into a judgement in nyc and now they put a hold on my bank account amd kept my check what should i do i never even got a letter serving me to court is this legal? Hiw can i make this go away the original debt was in 2005 and i was unemployed for like 3 years (college) and now that i started working at a retail(not making much) im being sued and it was originally 1,000 it increased to 10,000 + what can i do.? Im so streessed im 20k in debt how and i dont have enough to file for bankruptcy how can i fix this?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Unfortunately what you have described is not uncommon. It sounds like you are a victim of sewer service. If that is the case it would mean you were never properly served the lawsuit, had no way to answer or defend it, and it ended up as a default judgment against you. Now the judgment amount has increased ten fold with attorney fees and years worth of judgment interest.
      For more on how this type of thing is a known problem, especially in NY, read: debt collectors and sewer service
      You should speak with an attorney familiar with this type of issue. Consulting with an attorney initially on something like this is typically free. Your issue may be that to hire one will cost money you may not have. You could look to local low income legal aid services you may qualify for. The fact that you are in NYC and that this type of sewer service is something city consumer watchdogs are aware of suggests you should reach out to city regulators as well. There was a recent action against sewer service debt collection firms in the city and I believe elsewhere in NY. The article I link to above has a NYT link in it for more information.
      If you have trouble locating a consumer law attorney, let me know in a follow up comment here. I can send some contact information to you using the email you used to register when commenting on this page.

  51. I cashed an insurance checks totalling 33, wife had spinal fusion surgry..a check came months later under my wife could’nt work i have two kids..i did not by anything just spent it on family daily living they are suing the one who cash the do i take blame for this..she was kinda in the dark about everything..just wanted the kids to have something..i dont want her to take the blame..please give advice on what to do..we have to go to court on friday

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Your situation is outside the scope of credit card debt lawsuits and judgments. I would really encourage you to speak with an attorney before court and learn more about your options.

  52. I have just received a call from an unknown # stating that they were going to serve my hubby on a very old address of his in 2 days here in TX, they gave me a phone # to call and a case# for Davis & Associates, is a civil litigation against him for a Wells Fargo old credit card for $39,855, thay said he made a payment in 2009 which is not true and that the original balance is for $14,544 and that they can settle for $8,726. they said they will post liens against our property and take his vehicle, everything is under my name since I have better credit, can they do that? what are my options?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You just gave a fairly consistent outline of what often turns out to be debt collector harassment, abuse, and what ultimately could be found to be violations of federal and state collection laws.
      Most legitimate law firms will not tell you they are serving you in 2 days, or any days for that matter. Getting sued for a debt certainly begins with being served, but not like this.
      Threats of posting liens against property and vehicles is not typical with legitimate and established collection law firms.
      In any event, none of those threats could ever become a reality unless there were a judgment entered through the court.
      I would really like to refer you to an attorney in TX who has experience taking on debt collectors for this type of abuse – which is potentially what has occurred here.
      Before that, I would like to get some more info.
      You mentioned they said he made a payment in 09. You know that did not happen. Can you tell me when you best recall a payment was made on the account?
      Once I know that, I will have some additional feedback and some suggestions for you to follow through on.

  53. i was informed by an attorney in pennsylvania that public records show that i am being sued for a credit card debt. I got my credit report and called the lawyers office to try to settle the debt. My intention was to not have to go to court or sign any judgements the lawyer agreed to a payment arrangement that will be lasting 2 years. They mailed me an agreeable judgement letter to sign which I am refusing to sign because the reason for me setting up payment arrangements was to not have any judgements and not go to court. the lawyer said they were in the process in filing the papaerwork and since I have not been served any paper work from the sheriff office of a court date, what can i do or say to the lawyer so that i do noy have to sign any judgements or go to court. my debt is about 2,500. i want to see if I can pay a lump sum so i can get them off my damn back. what is an exceptable amount you think they will settle for or do i have to try to pay for the lump sum they ask for? and how long after I am served do I have to pay a lump sum before I even go to court ? Can I tell them the lump sum they are asking for is too high and can i suggest another figure ? also, if i go to court, can I bring the cash with me to suggest paying an agreed upon lump sum that is less than the 2,500 balance or if I go to court will I have o pay the whole 2,500 in the lump sum to make it go away. My issue is I am trying to avoid signing any judgements from lawyers or the court and also not having to go to court at all. please try to answer all my questions, I have never experienced this before.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If you owe the debt and do not intend to raise any defenses to the lawsuit that is apparently filed but not served yet, settling with the attorney now in a lump sum without a payment plan will avoid the judgment. Should you pay the full 2500.00? I would try to get the amount knocked down even if I had the 2500.00 to pay. Chances are a good amount of that balance they want to sue you for is inflated from fees, penalties and increased interest.
      There is a bit of an art form to settling with attorneys when they have the upper hand knowing you badly want to avoid the judgment (you may have already left them with that impression).
      I have some additional feedback, but first; who was the original creditor; what was the balance and the time you last made a payment; when was the past payment made on the account; who is the law firm; who is the attorney working for – your original creditor, or a debt buyer (who was attempting to collect last before the attorney got it, or look up the lawsuit at the court and find out who they represent).
      If you can answer these questions in a follow up comment on this post I will have some suggestions.

  54. I checked the report and the original creditor a collection company is the one who got the attorney. The original creditor sold it to another lender in sept 2009. I opened the card in 2005 . I can’t remember the last payment but I do know that I was down to about 500 to pay. I also wanted to know who determines or decides what i offered to pay as a lump sum is acceptable is it the collection company or the lawyer ? I was told by the firm they had to ask when I asked them who they have to ask I was told they would get back to me. I truly beleive that this law firm wants to take me to court and not accept anything from me. I told them I do not want to sign any judgements at all. Is this correct, I pay agree to pay the lump sum and they draw up papers that still say agreed upon judgement. What should I ask them to write because what I don’t want to happen is I give them the lump sum and they still send me papers that say judgement and when I refuse to sign they keep my money and take me to cour anyway. I don’t want to give the attorney name because they are nasty and I beleive they are out to get me for some reason. I keep checking my name online under judgements and credit card court and nothing comes up. They keep saying I have this court date but I have not been served yet and they also keep saying we know you have not received any paperwork from us yet. I would not have known anything about being sued until someone knocked on my door if it were not for some lawyers reading public records and where is that I don’t know because I typed my name in public records as well and nothing. Also if you can answer this too, will the attorney sind something to the credit buerues that the account is paid in full so all 3 reports will reflect closed paid in full. How does that work or will I have to call the 3 reports myself. i asked them what will be in writing before I give thme my money but as i said they won’t tell me they are slick, and still want to put a judgement on me. Or is there already one on me without even going to court yet? HELP…..

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thank you for the follow up reply and the additional information.
      There are many questions contained in your follow up reply. There are also some misconceptions I see that you may have from reading your comment.
      I will answer them briefly for the benefit of other readers. I want to encourage you to call me for further clarity on any of my feedback that follows.

      If the debt was sold to a debt buyer – who? That answer would help me share with you my own, and others experience in dealing with that debt buyer when they hire attorneys and authorize them to seek a judgment through the courts.
      The attorney firm collecting is also important to identify for the same reason as the debt buyer.

      If a debt buyer is suing for a high enough dollar amount, I often will encourage people to seek out a consultation with an experienced creditor and debt collector defense attorney. There are very legitimate defenses to a debt buyer lawsuit. There are consumer advocate attorneys sprinkled around the country who are experienced enough with this to get cases dismissed. The cost of hiring the attorney to help defend the case can be less than the cost of settling. With a debt the size of the one you are dealing with, It would likely prove more cost effective to settle than defend.

      The debt owner usually sets the rules for what can be accepted in a settlement. They often set floors for how low they will go, but those can be adjusted for various reason with approval. The law firm collecting for them, prior to a lawsuit, during a lawsuit, or after a judgment is entered, has the ability to get stuff through if they feel it is the best way to get paid. Keep in mind the attorney collection firms often do collection work on a contingency. They want to get you to pay so they can get paid.

      I do not think that they attorney collection firm is bent on taking you to court no matter what. If you come up with the money to pay the full amount, or close to it, they will settle it.

      You have not been served yet. I don’t quite understand why they are drawing up papers where you agree to a consent to judgment. Do you live in Minnesota, or perhaps another state where they practice whats called “hip pocket” rules? What state are you in?

      If you are searching on line for your name and a court filing, are you doing that on the local courts web site? This would be where the lawsuit was filed, but where you have not been served yet. This is also the court where a local attorney scans for recent consumer collection actions in order to send the mailer to offer services that alerted you to the fact a collection suit was filed. Many courts allow free access to their dockets through a website, some do not, and some offer paid access. If you are serious about seeing a copy of it, go to your local county court and ask the clerk to look it up. You can sometimes call the court clerk on the phone and make an inquiry.

      You say they are telling you about a court date. I am concerned for you with all that you have shared. I am concerned in the following 2 ways:
      1. They tried something called sewer service where they serve the wrong person, wrong address, hire less than reputable process server who does not do their job correctly, but signs off in the record as if they have.
      2. You are dealing with a disreputable collection law firm who will lie to you in order to collect.

      It is for those 2 reasons I want you to call me to discuss this. I will charge you nothing and will not take much time.

      No, you will not get your credit reports updated as paid in full. The original account went delinquent some time ago. That creditor charged off the debt and it sounds like they sold it. You cannot do anything about that original creditors negative report as you appear to now be dealing with a debt buyer. The debt buyer nor the attorney they hired can do anything about your original creditors reporting. The negative items on your report associated with this account should all come off 7.5 years from the date you first went delinquent on the account. The only way the negative reporting on this one account can be extended is by inaccurate reporting (which you can write in and dispute to get fixed), or by a judgment being entered which will add 7 more years of negative credit reporting from the day the judgment is entered.

      You have given me several pieces of information for me to be concerned about whether you are being treated fairly. The collector has put enough fear in you that you will not share with me who they are even though you are posting anonymously on this website (no one can see anything other than the name given in your comments. Your email address and any other information is not visible to anyone).

      You can reach me by filling in the blue contact box information found in the right column of all of the CRN web pages. In the message portion write something like “Michael asked in a comment reply to have me submit my contact information”. I can also email you directly to the address you used to submit your comments and we can coordinate a time to speak that way. Just reply to this comment that you prefer that and I will send the email.

  55. I contacted Zwicker and Associates as you suggested in order to negotiate a fair settlement for my credit card debt which now has a judgment filed on it. First of all, I have to share that they are by far the most brutal, rude and uncaring debt collectors I have ever conversed with. They must have an “I don’t care about your hardships or situation or you” policy because I spoke to three different individuals during my “40 minute long” telephone call and all 3 had the same negative attitude. I assumed that they would be kind to me considering I’m the one who made the initiative to contact them after five years to settle my credit card debit, but boy was I wrong. After 40 minutes of negotiating with them, this is the best they could offer me: I originally owed $8,558 on the credit card, well the court awarded them $12,158 which they informed me included their attorney fees. Well, with interest Zwicker & Associates representative stated the credit card debt is now at$15,300. They offered to settle the debt for $12,100 and assured me their attorneys would remove the judgment upon full payment. They kept telling me they couldn’t go lower than $12,100 because it wasn’t their money it was the credit card’s money and it was also their policy. Is that a fair settlement? Should I just pay them that amount so that I can get rid of the debt and judgment? I would greatly appreciate your guidance.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I am sorry that you experience rude and brutal behavior from Zwicker and Associates. In order to siphon off money from people in the most aggressive way, suing them and getting judgments, and trying to force payments from people who obviously can afford the least, you do probably have to be pretty tough about it. I can assure you that the vast majority of debt collectors do not care about you or your hardships. They just want to get paid. Some are fair and mannered in the way they communicate, like working out payment arrangements with your original bank. Others, like debt collectors working at collection agencies like Zwicker and Associates… not so much.

      As far as the offer:

      The creditor is Discover. They have a history of settling judgment debt for as low as 50% in certain hardship situations, 60 to 80% would be a general target though. Settling with Zwicker and Associates on a Discover account without a judgment can often be done over installments with the reduction. When they have a judgment I would recommend lump sum payment.

      Something to think about here is that not all negotiations are arranged to both sides satisfaction in one phone call. Why not call again next week?
      You are in Texas and cannot likely be garnished due to laws that protect that in your state. You mentioned in your prior comment you are not working and are looking for a job. If you find one before settling the judgment, your wages will not be at risk.
      You mentioned concern of selling or buying a property. Is their a lien filed as a result of this judgment on a current property in your name?
      You also mentioned in the prior comment that you were not even aware of the judgment until recently. This may mean you were never properly served. I have seen judgments get vacated even after years of being recorded for lack of proper service and other reasons. Perhaps it would be worth the effort to speak with a debt collection and creditor defense attorney to get their opinion on that. Maybe the money you would use to fund a settlement would be better used for attorney fees if the court record perhaps showed that the service of process was filed as having been at an address you did not live at, or other problems with their filings. Believe me – it is not unheard of to have this kind of thing occur.

      In the end, you know your motivations, reasoning and financial ability to fund the 12k settlement better than anyone. If you want to pay it and get it over with, you can. I would hold out and see if I could negotiate for a better savings over the course of a couple weeks (even longer).

      One thing is for certain – I would not trust Zwicker and Associates to file the satisfaction of judgment paperwork with the court. Not for a minute. Before you fund a penny of any settlement you need it in writing. In that written agreement you must demand that it include their filing of a satisfaction of the judgment debt with the court. If they give you any junk about this demand, send them a link to this web page.

  56. From Clao
    October 23, 2012
    8:49 pm

    Heres the info you requested. Last activity on that Wells Fargo credit card was in 2001, and we live in El Paso TX. Thanks for your help

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If the last payment on the Wells Fargo account was more than 10 years ago you are dealing with a zombie debt collector. One who, if the debt is that old, appears to be willing to threaten lawsuits and getting a judgment so they can lien property etc., all of which could very likely be in direct violation of Texas debt collection laws as well as the federal laws that are there to protect you against this type of collection abuse.
      I am glad you provided the follow up detail. I now believe we have sniffed out a debt collection scam.
      I am sending you an email off line with contact information for an experienced collection violation attorney I know. I want you to call her and talk to her about the circumstances. Making the call and having the consultation is free. I recommend you take her advice on what steps to take next.
      I know that your mind will be set at ease after that call.

  57. I was served papers for debt. I settled immediately with law firm. Do I still need to file at clerks office noting my actions as a precautionary?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The law firm should dismiss the complaint as a matter of course now that it is settled. Do not take for granted that they will. Debt collection, even at the court level and dealing with debt collection law firms, can be run mill style. This means stuff can fall through the cracks. I would encourage you to contact the firm about their filing a dismissal as a follow up to the settlement and also watch the court docket consistently to see that they do.
      If you are hyper concerned about this, and I do not blame you if you are, talk to the court clerk about answering the complaint using a simple form the court may have available. While the clerk will not be able to give you legal advice, they are very good with forms. Some court clerks are more helpful than your local librarian :)

  58. HI..I just received a letter from an attorney thats working with HSBC credit…I was unemployed 4 years ago and could not aford to pay my credit card I called the credit card company several times to let them know I could not my 400.00 monthly payment I owed the about 19000.00 And they gave me a really hard time would not help me at all and now Im receiving this notice from the lawyers stating they have entered a Notice of Motion agiant me .Due to the delay obtaining a filed copy of the complaint The courts dismissed the case for lack of prosecution and now the lawyers are asking the courts to vacate dismissal and reinstate matter and to enter default…please help me I dont understand what this means DO I need a lawyer please help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Talking with a lawyer about this would be a good idea. I would not recommend just any lawyer though. You will want to speak with one who has experience with creditor and debt collector and debt buyer defense. You should be proactive in deciding what to do next. Courts have time sensitive response deadlines. You do not want to miss one and wind up with a default judgment.

      What state do you live in?
      Who is the attorney debt collector?
      Who is it they say they are working for – HSBC or someone else?
      What is the nearest city of size to you?

      Answer the above questions and I may have some additional helpful feedback and will also help you locate an attorney that has experience with this type of thing.

  59. I live in New Jersey the attorney is Ragan and Ragan they rae in wall,nj they are working for NCEP,LLC I think the nearest city would be newark nj

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I will look up some attorneys who do this type of work this weekend and email you some contact information you can use to speak with a couple of them on Monday.

  60. What is a Default Judgement sounds scary…please help me understand what this means.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      A default judgment is what happens when you basically ignore the court action, do not answer, and just roll over and play dead. This is what most debt collection lawsuits count on, and roughly 90% of the time that is exactly what happens. People get sued, have no idea how to handle it, or no clear understanding of how they might resolve it, and put it out of their mind, or at least try to. The default judgment can lead to legal collection enforcement and in New Jersey that can mean garnishment of wages and bank levy.

      Your prior comment tells me you are being sued by a debt buyer. That is not a bad thing if you have a good attorney.

  61. I was in other websites and I think what I have to do is go to the courts and file a Order to show cause form:: I never received noticed from the courts to appear …I received papers from the lawyers but never a court notice..This should vacate the Judgement until I receive a new court date…Right what do you think.??

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I really think you should speak with an attorney this week before following through on anything you read on the internet about how to handle this type of thing. Here is why:

      1. The initial consult with the attorney on something like this is probably available at no cost to you.
      2. Internet sites offering tips and advice on this kind of thing often miss key details due to many factors too numerous to list. Some content is just outright nutty.

      A free consult with someone who does this stuff for a living in your state, thereby saving you hours of reading and research to maybe get things right, makes sense.

  62. I live in Ohio. I received a letter in the mail last week that I am being sued by keybank (credit card) for it being unpaid. It was awhile ago and before I was married I had the card. They still have it in my maiden name eventhough I wrote on the statement and included a note in one of the payment saying I was married. They said I have 28 days to get in touch with the lawyer and the court or my wages can be garnished. I don’t work. My husband does but we are low income and we’re on assistance (food). I have a 4 month old infant and we’re struggling as it is because my husband also pays child support for his children every month. I contacted legal aid and they recommend I file bankruptcy. Would that be the right route to take? It’s for just over 1,000 dollars and we rent a home, we don’t own one.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Filing bankruptcy would clear the debt, stop a lawsuit in its tracks and avoid judgment and garnishment. Additional things to consider:

      * It sounds like you would be considered judgment proof. This would mean even with a judgment, the owner of the debt would not be able to collect. You would still need to be concerned about a bank account levy if you have a joint account with your husband where his paychecks are deposited. You could take your name off of the account if this is the case.

      * The cost of filing bankruptcy, even through an attorney who has what could be considered discount fees would be more than the 1000.00 being collected on. Is the 1000.00 debt the only debts you have? Is the low income legal aid office offering to help you with the bankruptcy filing at a low or no fee?

      I have additional concerns that may only be due to the way you worded your comment:

      * The debt sounds like it is fairly old. When was the last payment made on the account? It may be too old to sue you for.

      * You mentioned being told you have 28 days to respond or get garnished etc. Was this in a letter, or over the phone? Who is the attorney debt collector writing to you are speaking with you? Who is it precisely the attorney is collecting for? It’s a Key Bank account originally, but often debts get sold off after they go unpaid. If the attorney is working for a debt collector, who is that collector.

      If you can answer my above questions in a comment reply below I may have some additional feedback for you to consider.

  63. I do have a back account with my husband.

    It isn’t the only debt I have. I’ve had other cards too. I was still paying on them until my husband lost his job. All legal aid said was they will send me paperwork to file joint bankruptcy and I have to have $20 for a lawyer to get my credit check and my husband’s credit check. So not sure if there will be other fees also.

    The statement they included was from June 2010 so I think that may have been my last payment. It was a letter from the court. The collection place is QC Financial LLC.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thank you for the follow up detail. If you have more debt than the lawsuit with Key Bank, who are the debts originally owed to and how much is owed now total on each account? Are their debt collectors involved in trying to collect as well? I am asking to get a better picture of the benefits of bankruptcy now vs later.

      From what you said about the 20.00 for you and your husband, it at least sounds to me right now, that low income legal aid is going to assist you at a low to no fee arrangement. In most privately retained attorney for bankruptcy situations you would generally need to be prepared with more of a first payment, 200 to 300 dollars. I would encourage you to pin the cost of their assistance down in a follow up phone call. The reason here is to weigh total costs.

      If the letter was from the court directly, and the court is who is requesting your participation within a few weeks to avoid garnishment, that would suggest there is already a judgment against you. You would have an opportunity to respond to that letter from the court and show that you are not working and that you are on, and qualified for, some form of public assistance. Most courts tend to view your situation as one where you are noncollectable for the judgment debt, at least at this time.

      It would help to know who your other debts are with and the amounts owed.

  64. NOLAinDebt says:

    So I had a Discover Card judgement awarded to Gregory M Eaton of Eaton Group Attorneys in 2006 for 3500 plus 18% interest from Jan 2002, plus 25% attorney’s fees of the aggregate of principal and interest, and for all cost’s of the proceedings. In Feb 2007 they send me a letter offering to settle for 3,000 of a debt totaling $5000, and in March 2009 another letter came offering to settle for $2700 on a debt of the same $5,000 amount. My father is willing to loan me some money to settle the judgement. I called them to ask them to make me an offer to settle and they told me they would settle for $7500 and that the total with accrued interest is now $12,600. I won’t be able to pay anywhere close to those amounts. I asked them to consider something closer to the $2,700 they offered me in 2009. The letters indicate that Discover Bank is thier client. Do you have any advice on negotiating this down? How much information do they have access to on my current credit report?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The information collection attorneys and debt collectors have about you on your credit report would be everything that appears real time. Whatever is there, they see. If there are items on your credit report that suggest they hold out for a better settlement (more money demanded to resolve the judgment), they may stick to their guns on the offer. Sometimes collectors use software programs that are designed to suggest what amount to settle for. This applies to lawsuits and judgment debt as well as regular collections. There are strategies to overcome the software and manual underwriting and get better settlements.
      Whatever your hardships are financially right now will be what you focus on in your attempt to get this reduced.
      If you would like to start a new question and provide the background details, I will work with you to see about getting the judgment resolved. Click here: Ask CRN

  65. Hi, I live in LA and would like to ask you about the credit debt case.
    My brother found out his ex used his identity to apply the credit card and failed to pay the bank with $14000 debt last year. He got a Summon to appeal to court.He asked his ex to pay the amount. instead,she went to a consolidation company for help.The negotiator didn’t let my brother know what is going on until a year after.He was told to pay $9000 to settle the case.My brother wants his ex to pay for it but she only wants to pay installments. The next day,the negotiator told my brother the bank is willing to settle with $7600 in two payments which need to be paid in the end of Oct and Nov with half of the amount each time.He told my brother the bank will get the judgement entered on 11/4 and will lien his property and get money from his bank account. My brother doesn’t want to pay the amount but his ex doesn’t have enough money to pay.I would like to know what he can do to protect himself without paying? Do you think the consolidation company is manipulating the situation so they can get some money out of it too?Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I would like to dig into this by asking for some more detail before giving more feedback.

      Can you tell me who the negotiation company is?
      Who the debt collector law firm is?
      Who the original credit card is with?
      If it was a different name other than the credit card issuer that filed the lawsuit?
      What state your brother is in?

  66. Hi Michael,

    Thank for the quick respond.I really appreciate it.
    My brother lives in CA. The credit card is issued by state farm bank.The negotiation company is called Diamond association Inc.I am not sure about the collector law firm.I only know they usually handle the cases from state farm.Hope these help.Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I would encourage your brother consult with a California attorney on this issue with the collection attorney. The reason I am suggesting this is that he may be able to defend the lawsuit for less expense than paying it off. If State Farm sold the debt to a debt buyer, defending the suit is even more recommendable.
      The initial consultation would cost nothing. He will learn a great deal about his options, and if working with the attorney will certainly buy time, rather than being under a perceived or real deadline of a just the few days you referenced in your first comment.
      If you are doing the ground work for your brother perhaps you could be on the phone with him and the attorney.
      I can send you an email with the contact points for an attorney who specializes in this kind of thing. Let me know in a quick comment reply and I will send the details over to you using the email you used to submit your comments on the site.

  67. Please send me the info of the attorney.Thanks
    I would like to know can my brother sue his ex and walk away from this case? Does he have the right to ask different installments rather than the one bank suggested?Thanks so much for your time.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Email with attorney contact info sent.
      Your brother could actually file a police report for identity theft. But you and your brother should get these questions and more answered by the attorney.

  68. Hi Michael,

    I hope you can help me with this. I was overseas for about 7 years. I am now back in the States and looking for a job. The job offer I have requires a public trust clearance. The background check showed that I have a judgment on a Capital One credit card. This happened back in 2006 while I was not in the States. It is set to expire 02/13. Now in order for me to obtain the clearance I have to settle that judgment. I called the lawyers that handle the case for the creditor and the amount from the original $2400 now is $9000. Currently, I can not pay even the original amount. Do you think I can negotiate something like the original amount? The lawyers of the creditor will not take anything less than $6500 (one payment) or $9000 in monthly payments. I am in VA by the way. Should I hire a lawyer to negotiate with them, you think a lawyer would be able to negotiate something better? Something else I want to mentioned is that I had a chapter 7 bankruptcy back in 2000. Thank you for your answers and your time.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Hiring a lawyer to settle the judgment debt from Capital One is one direction you could take. Can an attorney get the judgment settled for an amount you can afford? Perhaps, but if the attorney went at it from a straight negotiation strategy of, oops – my clients bad – how much can we resolve this for? I do not think you will get the number you need. I do have a suggestion with a different strategy that I think would be worth it for you to pursue.

      The lawsuit by Capital One was filed while you were out of country. This could certainly mean you were not served properly. You may be able to get the judgment set aside for this reason. Even filing the paperwork with the court to set aside the judgment would put you in a position of strength if you wanted your attorney to negotiate an affordable payoff in order to get the satisfaction of judgment filed. Then again, you may just get the judgment set aside and because the statue of limitations will have expired for Capital One to legitimately sue you to collect, you could find yourself in the clear.

      I would suggest you connect with an attorney. Not just any attorney though. I want you to speak with one who is familiar with debt collection and creditor defense. There are several in Virginia. The cost of hiring an attorney to file paperwork to get the judgment set aside may be more consistent with what you can afford right now. If you want me to send you some attorneys contact information who have the experience I am referring to, let me know in a comment reply and I will send you that info in an email to the email address you registered to comment. Please also include in your comment reply who the attorney debt collection law firm is and your zip code or the nearest city of size.

  69. Hi Michael,

    Thank you for the fast reply. The attorney debt collection law firm is Glasser and Glasser, P.L.C.. Please send me the attorneys contact information you have. The nearest city of size is Fairfax city. Again, thank you for all the help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Email sent. Reston VA was the closest experienced collection defense attorney I found. I included one attorney in Lake Ridge and two additional attorneys for Richmond.
      It would be great if you came back and posted any updates in the comments.

  70. Hi I’m sorry I’m just now responding. On day four of no power from storm so I hope this works from the phone. I have other debts from fingerhut and HSBC I think. I paid a few off so not sure which are left its been awhile. Do you ta think I should send a Wooten statement saying how I’m on assistance and have no way of posting that money or should I just do the bankruptcy through legal aid? I’m worried either way I’m gonna find myself in a place I can’t afford. I’m sorry for the typos this is really hard to do from phone

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks for the follow up details. Knowing the amounts of the other debts can help me put my response in perspective. Here is what I want to encourage you to consider:
      You are not working and cannot be garnished for the judgment. You do not have property that would get a lien placed on it from the judgment. You do have a bank account with your name and social connected to it – joint with your husband. The bank account is where your risk of judgment collection is. If you remove your name from the account, you remove the risk. If you get a check in your name you can sign it over to your husband for deposit.
      If you file bankruptcy, which indeed makes sense, you are time barred from filing chapter 7 again for 8 years. It is important to weigh whether your financial situation right now is as bad as it will get, or are there potential reasons to hold off on filing the chapter 7.
      If you are not in harms way from lien, levy, or garnishment, it may be a good move to hold off on the bankruptcy.
      On the other side of this you should consider the emotional and psychological benefit of having the weight of these debts looming over you lifted by getting rid of the Keybank lawsuit or judgment, and the other debts with HSBC and Finger hut gone.
      There is also the consideration that you appear to qualify for low income legal aid now and may want to take advantage of that low cost legal assistance. If your income increases in the future, you may not qualify and that could make the bankruptcy process more of an expense.
      I hope this perspective was useful to you.

  71. Thank you for all the information. I will come back and post updates. Thank you.

  72. Hi, I dont know where I can go for good advice but found this article interesting and would appreciate it much if you could offer me some advice. I was just told today told my wages are being garnished (court letter was dated 04/21/2011 and today is 11/02/12) but also recently recieved a letter of settlement from the same office. I dont know if its too late to settle which would be less and a process because I would mail it in, could call but may not get a hold of anyone so would they still be able to garnish my wages?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If you have a legitimate offer to settle the judgment debt for a certain amount, and are able to take advantage of it, you could prevent the garnishment.
      I have some concerns:
      What is the date on the settlement letter you received in the mail?
      Is there a date payment must be received by on the letter?
      Who is the letter from?
      How were you told your wages are set to be garnished? The letter from the court? Your employer? It was not clear from your comment.
      What is the balance owed on the judgment? What is the amount being offered to settle?

      If you can answer my question in a comment reply below I will have additional feedback.

  73. Sorry replying again from phone so sorry ahead of time if typos. The highest credit amount is the one I’m being sued for now. What happens to my husbands tax return? Well they take it from that? If I file bankruptcy? Or if I explain my situation to the court?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      A tax return refund cannot generally be intercepted for a credit card judgment. That kind of thing pretty much only happens with government back debts like back taxes, certain defaulted student loan issues and the like.
      A chapter 7 bankruptcy typically does not result in an impact to a tax refund, but you should run this question by the legal aid office you are working with.
      Explaining your situation to the court should not impact your husbands tax refund.

  74. I have a judgement against me from Discover card in the amount of $15,000. My husband and I are homebuilders who were out of work for 3 years. I collected unemployment for a year and during that time I worked out a payment plan with them that lasted a year. During that time our son had a kidney transplant and we lost our health insurance a year after that as we could no longer afford the premiums. At that time I could no longer pay on the credit card either. My question is this, the only bank account I have is in the name of my business which is an S corporation. The credit card is in my personal name only. Can Discover garnish or seize that account in any way? We have lost our home to short sale and are renting, own our cars outright and have about half of our furniture left after having to downsize. I have made approximately $8000 this year and that is in the business account.
    Thank you.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The way collection agencies, debt buyers and collection law firms typically locate information about you and bank accounts you have is by subscribing to skip tracing software. One of the main identifiers used to financially “trace” you is your social security number. Your S corp would likely have EIN number associated with it, not your social.
      There are other complications with trying to levy a business bank account to enforce collection on a judgment against an individual for personal credit card debt. The levy could impact parties not related to the judgment which causes damages to people not part of the judgment and could put collectors in hot water.

  75. Hi Michael,
    I am in the processing for purchase the new home and I just found out in the one of my credit report (Equifx) showed that I have a judgment in 2006. Now in order for obtain the settlement for new home I have to settle or dismiss the judgment.
    Anyway, I went to Circuit court for Fairfax County to get the Case No. get what i got. I got the Final Order on 2/2007 and disposition Type: default judgment with Plaintiff(favor) so i try to call orginial credit card but this account no longer assist and all the lawyer that handle the case noone insist for the firm.If i try to settle forthis case where should i go. Could I get the lawyer to file a motion for dismiss the case ASAP so I get thru this. Please help!!!!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The judgment is owned by someone. You need to find out who and get in touch with them. You went to the original creditor and they could not help you which means they are not who sued you. The creditor sold the debt and you were sued by a debt buyer. The name of that buyer should be on the original complain filed with the court. Do you have a copy of the original complaint? Who is it that appears in the caption?
      Help me out with some additional details and I can help you with some further feedback.
      Who was the original creditor?
      Who was the law firm hired to sue you?
      Who is named as the plaintiff on the judgment?

      Post your answers in a comment reply and lets take it from there.

  76. Hi,

    I had been to court in January of this year for a law suit from a credit collector through Capital One on a card I stopped paying on in 2009. If the case was dropped by the judge, does that mean I can get a copy of that paper and submit it to come off my credit? Because I had just checked my credit report and Cap. One is still on there, and they even reported a total in Oct 2012..
    Thanks! -Erin

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Getting a lawsuit dismissed in your favor does not result in the Capital One account getting removed from your credit report. If the credit card was yours and payments were not made, you will have the late pays, the charge off, and balance still owed still reflected on your credit report for 7.5 years from first payment you missed.

  77. My husband and I both have judgements for credit cards and they are in either his name or mine, not both. We live in PA and wage garnishment can only occur if it is regarding taxes or child support however our bank account has been garnished. Our house is in both of our names. What is the likelihood of having our house put up for sheriff’s sale? We are trying to enter into a settlement but do not have the funds yet. Our house was purchased for 76,000 and we still owe 67,000.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Liens on property for a credit card judgment are typically placed to secure future payment. When you go to refinance or sell, title will catch the lien from the court judgment. The judgment will have to be dealt with in order to pass clear title or to push through the loan.

      I do not think your home is a risk from the credit card judgment.

      I may have some additional feedback if you can answer the following:

      Who was the original credit card issuer?
      Is that who sued you?
      If not the original creditor, who has the judgment?
      What is the name of the law firm?
      When was the last bank account levy?

  78. The credit card is Discover. The law firm is Weltman, Weinberg, and Reis. They levied a bank attachment the end of September but have not removed the money as of this date. They already levied our other bank account and removed all funds. Thank you for your prompt reply.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks for the follow up details. Settlement targets with Discover after a judgment, in my experience, can be achieved at 50-ish% with documentation of hardship and when the judgment has sat unpaid for sometime. In your case, Weltman Weinberg and Reis has been able to enforce the judgment successfully with bank levy. In this instance a realistic target to settle with a lump sum would be between 60% and 80%.
      You mentioned you are working on coming up with settlement funds. How much are you trying to come up with before negotiating a judgment pay off? What is the balance still owed on the judgments after the bank levies? Are both judgments from credit cards you and your husband had with Discover?
      Can you and your husband structure your affairs to have paper checks issued to you from your jobs? Can you pay bills with cashier checks and the like and operate from a cash basis until you can resolve one or both judgments?
      If you do not have enough saved up to resolve both judgments, do you have access to enough cash to resolve just one? If you can resolve one, perhaps the lowest balance judgment, whose would that be? Once one of you satisfies a judgement, you could remove the person with the unresolved judgment from the bank account, or set up a new account only in the name of who satisfied their judgment, and work towards resolving the remaining Discover judgment with Weltman Weinberg and Reis. Does Weltman have both judgments?

  79. I do not have a predetermined amount to come up with to settle at this point, but have a 2,000 saved at this time. My account is for 6500.00 and my husband’s is 12,900. We have made other arrangements for our checks and are primarily operating from a cash basis. The first bank account that was levied was done regarding both of us so we no longer use this account at all. The second account is in both of our names and so far has only been levied under his name, however this account is also the bank that owns our mortgage loan and we had been paying our mortgage from this account. The bank said I could still use the account since the levy is only on my husband, however, I have not used it since the levy except to pay our recent monthly mortgage payment. As I said earlier though, wages cannot be garnished in PA for credit card debt. Yes, this law firm has both of the judgments as well. My concern was that if we are no longer using either account, that they will eventually try to have the house placed for sherrif sale (as I am told is a popular thing done in PA) even though we still owe a significant amount as I had stated earlier.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sounds like you have a handle on how to navigate the bank levy concern. You can certainly pay your mortgage in a manner other than having a bank account with the mortgage note holder. I would hate to see things timed in a way that your money in that bank account was there for a day to pay your mortgage, only to have Weltman Weinberg and Reis have a levy for that day which could mean the mortgage does not get paid.
      Without a compelling hardship you could use to settle the lower judgement amount, I estimate you are about half way with your current savings to be ready to settle your Discover judgment.
      I just do not see credit card judgments leading to forced efforts to exercise liens on property in situations like yours.
      I would be curious to know the resource that is suggesting a situation such as yours leads to forced sale of a mortgaged property in order to enforce a credit card judgment lien being popular in PA.

  80. One of the lawyers serving as an arbitrator for my husband’s arbitration hearing stated that he could lose his home.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Okay. Thanks for sharing that. Here is the reality of forcing a home sale to collect on the credit card judgment in yours (and the vast majority of situations) given the details you have shared with me so far:

      The homes value you estimated in a prior comment is about 9k more than what you owe on it. Often the value is less than what a homeowner assumes unless there are recent reliable comps in your area. There is also the fact that a forced sale is a distressed sale, which would mean moving the home fast and at a discounted price. In this case, were Weltman, Weinberg and Reis to attempt this method for getting paid on the judgment, they would spend the money and likely get nothing in return.

      The law firm also knows that you could stop this type of “involuntary foreclosure” by filing bankruptcy. If you qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy you would be able to eliminate both Discover judgment debts and probably keep the home if PA exemption for home equity allows for it, which I believe it would. Moving on the home would just force your hand to file the chapter 7 and they would get nothing.

      You could also file a chapter 13 bankruptcy, if unable or unwilling to file chapter 7 – if they made a moved on the home. In the chapter 13 you would keep the home and pay back all, or only a portion of the judgment. The pay back on the judgment would be what the court sets.

      I am curious to know if you have talked with a bankruptcy attorney? If so, did you qualify for chapter 7?
      If you have not consulted with an attorney about bankruptcy you should. You may learn that chapter 7, if you can do it, will eliminate all of your unsecured debts, including the judgments. The 2k you have right now would likely cover all court costs and attorney fees if your situation is not complicated.

      You could use the calculator tool I added to the very bottom of the original post above to determine the basics of whether you qualify for chapter 7. If it looks like you would, finish inputting info in the form and get connected with a bankruptcy attorney in your area for a free consult.

      You may not follow through with filing based on what you learn, but you would probably be somewhat set at ease about the judgements knowing you have a trump card to stop and forced sale in its tracks.

      I hope some of the above perspective was useful.

  81. Hi,

    I have a question for you. Someone tried to serve me papers for court today but i did not open the door. I know it has to do with two credit cards i have with bank of America that i stopped paying when i lost my job in 2009.

    I need you help as to what should i do next. I want to call the debt collection agency and try to negotiate with them. What should i look for or what are some key questions i have to ask them? Can i negotiate with the debt company on my own?
    Thank you

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Yes, you can and should look to settle debts on your own when and wherever possible. This means you have more money to settle because you are not paying a pro the fees to settle debts for you. Hiring someone to negotiate for you should be reserved for when you cannot or will not work for yourself.

      I am not sure what you mean by what type of questions you should ask them. Your negotiations are not best set up with questions. Settling the accounts are a matter of money – how much you have and how much they are willing to accept.

      Lets start with who it is you are dealing with, Bank of America suing, or a debt buyer?
      A quick way to figure out who has the debt is to call Bank of America and ask who they have the debt assigned to, or who it was they sold it to. Once you know that, it would also be helpful to know the name of the attorney firm you are dealing with.
      Have you received phone calls or recent letters from a law firm? If so, who was that?
      Next, what are the balances you are dealing with? How much money do you have available that you can use to settle with?

      Answer the above questions in a comment reply and I will have some more feedback.

  82. Thank you for the information.

  83. It appears that BoA sold it to Frederick and Hanna Associates and they have sold it to Blitt and Gaines, P.C. located in Illinois.
    One credit card has a balance of $7876.77 and the other has a balance of 7980.95. Right now i can pay half the balance for each credit card.
    Do you think i can settle outside of court even though they have sued me?

    Thank you for your feedback

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Did Bank of America say they sold it to Hanna Associates, or was Frederick J Hanna office in recent contact with you and you are making a natural assumption?
      Here is why am asking:
      You have about 8k you can use to settle the two accounts. That may be enough to get the job done. Sometimes when there is a lawsuit filed, and ready to serve you, the collection law firm is willing to let the court process proceed with an expectation of collecting more. If that were to happen, and it turns out it is a debt buyer that owns the debt, you will have the additional option of defending against the suit.
      There are more attorneys these days who specialize in representing consumers and defending against debt buyer law suits. There are a host of reasons why consumer attorneys are successful at defending debt buyer lawsuits. I would suggest you connect with one for a free consult before offering settlements on the debts.
      If they will not settle at the amount you can afford to pay, and they serve you the lawsuit, you definitely should connect with a consumer attorney. You may be able to successfully defend the case for less in attorney fees than you would pay to settle at 50%, or even less.
      Let me know if you would like me to send you some contact info for a consumer attorney in IL. What is the nearest city of size to you?

  84. Hanna Associates sent me letters, they also called but i never answered their phone calls. that’s how i know BoA sold it to them.
    I will call them asap and see how it goes, if they decide to not settle i will contact you for references.

    Thank you

  85. Hello,

    I have just received a papers saying I am being sue for a credit card debt in the state of Texas and I have to file a written answer to the court. Is it to late to contact the Attorney directly to try and resolve this? If I contact the Attorney do I still need to reply to the court?

    Thank you

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It is not too late to contact the attorney suing you. Before you do that though, do you have a goal you want to achieve with the call? Are you calling to try to settle the debt, or set up a payment plan on the debt you can afford?

      I can provide some additional feedback to you if you can answer the following questions in a comment reply:
      Who was the original credit card debt owed to?
      Who is listed on the lawsuit as the plaintiff?
      When was the last payment made on the account?
      What was the balance on the debt when you stopped paying it?
      What amount are you being sued for?
      Who is the attorney debt collector?
      How much money do you have available to fund a settlement on the debt in one lump sum?
      If you were to agree to monthly payments on the debt because you do not have a lump sum, what can you commit to as a payment?

      Yes, it is always wise to file a response with the court within the time frame required. What you reply with may be different depending on your goals and financial abilities. I can expand on this once I know the answers to the above.

  86. I am wanting to contact the Attorney to set up a payment plan.

    Who was the original credit card debt owed to? Chase Bank
    Who is listed on the lawsuit as the plaintiff? Bluebonnet Financial
    When was the last payment made on the account? December 2007
    What was the balance on the debt when you stopped paying it?$3,426.65
    What amount are you being sued for? $3,426.65 plus court cost
    Who is the attorney debt collector? Niermann and Olivo
    How much money do you have available to fund a settlement on the debt in one lump sum? None, I am wanting to set up payment
    If you were to agree to monthly payments on the debt because you do not have a lump sum, what can you commit to as a payment? $150 monthly.

    If the attorney agrees to set up payments with me will they drop the lawsuit?

    Thank you again

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If the last payment related to the Chase credit card at issue was indeed December 2007 and no additional payment was made on the account since, this debt would appear to be past the statute of limitations (SOL) in Texas. The SOL in Texas is 4 years on an open account, like a credit card.
      If your debt with Chase is past the statute of limitations, that does not mean that Niermann and Olivo cannot sue you on behalf of Bluebonnet Financial. It is your responsibility to raise the fact that the debt is time barred from being sued in the courts in order to collect.
      It is up to you what you want to do about resolving this debt if it is past the SOL.
      Bluebonnet Financial did not loan you any money or extend credit to you. They are a debt buyer. Debt buyers are investors who risk their own money to buy up bad debt with an expectation they will collect on enough of it to turn a profit.
      If you want to resolve the account, I would encourage you to reach out to the collection attorney at Niermann and Olivo and tell them you believe the debt is past the SOL. That you are willing to resolve the matter for an amount equal to the nuisance value of hiring a consumer advocate attorney to defend against the suit. If you can post a comment reply with the nearest city of size to you I will send you an email with contact details for consumer attorney(s) experienced with defending against debt buyers and attorney debt collectors. You should call one anyway to discuss this further. During the consult you can ask for what they would charge as a fee to file an answer to the lawsuit and defend it based on the SOL being expired. Who knows, there may be other areas of concern a good consumer attorney can explore with you.

      Whether the attorney agrees to payments and dropping the suit or not is a moot point if the debt is past the SOL. The issue for you would only be effectively filing the answer to the complaint and raising the expired statute of limitations. I recommend you speak with an experienced attorney at a minimum before deciding what to do next.

  87. I see on the papers I received that the lawsuit was filed on May 9, 2011. I just now received notification of the lawsuit today. Would it still be past the SOL if it were filed May 2011 and I didn’t get notice of it until now?

    I am close to Dallas/Ft Worth… Thank you again for all of your help!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Email of several attorneys with the needed experience sent.

      If they filed it and waited over a year to serve you, that is just odd. I think courts actually frown upon that sort of thing. Many courts require you be served within a specific period of time from when the suit gets filed with the court. Now I really want you to connect with an attorney from the list I emailed.

      It would be great if you were to come back and post an update of what you learn and how things progress.

  88. Hi Michael-
    I’m in San Jose, Ca. and I failed to pay a credit card debt in 01 while going through a divorce. During this time I removed my husband(at the time) name from the credit as I was primary and did not want him charging up a storm. This card went delinquent and to collection followed by a judgement in 07. I failed to respond to the judgment and now sits effecting my credit. Last year I disputed the item through Experian because the amount was 7k and original credit line was 1k. Experian removed it from my report but, it still sits with Equifax and TransUnion. I have tried to contact Arriw Financial to discuss a compromise and they can no longer be reached. This judgement should be removed in 2014. Is there a chance TransUnion + Equifax would delete this from my credit report as well? Would it be best to wait for the judgement to fall off? Should I contact the attorney that was hired by Arrow Financial, the collection agency who owned the debt? I’d like to purchase a house in the next year or so. Can my exhusband be responsible for charging this old debt too?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Disputing the judgment with TransUnion and Experian is worth a shot if you can show an error. The judgment being a matter of court record would be fairly easy for them to confirm though. Experian could have verified the information too. I am not sure why they chose to delete it after receiving your dispute.
      If your time line for buying a home is a year or so from now, getting the judgment satisfied by settling it now or in the near future will help with your goal.
      Waiting for the 7 year clock on the judgment to remain on your credit report will work just as well. The judgment will still be collectible after its off the credit report though.

      I just posted Arrow Financial Services Closed – Where Did The Debt Go. If you want to settle the judgment you would want to contact LVNV or Resurgent Capital and find out if your debt was part of their Arrow Financial purchase. Call 888-665-0374. If you learn that LVNV does have the judgment debt from Arrow, and you do negotiate a settlement, please post a follow up comment with your experience and the amount paid. If you need help resolving this one, let me know.

      If your ex was only an authorized user on the card, and the divorce did not assign him responsibility for any of this debt, I am not sure how you would attach a portion of payment responsibility on the judgment to him.

  89. i lost my job couple of years back and haven’t got one yet , still struggling. i have couple of unsecured debts that i am in the process of settling for less ,but the problem i am facing is that after i have settled with 2 creditors one in lump sum and other in installment the remaining creditors have stopped calling me does that mean they are going legal , or shud i make a call to them coz i offered an amt for settlement to one of the collection agency who called on behalf of the original creditor and he rejected my request & sounded as if he thinks i have a job and so he is not ready to negotiate for less , looks to me that these agencies are sharing information with each other ,pls help dont know what to do . secondly the creditor with whom i have settled and making payments in instalments has given the settlement letter on a xerox copy of the letter head and when i called the bank customer care to confirm they are aware of the settlement , they said no but they did confirm that they are in receipt of the payments i have made to the agency , can they back out on the settlement after the last instalment . pls suggest what are the options available to me ?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks for the questions AL. I will make you a deal. This page is dedicated to dealing with judgment debt and lawsuits. If you post your questions and situation by starting a new post, I will dedicate that page to answering your questions and help guide you through resolving your concerns with the creditors and debt collectors. I do have useful feedback for you already, given the detail you gave in your comment. Please keep all of that background detail when creating your own post. I would also ask that you include the names of creditors, balances on accounts, names of debt collectors you are dealing with currently, and how long it has been since the last payments were made on the accounts.
      If you want to take me up on this, just click and follow the prompts here: ASK Michael

  90. I picked up my certified mail from the post office on 11/5/12 which was a summons to appear in court. My Debt was through USbank for an oustanding balance of $817 plus the $100 court cost. I called the attorney in an attempt to settle this debt, and all she would tell me was i had to email or mail them a letter to offer a settlement and they would have to review with their client, and get back to me. IS this right? Im trying to get this over as soon as i can without going through the courts. I am located in Cincinnati OH. Thanks in advance for any help!!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It is a bit odd to me that the collection law firm was not willing to discuss the serious details for resolving the US bank collection account over the phone. More often than not, the details of how to resolve the account/lawsuit would be documented after discussions.

      I have a couple of questions. If you can answer them in a comment reply, I will have some additional feedback.

      What type of account was this with US bank?
      When was the last payment made on the account?
      What is the name of the law firm suing you?
      Is there someone other than US bank listed as plaintiff in the lawsuit?

  91. Thanks Michael for responded and here the information you asked me reply back:
    I don’t have any copy of the original complaint the only thing I have that Abritration Confirm award I got from Circuit court and was indicate Final Order for Default judgment.
    MBNA American Bank was the original creditor
    There are five differents law firm: Donal M. Fishman, Robert j. Bursten, Connell a. Lofts, Matthew Linkie and Wolpoff .
    MBNA America Bank Plantiff.
    I did contacted these guys but none them still good. But the bad thing how should I settle the debt if you could not find it and other thing my lender told me if I want to signed the contract to the home so I have full amount to the title company until we able to located the creditor.
    Please help me how to deal with this situation.
    Thanks again,

    • Michael Bovee says:

      May, I am going to encourage you to reach out and consult with one of us here at CRN. Call 800-939-8357 and press ext 3 to reach us live, or leave a message if we are tied up, or if it is after business hours. We can set a time that works with your schedule.
      There is quite a bit to your situation. Comments on a blog post are just not the best way to dig in and help you look at options.

  92. Hello,

    I just recently found out the Capital One (Rosen P.A) filed a small claim in Florida for under $2500 on October 18. It is now November 7 and still have not been served. The court’s website shows a prehearing date for November 20. Since December 2011 I have tried to come to an agreement with Capital One, their collections department and lawyers on an amount to pay but they refused to work with me. I offered them as much money as I could to make monthly installments but they aren’t willing to accept it until I pay 3 payments of what they consider fair. Can I contact the lawyers again to try to come up to a new agreement? Should I not tell them I know about the PreTrial Hearing? I would appreaciate any advise you could give me. Thank you.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sometimes it is best to be proactive. Reaching out to the attorney and preparing to show up at a scheduled small claims hearing would be wise.
      No matter if you are able to work something out with payments prior to a hearing, always show up.
      With a 2500.00 balance, your minimums when you were current were probably around 75.00. Is that about right?
      If you are struggling to budget for that kind of payment, you would be hard pressed to come up with multiples of that all at once, which is what I am sure they are demanding.
      Sometimes allowing this process to proceed in a court setting with you as an active participant can find you, in the end, with the affordable monthly payments the creditor or collector would not agree to prior.
      I would encourage you to be proactive.

  93. I’m not sure if you can help or could steer me into the right direction. Here goes, I live in Ga and have a judgment that was issued in 2004 by providian bank which mann bracken was the original company collecting and now Federick J Hanna is now representing. April of this year the agency tried to put a hold on my checking account for the full amount, but the cases ended up being dismissed in my favor. I received a settlement offer from Frederick J Hanna to settle for 25% of the full amount, that has now expired because they wouldn’t sign a contract I sent to them to protect me from them further collecting on anything else. The full amount is less than $3,000. I called their company again today and tried to settle, they kept on transferring me to another person, they will no longer agree to 25% and now they said they can only offer 85% !! I don’t know what to do, If I get a lawyer and pay expensive fees, I still run the risk of Hanna not excepting the lawyers offer, and I’m back at square one. I need someone who is experienced with Hanna. I am trying to approach this matter carefully, and want to be cleared from this ordeal. Can you help?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Yes, we can likely assist you, or put you in touch with affordable assistance. Please feel free to call us at 800-939-8357 ext. 3
      I have a question. How were the attempts to levy your bank account dismissed in your favor? Are the funds in the account from an exempt source like social security? can you shed a little more light on this?

  94. They were not my funds, which became exempt. Do you know of anyone around my area who can help?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You may just need some tips to help yourself. Lets start there. Call in, or fill in the short contact form on the right side column of any page on this site. It is after 5pm here now, so tomorrow will work too.

  95. Christine says:

    I was sued by Discover in 2011 for around $5000.00. I contacted Grustel Chargo and set up a 24 month payment plan. I currently have 9 payments remaining. Here is my problem. Discover has listed the charge off on my credit report. However, I am in the process of buying a home, and our broker said that it is being inaccurately reported. That it is not a charge off if I am making payments. And that I should call them and ask them to remove it as a charge off. I called Discover, they refer me to the attorney who said there is nothing they can do until the debt is paid in full. The judgement lists Discover as the plaintiff, not the attorney. So if Discover is accepting any of the money being taken from my account each month by the attorney, then is it still a charge off?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I want to be clear about what is holding you back here, a charge off, or a judgment. I have a few questions.
      First though, what typically would have occurred here is that your Discover account would have gone unpaid for many months (6 usually). Discover would then charge off the debt as an accounting function, see:
      The charge off gets reflected on your credit report.
      The Discover account gets dropped into the collection pipeline. In this case sent to an attorney debt collector who sues. You can often make arrangements for payment after being sued. Part of these arrangements will sometimes include signing a “stipulation to judgment”, or “confession of judgment”, that gets recorded with the court.
      Is it the charge off being reported that is at issue? You wont likely get that removed. You should be able to get an account like this updated to reflect a zero balance owed once you pay it off, or settle it through an agreement to pay it for less than what is owed.
      Is it a judgment being reported as part of the public records section of your credit report that is holding you back? If that is the case, you may have to get a satisfaction of judgment filed with the court, which likely means completing your payment arrangement (and making sure the satisfaction gets filed).

  96. Help! World Financial Network National Bank(Gordmon’s credit card) is attempting to serve me at myparent’s home in Kansas City, Kansas where I no longer reside. I do, however still live in Kansas a few minutes away from them. The court date is November 19th in limited action court and the amount is $2,216. What are my options? I do not want wage/bank garnishments or a lien on my car or property I own in my apartment. Can I still negotiate a settlement out of court? What is the minimum amount overall and payments they will accept? The last payment I made on the account was July 2010 and I closed the account August 2010. I have several other cards I did not pay on and closed that same month. Should I expect the same legal action from those creditors/debt buyers? Thank you in advance.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You can negotiate a settlement out of court. At this stage, if you want to get the action dropped, you would probably have to offer a substantial amount unless you have some convincing hardships, or are judgment proof. Judgment proof would mean there is nothing for them to attach or garnish in order to get paid (income is low enough to qualify for exemption from garnishment etc).
      In order to take a shot at what I estimate you can settle this for, or how much monthly payments might be, I would need some details:
      What is your current income?
      What amount of money can you come up with from whatever sources to settle in a lump sum?
      What are the types and amounts of the other debts you have?
      Who is the debt buyer suing you (I am assuming WFNNB sold the debt)?
      Who were all the debts owed to originally and who are the debt collectors and debt buyers trying to collect on the them now?
      What are your financial goals over the next 2 to 3 years?

      If You would like to start a new post with all of the above details I will give you my feedback on what type of strategies would be good to consider to manage your situation. If you are up to it, start here: Ask Michael

      Whether or not you can expect legal action from other creditors will depend on some of the answers to the above questions.

  97. Hi Michael! Thank you for the work you are doing to help with these frustrating situations!
    1) I live in S. Oregon. I was served an (AMENDED) SUMMONS on 10/26/12 which says I am required to appear+defend the complaint filed against me within 30 days from the date of service of this summons. To “appear” I must file a legal paper called a “motion” or “answer” which must be given to the court clerk within 30 days along with requried filing fee. It must be in proper form+have proof of service on the Plaintiff”s attorney. There is no date or court date anywhere on the papers. Would you please clarify what this means.
    2)The Plaintiff is UNIFUND CCR PARTNERS. The Original creditor was Citibank South Dakota N.A. UNIFUND purchased the account+is now the owner of the claim with all monies owed to the Plaintiff. The amount due is $8,821.25, plus simple interest at the rate of 9.00% per annum from July 16, 2010 until the date of Judgement,+ then at the statutory rate of 9.00% until paid with credit for payments made. Total amt of claim is 10,368.85 but I do not believe that includes the 9.00% interest.
    My main goal is to try to settle for a lower lump sum+to settle out of court as I do not have money to spend for an attorney+have disabilities. I feel going to court may be a personal hardship physically+emotionally. Physically, my disabilities are not usually evident to others as the majority of my disability is chronic pain which causes me to be very emotional in stressful situations.
    I don’t know how much detail you want in regard to my personal life. As a single mom working full-time, in Jan 2001 I contracted a disabling disease losing the use of my dominate hand/arm. This disease led to other disabilities, such as memory loss,depression+more. I continued to work to provide for my family; my employer made major adjustments for me to continue. In Jan 2003 I fell, losing significant use of my other upper extremity. I could no longer work+was put on long term SSDI.
    Going forward, between medical bills for myself+my daughter,wrong financial choices,the economy,taking physical+financial responsibility in raising my teenage daughter+her baby,all the while my disibilities becoming worse,I could no longer continue paying all my credit cards. I do not have proof, but I did attempt to work with Citibank asking them to at least lower my 19.740% interest rate so I could have a chance to lower the balance+pay the debt, but they were not willing to help in any way at that time. I stopped making payments after the last time I spoke with someone+was not only turned down again but was treated very rudely. Eventually I had to stop paying some cards in order to pay off other debts which I have+am continuing to do. At some point a collection agency representing Citi did send offers for lower lump sums, but at that point I was unable to take advantage. I recently had an offer of $5K for a personal item I have been attempting to sell the last two years for the purpose of paying off this debt but he is waiting for $ from a divorce settlement+does not know when that will be, so there is no guarantee. I have a medical set-aside fund which is only suppose to be used for medical treatments.If I borrow from that+need a proceedure done, I can’t use the fund until the borrowed $ is replaced.
    When i call Unifund to attempt a lump sum settlement should I even bother to state any personal issues?My income is SSDI+$ from a private disability that ends in 3 yrs.I have been receiving interest from an annuity+the set-aside medical settlement for the last year to supplement my income. Is that interest considered real income+can the annuity be garnished?Finally, what lump sum would you suggest I start with that would be fair+non-offensive to Unifund?So sorry if I have given TMI+for the length of my comment. I appreciate any guidance you are able to give in order to be+feel more prepared+to keep from going to court!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Laura – Your story is compelling and I want to thank you for taking the time to respond to my emails even though I know the difficulty you have with typing and communicating on the computer die to your condition (as you shared with me in off line email exchanges). I am going to be blunt in what I see as your options.

      First off, Unifund is an unforgiving debt buyer. They all are for the most part, but I have a file I have been assisting on where Unifund could care less that a gentlemen recently lost his wife to a sudden heart attack, has his own medical issues and is on disability and nearly confined to his home. The are unwilling to take less than about 80% of the debt. The attorney firm they hired to sue this man is friendly enough, but I am unconvinced that they are not part of the problem.

      Given the above backdrop, I would encourage you to locate a creditor and debt collection defense attorney to assist you in filing an answer to the complaint and engaging with Unifund in “discovery”. Discovery is where Unifund is going to have to prove up their claim. Debt buyers have difficulty doing this because the debts they purchase may only be accompanied by an excel spreadsheet with no real meat to substantiate their claim in court. A good creditor defense attorney will stand a good chance of getting the case dismissed, or settled for an amount you can afford.

      The creditor defense attorney will have a fee if you hire them. This is a cost you will need to consider. In my experience, the cost of the defense would be less than what Unifund will settle for on a debt the size of yours. The concern here is that no attorney can guarantee they will win your case. I like your chances though.
      I will send you contact details for an attorney in Klamath Falls. If that is too far away, she may be able to refer you to someone with the needed experience closer to you. It will certianly be worth the time to make the phone call and learn more about your options taking this direction.

      If you were not able to settle the account, and did not defend it, you will end up with a default judgment. All of the issues I raise in the initial answer to the question that started this page will apply. You are on SSDI that cannot be garnished. If the only money going into your bank account is from SSDI, your bank account should not be levied. There is not much Unifund will be able to do to collect on the judgment. But, that is the same situation the gentleman I refer to above is in. Unifund does not care. Unifund buys debt to turn a profit, but does not appear to me to be all that intelligent about it.

      Please post any additional questions you have in a follow up comment. You are also welcome to call me at the number in the signature line of my emails you have for any reason.

  98. I have been served with a judgment and I have been paying monthy payments. They continue to call and asked for $10 more on top of the first payment. I explain I can’t pay anything more then $60.00 and I asked the to stop calling hassaing me about more money I pay monthy they said I did not set up a payment arrangment I told them I will not change the offer. They offer me to pay 60 and I agree I told them I will not pay anything more then that. They call every week or two with different people calling. How do I get them to stop calling so much? What can I do I pay my payments to the court.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Mary – I can offer some better feedback if you can tell me more about the creditor and judgment.
      Who was the original creditor? Who sued you? Who was the attorney they hired to sue you? What amount were you sued for? How long have you been making the payments? Are your payments going to the court directly? What state do you live in?
      If your payments are set up through the court, how are they made?

  99. I recently found out that I had a levy placed on bank account by collection agency for credit card debt than I had in 2006, the case was in court and It was won by collection agency cause I never showed up, but in reality I had no idea that my case was in court I used to live in the different apartment number and it seems they were sending notices there,even do my credit report shows my current address, should I got to court and fight it, and some one told me that if I owe them 4000.00 that they can take double the amount from my bank account like 8000.00 is it true? I live in NYC. Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Alex – New York City saw a huge amount of what is called “sewer service” in recent years. This is where lawsuits get filed and rather than be diligent in providing proper service to consumers about the lawsuit, process servers would make efforts not to serve people correctly. Rather than serve you, they would, for all intent and purpose, drop the paperwork in the sewer. They would still sign off on the fact you were served with the court.
      The New York Times covered this abuse of consumers and the courts in depth at the time (last year).
      The New York City Consumer Affairs Department went after a bunch of bad actors for this type of thing. I would encourage you to contact the NYC Consumer Affairs people about your next option. They take this stuff seriously.

  100. I have a judgment against me for a credit card through Chase bank. The original amount was around 400$. I was unable to make payments and then all of a sudden I was getting calls saying I owed $900. I made a verbal contract with one of the collectors agreeing to pay a total of $600 and we set up a bi-monthly payment plan. After a down payment of 125$ the next month I received a call stating there was no agreement or contract and that my debt was now $1000 and that the person that made the agreement was no longer working for them. Now I have a judgment against me for $1500. My wages were garnished in the amount of $1600 but when I called to see why they were still taking money they said I still owe $1500 because of 26% interest. Is this legal and what can i do?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Bryan – Who is the debt collector you made the judgment payment arrangement with? Was your agreement with the law firm that sued you and got the judgment? What state do you live in?
      If you can post your answers in a comment reply I will have some more feedback.

  101. I was just served a summons this morning from a ‘Midlands Funding LLC”. The debt is for about $1,148.00. I know this is my debt, it is the correct amount and I’m willing to pay-just cannot pay the whole amount in one lump sum. I’ve read that the worst thing I can do is contact their attorney on their side-but, I don’t have anything to contest. I just don’t want my wages garnished, and I really do not want to go to court by any means to settle this. What are the best steps, do you think, to resolve this? Contact the court? Contact Midlands to set up a payment plan? I should have just taken care of this a few years ago when I owed the debt, but, you live, you learn. Thanks!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Midland Funding LLC is busy on the lawsuit front this last week. I just posted this:
      Who is the attorney that filed suit?
      When was the last payment made on the debt to the original creditor?
      What state do you live in?

      If you can answer these questions I will have some additional feedback about settling. It would be great if you answered the questions in the comment section of the Midland Funding article I linked to above. This way we can breath some life into the comments over there.

  102. Mary Montgomery says:

    The creditors are discovery card it was an civil suit
    Who sued you? Discovery card
    Who was the attorney they hired to sue you? Nathan Nathan J. Bart Lloyd,III
    What amount were you sued for? $5430.90 +Attorney fees$814.64 the toatl of $7191.25
    How long have you been making the payments? since 2010
    Are your payments going to the court directly? yes
    What state do you live in? Tennessee
    If your courts are set up through the court, how are they made?
    I seen a payment through a check to the courts every month

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Mary – Do you have an accounting of the payments you have made? Do you know if there is an interest rate being applied to the unpaid portion of the judgment?
      It would be unusual if it is the attorney firm calling to ask for a larger payment. Who is calling to get more money from you?

  103. hi, question… i live in nevada(clark county) and ive been told by my bank that my acct. is bein levied from a unsecured credit card debt, is this legal? this is from a target card i had and culdnt pay in 2009. i told them thee was n way i could pay it and they havent contacted me at all. the man at the bank said i should have went to court but i didnt receive anything. now my house payment is going to bounce! they also as of friday sent a garnishment wage pape to my work. in that package there was a paper that said they won a hearing on july 31,2012. i have no knowledge of any of this, was never told or informed! my question is …now…what can i do? i mean i owe the money but i cant pay it ….they know that! i looked onthe interent and isaid something about an “intent to vacate” which would release the levy and garnishments but only for a short time. is this a good idea? any other suggestions?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Yes, you can and should work to undo any judgment that was entered without your being notified of the suit and given a chance to respond.
      First things first. What is the name of the law firm that sued you? Who is that hired them to sue you, Target or a debt buyer?
      I will have some feedback and suggestions once I know the answer to those questions.

  104. No the verbal agreement was with a different company than the law firm that has the judgement against me now. The verbal contract was made in 2006 and since then I have misplaced the name of that company the name of the company that was trying to reach an agreement with me. I live in Ohio. The company with the judgment now is called FIRST RESOLUTION INVESTMENT CORPORATION. When looking at the public records page of the judgement it says paid. Is that just saying the law firm bought the debt? I just started a new job so I’m concerned my wages will be garnished from this job as well. If I am working two jobs are they allowed to garnish wages from both at the same time? Thank you so much!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Bryan – You have some strange stuff happening here. I looked up judgment interest in Ohio and it is capped at 10%. Unless there is a provision for judgment interest to be applied at the default rate in your credit contract with Chase, you should be able to get this cleaned up and your payments applied properly.
      Add to this the fact that your judgment is showing as satisfied and yet you are being garnished, I would encourage you to reach out to an experience debt collection defense attorney and talk to them about what is happening here. The type of attorney I am talking about will often offer a free initial consult.
      What is the nearest large city to you? Let me know in a comment reply and I will send some attorney contact information for you to follow up with through an email.

  105. first, thanks for responding! its target that hired a law firm here in vegas, their name is patenaude and felix. can i use the intent to vacate now …like i said they did all of this in july 2012. is there a time limit on getting this reversed. should i call the attorneys office and try to settle. will they from your experience? i have about 1500 but thats all… i would be completely broke. would they lift the garnishment/levy or would it just mke things worse if i made contact with them instead of courts. should i file bk?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Stephanie – You should go to the court where this judgment is filed and get a copy of all that transpired, including what the court record shows for who signed off on having served you, and at what address etc.
      There is usually a time limit to most things court related. You are well with in any timeline if the judgment got entered in July of this year.
      Getting the judgment vacated would be your first priority as the levy would get backed out. You would also then have a much more pliable Patenaude and Felix to negotiate with because they do not have a judgment hanging over your head.
      Once you get the court record, please come back and post who it is Patenaude and Felix is working for. I want to know if they were suing on behalf of Target, or if another company bought the debt. Once I know that I will have some additional feedback.

  106. I just discovered i had a default judgement entered against me in 2006 on my credit report recently, it was entered in on a credit card that i last made payments to in 2000, I live in Indiana, SOL is 6 years
    the expiration of it falling off my credit report is 2013. I want it off sooner, but the catch is i want to pay it off by settling for about 250(all i can afford)on the 927 dollar original sued amount its been six years and indiana puts 8% annum on public judgements. I want to pay what i can just to make good on my past due debt. It was before laws came in place when they would give teenagers credit cards like crazy,I was 19, no proof of work was given when i applied for card, they asked me to apply i said ok, being a teenager. Credit card company sold debt to world credit fund iii, which i think is now defunct, but the law firm that handles junk debt still exsits that represented the Credit agency, should i just wait it out or try settling it. Oh i pulled up the case online and there was on order on wage garnishment entered in july of 2007, but i never had any wages garnished, can they still come after my wages even though it so old?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jerre – Yes, with a judgment they can obtain lien, bank levy, or garnishment as allowed for in your state.
      With the interest that has accumulated, settling a judgment for 250.00 is not a realistic expectation.
      I know you want the judgment off your credit, but even settling it is not going to do that. Neither the attorney who sued you, not the creditor they were working for (now closed anyway) can remove the judgment form the court record. It is the court record of the judgment that created the judgment entry on the credit report.

      If it were me in your shoes, I would wait until I had about half of what the judgment balance is now before doing anything. Contacting the law firm now, without a realistic offer, may just wake them up to the fact you have money and want to resolve this, which could lead to more collection action like the garnishment you are concerned about.

      Something else to consider is that if the debt owner that hired the firm is out of business, you do not know who has the debt anymore. The attorney who sued you may not know either.

  107. I just recieved a letter in the mail form my employer that my paycheck will be garnished 25% beginning with my next pay. this is from midland funding llc. all these court papers are attached to it as well. thats 185 bucks out of my pay that i cant afford! barely scrape by as it is.its for 3,000,i believe. a credit card debt. i live in ohio and im not sure of the last date i made a says kathleen a. hahner of javitch,block and rathbone,llc. i guess thats the law firm. what can i do>?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Michael – First things first – were you aware that you were sued? I ask because there are far too many instances where a debt buyer hires an attorney to sue, but they did not serve you. They get a default judgment and you did not even know about the suit.
      Next – There is typically a cap on the amount of money that can be garnished from your paycheck. 25% is about as high as a garnishment for judgment like this will reach. But there are also guidelines the court will use to exempt you from garnishment. For instance, if you make below a certain amount, the court will not allow the garnishment, or will reduce the amount from 25% to say 12%.

      With the documents you received that you mention above, there will generally be some instructions for you to follow to get in front of the court in order to qualify for exemption from garnishment, or a reduction of what can be garnished. This would not make the judgment noncollectable though. If you are able to qualify for the exemption, you should still work toward a solution to resolve the judgment, like settling it when you have saved up enough to make a reasonable offer.

  108. I reside in Franklin county just a few minutes from downtown Columbus.

  109. No,i wasnt aware. if something came in the mail it probably got tossed by me or my girlfriend.if it isnt a bill or really important looking,it usually does get tossed. i dont know of another way they would have contacted me. by phone? i dont answer “unknown” numbers. this was signed off by my payroll supervisor. theres a page stating how much i roughly make per 2 weeks and they came up with the sum of 185 per pay period. theres 4 copies of the affidavit all stamped and signed by the judge and my payroll lady. oh,ok. i see it now,explaingin i have within 5 business days to dispute and they will set up a hearing. if i do get a hearing,what do i say? basically how this is going to screw ,me over and i may have to move out of my house? i dont know what works in this situation. is then i would barter with them for how much i can actually afford? thank you,for yer help. do you get paid to just give awesome advice to people?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Michael – okay. If I were you in this situation I would look to do the following:

      1. File dispute notice immediately and get hearing. Your goal will be that you cannot afford the judgment garnishment amount and should be considered for a reduction based on your expenses, situation etc. I would also look for a way to slip into the dispute the fact that you were not aware you were sued and were never served notice of the lawsuit – just for good measure.

      2. Midland Funding is a debt buyer. That is who sued you. They have a history of shoddy practices. Javitch Block and Rathbone I personally have nothing but good experiences with when working with them to resolve consumer debt issues. Lawsuits generally require personal service. This is often done by a sheriff or a licensed process server showing up at your door. It is not typically done through the mail. Something happened with notifying you of the suit. You need to get a copy of the court record (go to the court house and look it up), and see who signed off on serving you the lawsuit, at what address, on what day, and who they handed the lawsuit to. Match all that information up with where you lived at the time etc. My guess is that you are going to find errors.

      3. Take these errors and leverage them to:
      a. get the judgment set aside
      b. get an agreement not to garnish or levy a bank account as long as you pay a set amount that you can afford each month
      c. contact an attorney in your area with collection defense experience to assist you in setting aside the judgment and to look at your situation to see if there is anything actionable they can use to fight back.
      d. prepare a well thought out chronology of the events leading up to today and as more occurs and depending on how things play out, be prepared to file complaints with Midland Funding and perhaps Javitch Block and Rathbone’s new regulator – The CFPB (lets find out how poorly things look after you look up how the court record reflects you were served the original lawsuit).

      I know it is a stretch to afford the help of an attorney given what you said about affording the 185.00 cut in paycheck, but you may need some help on 3a above. Getting the judgment set aside is how you will find yourself in a better position to deal with this on your terms.
      It is important to figure out when a payment was last made to the original creditor on this account. If you know that date, and the statute of limitations (SOL) in your state for legitimately being sued on this type of debt, it may mean getting the judgment set aside could put the debt outside the SOL. Then you are really able to deal with this on your terms.

      You would not be going to a garnishment exemption hearing to barter about what you can afford. The court has a set mathematical criteria for exempting you fully or partially from a garnishment on a judgment.

      What is the nearest large city to you? Let me know and I will look up some attorneys with the experience you need and email you contact information.

      I do not get paid to post answers and feedback to CRN site readers. The site and CRN itself is moving more into publishing on line. We are about halfway through publishing our free online debt relief system. We hope that will help a whole lot of people too, and for free.

      If you are any reader on the site finds value from this site, I only ask that you share the pages and posts through social media like twitter, google plus, face book and other such sites. In other words – spread the word.

  110. well,i live in youngstown but the next closest city would be akron,or cleveland. man,im really intimidated/frustrated. i mean,i know its my own damn fault,but still

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Michael – Email with contact info for a few attorneys sent.

      I hear you on the frustrated part. You should have had an opportunity to come to terms with this before a judgment was entered and a garnishment with your job. You were not given that opportunity and now have to go through all of this additional crap that should not have occurred. You are not at fault for this part of it. This is why I want you to know what went wrong with serving you and looking up the court record, also why I want you to keep good notes from as far back as falling behind with payments originally all the way to getting the notice of a judgment and garnishment and what happens from today forward. People should not have to go through this.

      Try not to be intimidated by any of this. It is just math to a debt buyer like Midland Funding, and just a contract to collect a debt to Javitch. You are the one whose life is hit hard by this. Lets work it out one step at a time.

  111. I live in Texas and today I found out that a company is planning to file a lawsuit against me. The original debt was with Bank of America in 2004. The credit limit was $300 and now being charged over $7000. They offered to settle for $3017. If not they would move forward with the lawsuit. I was made aware of this because they contacted my job and my aunt. I never received a phone call or letter personally.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Brenda – Was the last payment made on the account in 2004? What is the name of the collection agency contacting you? What was said to your Aunt or co workers about the debt?

      The above are important questions to answer because:
      1. If the debt is past the statute of limitations you will have far less to be concerned about.
      2. There are laws that protect you from bad debt collector behavior.

      I would like to connect you with resources in Texas that can help you and also provide you some feedback that will eliminate any stress you may have about this. Please answer my questions by posting a comment reply.

  112. Thanks for the reply. If i come up with half the amount with the interest added, should i go to the court first and see who has the debt now? Would they know this? Also there was a article in a paper about how corrupt our small claims court in our state were. They stated that the small claims court buddy buddy up with the credit agencies in lawsuits and favor them. The credit agencies go in at once in mass lawsuits, the courts make so much money off of their filings, thats why the favor them. They know that even if the consumer was served or not served they rarly show up because they are not aware as how to fight back. So default judgements are awarded in the creditors favor. Even if a default judgement was awarded against me, don’t they have to send something stating that my wages are in garnishment to me or even to my employer? i’ve been at the same job since they initiated that wage garnishment per court documents online and my employeer, not even corporate payroll has contacted saying they are after my check. If i knew about this lawsuit i would’ve fought it. The credit card was from when i was a teenager (19) when they would target young adults, no income verification was even given. I know there are laws against this now. How can I fight this, can i fight this, or is it just too late? Im not trying to deny this debt completly, i’m willing to work with them, but we know these CA are voltures, i wish i knew how to fight back. Ive learned so much just from this website alone

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The court record will show who the judgment was entered in favor of. The court really wont care one way or another if you ask for that information. If the original judgment creditor is not who has the debt today, the court will not have a clue where to direct you other than the attorney of record on the file. Find out who filed the lawsuit (the plaintiff) and post that in a comment reply and lets work with that information.
      I hear you on the churning of debt collection cases in small claims and other courts. Thing is, the court gets their fee for the filing whether people show up to fight it or not. 90% or more don’t though.

      I would love to encourage you to fight this. The thing is, the math does not add up to do so in cases like this. To effectively fight something like this would mean working with an attorney who has experience in this kind of thing. That will cost money. In many small balance judgment cases, the cost of hiring an attorney to defend or back out the judgment due to lack of service is more than what it would cost to settle. This fact just sucks. I applaud anyone willing to set the math aside and take this up on principle.

      Yes, you would typically be noticed of any garnishment by your employer. You should be given an option to dispute the garnishment if/when that happens. I encourage people to be proactive in resolving this type of thing (whenever possible), before a garnishment occurs.

  113. I honestly dont remember but I am sure there was no payment made after 05. The guy said his name was Robert Carmello from Performance Asset Recovery. They told my aunt that they were trying to get ahold of me to give me legal paper work to take me to court. The person that called my workplace was Micheal Jones and he stated to my HR department that they wanted them to verify my address to accept a supeona. HR refused and told them no to call back.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Brenda – Given what you shared I believe you are being victimized. If the last payment made on the account was in 2005, the statute of limitations to legitimately sue you will have likely expired – the SOL in Texas is 4 years. Threats of suing you would appear to be a harassment tactic at his point.
      The calls to your family and work are a problem as well.

      I am sending you an email with contact information for an attorney in Texas who has experience in collection violations. I want you to call her and ask her for her opinion on your issues.

      I have serious doubts that you are going to be sued on this debt, but you will rest a heck of a lot easier after speaking to the consumer attorney.

  114. Do you have an accounting of the payments you have made? I have an accounting of all payment I have made to Nathan Nathan and the court house.
    Do you know if there is an interest rate being applied to the unpaid portion of the judgment? I don’t think their is in interest rate being applied. We did not go before the judge we settle a payment outside the court room.
    It would be unusual if it is the attorney firm calling to ask for a larger payment. When he or she call they identify themself from Nathan nathan.
    Who is calling to get more money from you? Nathan nathan, p.c Birmingham Al.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Mary – Thanks for the additional details. It is off that the attorney collection firm is calling at all when there are payments being made on the judgment directly to the court. If the payment is one that was agreed to by the court, I do not know what they hope to accomplish after you have told them once that 60.00 is all you can afford for payments toward the judgment.

      You may want to consider sending the debt collector a cease communication letter. The letter may stop the calls. The danger of sending a cease communication letter is that it leaves a debt collector no other means to communicate other than a lawsuit to collect. There is no danger of that in your situation as the case has already been in court and a judgment is in place.

      I reviewed our comment exchange and could not see where you answered if there is interest being charged on the judgment. If there is, you should consider what options you have to increase your payments. Making smaller payments on large judgments when interest is being added could mean you are not making much headway on paying off the judgment.

  115. I have judgments filed in 2008 and 2009 by Capital One for $5100 total…They have garnished my back account so I have not put any money in there..The last notice I received from collections these are now over $9000…I am finally at a point to try and negotiate with them. Would it be bad to offer them half of the amount owed at the time I stopped paying.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Cindy – It is not bad to make an offer to settle your judgments. I will say that given the creditor, it would be more realistic to offer to settle with half of the current balance.
      3 years of interest on judgment debts ads up quickly. Nearly doubling is a bit of a stretch. Do you have a copy of the judgment? Can you look at it and post a comment reply with what interest is being charged?

  116. Lorena Alamo says:

    hello, I need help! I worked so hard to pay off all my bad debts and found that i have a judgment in the amount of $8705. This debt was under my father’s name (co-signer) and myself. My father filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and included this debt but it appears on my credit report and not satisfied, will i still be responsable for this debt?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Lorena – If the debt was in your name (co-signer or not), and there is a judgment in your name, the judgment creditor can still come after you to collect. With a judgment in place that could mean garnishment, lien, or bank levy.
      I have some questions:
      Were you aware of the judgment?
      Who was the original creditor?
      Who sued, the creditor or a debt buyer?
      What is the name of the law firm that sued?
      What state do you live in?

      If you can answer those questions in a comment reply, I will have some more feedback.

  117. Hi, I received a summoned few weeks ago for a Sam’s credit card I stop paying in 2010. In 2011, I made payment arrangements for 6 months $100 a month. Before I ended up with the last payment, my mom felt the stairs and was at the hospital for about 3 months, even thoug, I made the last payment. With all this medical cost (I paid all her medicines) I couldn’t make new payment arrangement. After I received the court letter, I called the law office (Blatt, Hasenmille, Leibsker & Moore LLC) that is representing Portofolio Recovery Associates and made new payments arrangements for a year. I live in Illinois and my question is, do I still have to show up in court? I called the law office today and the lady told me that it’s my decision to go or not, either way the lawyers will be there and they will notify the judge that I made payments agreements and a judgement will be set up either way against me. She assured that they will not obtain a lien (my house is not under my name) bank levy (I share the banck accound with my husband) or garnishment wage. My court day is Monday 11/19. Can you please help? Thank you !!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Enza – I read your comment to say that you were current on your payment arrangements for the last year and that Portfolio Recovery Associates is having Blatt, Hasenmille, Leibsker & Moore LLC sue you anyway. That would make them a bunch of assholes. Sorry for being crude, but I cannot think of a better way to express myself if this is what is happening. This kind of thing happens to others, but it doesn’t change my opinion of suing someone when they are making payments that they agreed to.
      You should definitely go to court. If I understand what you wrote correctly, you now know that neither Portfolio Recovery Associates or Blatt, Hasenmille, Leibsker & Moore should be trusted to tell your side of the story correctly, or at all.

  118. I live in Oklahoma

    Here is the info from the court records FILE JUDGMENT FOR PLAINTIFF IN SUM OF $2646.37, INT. OF $580.61, COURT COST OF $259.30, ATT. FEES OF $200.00 W.INT TIL PAID IN FULL


    I am not sure I don’t have the last notice that Love, Beal and Nixon sent me.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Cindy – You can see by what you provided that interest is being charged but not the rate. Oklahoma appears to have a unique way of calculating interest on judgment debt by adding 4% to the prior years US Treasury bill rate. It is not inconceivable that the balances could balloon this high. I would be interested to see how they are coming up with their figures.

      Lets assume you are dealing with 9k of total judgment debt owed. Are you prepared to offer 4500.00 and fund that quickly? If not, and if the only collection efforts have been to levy your bank account (which you have learned to navigate), you could certainly make an offer lower than 50% on the judgments. Just be prepared to need more in order to settle the judgments – and be able to get your hands on the cash you need if you do get a deal you can live with.

      50% settlement on judgment debt with Capital One is actually an optimistic figure. One that is possible when the judgments are older and collection efforts have been unsuccessful – like in your case.

  119. They can’t garnish my wages I work for an Indian tribe and they don’t recognize garnishments..I will contact the attorneys that have it and see what I can do..Thanks again for your assistance

  120. I have another question..the bank account that has the garnishment is at the credit union which my husband is the member. If he has my name removed do they have to remove the garnishment

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Debt collectors find and associate bank accounts using name and social security numbers. If those are not on the account, or your not an account holder, you should be in the clear. Mistakes happen though. If you want to further remove the risk of another levy, consider opening a new account in just your husbands name. Once you resolve the judgment, you can get added to the account.

  121. True it really wouldn’t add up to fight this..alone anyways, unless i find others in my area in the same situation. The debt owed is relatively small compared to most since its only about 1400 with interest added. I will try to settle for half or so but bargain with about 40% initially. You are absolutly correct, this matter should’ve been handled before it went into an order for wage garnishment, thing is i hadn’t gotten anything to say my wages were under garnishment, other wise i would’ve woke up and fought it then. Wage garnishment ordered by court in 2007, never had anything taken out of paycheck so five years have passed since any action has taken place. Am i waking a sleeping bear? The attornies in the lawsuit are Bowman, Heintz, Boscia P.C
    Here is what i printed out online from public records…..
    events & orders of the court
    8/8/06 Converted event
    9/21/06 Converted event
    default judgement
    11/02/06 Converted event
    continued indefinitely
    1/4/07 converted event
    order to workforce development to produce empolyment records granted
    6/14/07 converted event
    motion for supplemental proceedings
    7/27/07 final order in wage garnishment

    thats it, thats where its done…nothing else further than that date.
    the plantiff is world credit fund is owned under Worldzen i belive when i did a little research
    I want to settle for as little as possible at a reasonable and fair price, Should i go ahead and write the attorney if i can come up with at least half to negotiate and settle with?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jerre – I found a fair amount of collection lawsuit activity involving World Credit Fund. It all seems to drop off a cliff a couple years ago. There is a World Credit Investor in IL that may still be active, and which may/may not be related and a successor to World Credit Fund.
      I typically do not suggest writing and sending letters to negotiate. Phone calls are the preferred way to instigate the discussion. Getting everything documented once you have an agreement is absolutely necessary, but that’s at the tail end.
      Having half the amount ready to fund a settlement on the judgment is how I would prepare myself. I would certainly start at a lower figure. If I hit a lower target and agreement great. If not, I was still prepared.

  122. This comment has been moved in order to create a new post related to being sued by a debt buyer, but never knowing about it, and finding out years later there is a judgment. You can read the post here:

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Chimarrah – I have a special request of you. Would you consider starting a new post with your issues? You would only need to copy and past your above comment into the background field and pose a related question. You can do so here:

      I can provide you feedback about your situation. I also want to use my feedback as an opportunity to highlight very real concerns for the debt buyer butterfly affect to local and the national economy when stupid stuff like what happened (is happening) to you.

      Your creating a new post will help me do that.

      Can you help me?

  123. Hello Michael,

    I just posted my question on the new thread.

  124. Thank you !! I really appreciate your comment and taking the time to respond.

  125. I have a judgement against me from a bank credit card. I tried to work out a payment plan with them, however, I was not able to meet the payments, and it went to judgement. The city is having to purchase part of my property to widen the road I live on, and they say that the judgement will have to be paid, and the amount that has to be paid is around $16,000.00. Today I received a letter from a debt collector representing the bank who issued the credit card, and the amount they seek for payment is around $10,500.00. When the sale of the property closes, would it be possible for the closing attorney to pay the debt collector the lesser amount, instead of the higher amount? The collection agency says to make payment in the name of the bank that issued the credit card. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thank you in advance for any help that you can provide!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      John – Yes, what you are suggesting is possible. I have worked out this type of arrangement many times before. It is going to be a matter of timing and cooperation. Here are some thing you need to be aware of:

      1. The letter you have offering a lower payoff to settle the judgment likely has a date good till on it. The closing and funds availability needs to be in line with paying the settled judgment in time with that letter.

      2. The judgment creditor/debt collector should not get wind of any funds coming from the closing unless they are getting every penny of it. The reason this is sensitive is because they will know they will get paid out at closing if there is enough cash to pay the judgment in full.

      The attorney that sued, or the debt collector that is now following up on judgment collection, can be contacted for a new letter with a date paid by that is consistent with the closing and availability of funds to be sent by the closing attorney. You just need to be certain of the funding timeline to make this work. Give yourself a couple weeks whenever possible to account for delays.

      You can call the judgment collector yourself, or the attorney you are working with can, in order to get a new letter and date. Just do not mention the funding source, only that you can probably get your hands on the money given enough time. If the attorney is known for closing on real estate I would not recommend them making the call.

      From what you shared in your comment, it sounds like this offer to settle judgment for less was unprovoked. That is common. What it tells you is that they moved first. A maxim in negotiations is that he who moves first loses. This could mean a call and request for a new letter could also include negotiation for an even lower pay off than was contained in their initial offer.

      Who was the original creditor? Who was the attorney they hired? How old is the judgment?

  126. The original creditor was Branch Banking and Trust.

    The debt collector is SRA Associates, Inc. I do not remember the attorney that BB&T originally hired, but I can find that information if you think it is important.

    It has been a little over a year since I was served with the papers regarding the judgement being filled.

    The amount they are seeking is just about what was owed on the credit card when it was closed.

  127. Michael,

    Just a few updates to your questions:

    The judgement papers were filed in June, 2010.

    The original atttorney who filed for BB&T was Rogers, Townsend, and Thomas (located here in Charlotte, NC).

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I would encourage you to make the call on your own in order to structure the amount you will pay and the timing of it. Just coordinate very closely with the closing/funding and be sure they know what you are doing and that they should not send out a pay off request to the creditor. If you want some coaching on this you are welcome to enroll as a CRN member. For what you have going there is no question to value for membership.

      Do you have an estimated date for the funding?

  128. Michael,

    Thank you so much for the information you’ve provided.

    I will contact the debt collector myself, see what I can negotiate as far as a settlement, and request a new letter with a pay-by date that is further out than my closing date by at least a few weeks.

    I will also let the city know that the judgement should be paid to the debt collector, and not to send a pay off request to BB&T. This is where I fear there may be a hitch to the plan. Since it is the city purchasing the property, they might have to request a pay off amount from BB&T, but I will see what they say if I present them with a letter from the debt collector for a lower amount.

    I should have an estimated closing date sometime this coming week.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      That is fast. What is the date of the current letter you have? You may want to consider giving that to the city/closing attorney to show that this is for real and that you are not going to affect their timelines or work flow (people can get weird about anything that is not part of the normal work flow).
      On line help from this site is available no charge. Just post if you have questions after talking to SRA.

  129. I will show them the current letter I have. There is no pay by date on it. The closing will not happen this week, but probably in the next month. I certainly do appreciate the advice you have provided.

  130. Birdie Fuller says:

    due to medical bills (2 liver transplants) and meds at 1,000 a bottle I could not longer pay credit card bills which total 28,000 dollars. I got a defaut judgment and would like to know what comes next. I was out of the state for the court date and sent a letter to the court, but they went ahead with the judgment, anyway. My home is paid for and I am on social security. My home is all I have left. My husband died shortly after the second liver transplant. I have transfered 95% of my personal belongings to my daughters house so they cant get that, and I have an old car that is paid for.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Birdie – If your only income is social security, and that is all that is ever deposited into your bank account, there is nothing much left for the judgment creditor to do other than place a lien on the home. Eventually they would get paid when you sell the home, refinance, or when your estate is liquidated. The debt is not going anywhere, but if you aren’t either, I am not sure that there is much for you to do about the judgment right now.

      If you are looking for a method to manage the judgment, let me know in a comment reply who the original creditor was, when you last paid on the account, who sued you (the creditor or a debt buyer), the name of the law firm that was hired to get the judgment, and the balance owed on the judgment.

      Once you post that information we can go from there.

  131. Birdie Fuller says:

    Sorry, I did not tell you that I live in Indiana

  132. My credit card account through B of A, was sent to a lawfirm to collect payment. At that time I contacted them to set up a settlement. The balance was $8000 and I offered $3000 sent overnight to them. The representative from the law firm told me she would have to get back with me. She countered with $4000. I told her I couldnt do anymore than a $3000 lump sum payment. She once again told me that she would have to get back with me. She never did, nor will she send me anything via mail or email.
    My wages have now been garnished for 2 months now. My next court date is this Tuesday. I have now began to fall behind on my house payment and have letters from the bank stating this. What should I expect on Tuesday? Can I offer an offer in court?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Mike – I want to understand your situation a little better. When you offered settlement had you already been sued or not? Were you aware of a lawsuit? I am asking because your comment goes from a settlement discussion to being garnished and a pending court date. The garnishment would mean there was a judgment entered against you on the Bank of America debt.

      Please post your answers in a comment reply and I will have more feedback.

  133. When a settlement was talked about. I had not been sued. An exchange between the collectors (law firm) and myself had been going on for about a month. I was unaware of the suit being brought against me until about 2 weeks before the first court day (which was in June) I was unable to attend that date (was not able to take off work….I know… I know, in hindsight!…but I did call the court and tell them) At that court date it was decided that a garnishment should occur. So for the past few months I have had 25% of my pay taken out. I called the collector (law firm) and tried to set up a settlement, However they told me that my initial settlement offer was approved, but they couldnt get a hold of me to tell me the good news. They then went on to say that they now wanted $6500 and wanted me to provided them with pay stubs, banking info, bills, etc before they would talk to me. I asked for this and all info. be sent to me via email or snail mail, but they said they will not send anything by mail or email. I did not provide them with anything. So tomorrow is my return to court date for….I am not sure why as I can not get an answer from anyone. I should have hired someone I guess, but I thought I could handle it myself. Will they offer me a settlement, continue to take 25%, will the judge be involved or will it just them against me? I dont know what to expect…I have about $800 I could take with me to give in addtion to the $2900 they have now garnished, or if I should present my cause as…I am now unable to make my full mortgage payments because of this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Mike – Thanks for the additional detail. You are not in a great spot given what you explained. With a judgment and garnishment in place you will likely be paying it off in full over a period of time. There is not motivation to negotiate a settlement on the judgment when they are guaranteed to get paid as long as you have that job. They even get to collect interest on the judgment in most cases.
      You may have a shot of getting the garnishment reduced based on your states rules. You need to be prepared to discuss that with the court. You should definitely go to court and bring up the inability to pay your mortgage. Be prepared to discuss all relevant household income and expenses.
      They already have a garnishment. Giving them the 800.00 would not make sense when it could be applied to your mortgage.
      I generally suggest speaking with a debt collection defense attorney, but with less than 24 hours before your appearance in court….
      If I were in your shoes I would be focused on how you can get the garnishment reduced.

      Bankruptcy would stop the garnishment if things are just that far out of proportion. But if this judgment is the only problem debt you have, filing for bankruptcy protection may not make sense.

      It would be great if you post an update and let me know what happened in court tomorrow.

  134. Hello Michael,
    I came across this site while looking for an answer to a concern I have. In one of your replies to a poster you stated:

    “You do have a bank account with your name and social connected to it – joint with your husband. The bank account is where your risk of judgment collection is. If you remove your name from the account, you remove the risk.”

    I am unemployed, but the creditors do not know that yet. it is my understanding by reading all of this thread that creditors can garnish wages, levy bank accounts, and place a lien on property. However, there is no reference to folks that live in “community property” states, such as I do(Washington). I am married, if I remove my name from our bank account, do they leave my spouse alone? The debt I have is only in my name. I have read on other sites that creditors can even seek wage/bank garnishments from my spouse, considering the common law state we live in. Do you have any input on these types of situations?



    • Michael Bovee says:

      Rob – Collection of judgment debt in community property states will vary from one state to the next. Generally, if the debt was incurred by the spouse prior to marriage, the debt may not be part of the community of debts. Wage garnishment and bank levy will typically be targeted to who was sued. If your spouse is not named in the suit, it would be unlikely to be at risk of garnishment or a bank levy on an account only in your spouses name.
      You should speak with an experience debt collection defense attorney in your state to get definitive answers.

  135. Correction, in incorrect added “common law state” at the last part of my post, I meant community property state.


  136. I wonder why is it that they are bringing me in front of the court again tomorrow, if they have a garnishment in place?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It could be to add insult to injury. Having an asset hearing to see how else they can collect from you. Shocking… I know.
      The document flow up to this point would probably paint a picture of what the hearing is about. My comment is speculative.

  137. A couple of months ago, I received a summons and contacted the lawyer and made payment arrangements of $50 to prevent going to court and having a judgment, as I am on SSDI, and a full-time student, 39 yrs old with one child in college, on a scholarship, and another in high school. The attorney’s office accepted my offer and the next thing I know, I receive a judgment from the court because I didn’t show up, as it had already been taken care of. I made the first payment and was told that the others would be automatic drafts, except they didn’t happen. Today, I received a certified letter stating that a judgment lien has been placed against my vehicle (which is paid off) and is in mine and my husband’s name (we’re separated) and another vehicle (his name only) that is on the property. I am not even aware of what a judgment lien is. Are they going to take my car? This is my only means of transportation. The paper says that the total judgment is for $3,056.01 and a cost of $225. 30 I don’t work and my only income is from my SSDI and from child support. The judgment creditor is from Unifund (whom I never had a credit card with) c/o Greenberg and Greeberg attorneys. I live in Maine.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kelly – Unfortunately you are dealing with a debt buyer in Unifund who just seems to be unreasonable when they go out an collect on debts from consumers in circumstance like yours.

      You are entitled to certain exemptions from forced payment of the judgment Unifund got. You will need to find out what those are when it comes to the vehicle. Your SSDI cannot be garnished, but I am not certain of an exemption for your child support funds.

      In most instances you will have to notice the court that you would like a hearing to show exemptions from different ways the judgment can be collected. You may qualify for low income legal aid given your limited income. Please reach out to any low income legal aid office in your area and seek help with what to do next on this.

      If you run into more issues post a comment update.

  138. I owe a balance to an apartment complex I had in college. The apartment complex took me to court and obtained a judgment. When I look on my credit report I only owe about $800 but the lawyer’s office that is handling my file states I owe them $1900. The judgment has been on my credit for 7 years now. They have not attempted to garnish my wages or put a lien against my bank accounts. I want to know if it would be possible for me to make a settlement offer to pay this debt. I was a resident of VA at the time.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Nicole – You can certainly negotiate a settlement on the judgement. I would suggest you be ready to pay at least half of the inflated amount. Judgments often have interest attached to them. That is why the amount grew.

  139. Hello, I just received a notice of hearing for February 2013. An attorney Office Cohen & Associates PC in MA have filed for a motion for approval of trustee process to attach wages and request for permission for succesive service. It states in an affidavit that I the defendant is being taken to court by this law office that represents Midland Funding LLC. I’m not sure what credit card this debt originated from as it does not state it anywhere in the affidavit. It states that I owe $3414.23 plus court costs and continuing statutory interest. My first question to you is, do I have the right to call them before the court date and ask where this debt originated from? Also I don’t believe I received notification of an original court date, does this mean that since they have already won judgement against me and will be able to garnish my wages on the said court date? I’m not sure what to do.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Key – You certainly can contact Cohen and Associates and learn more details about the debt Midland Funding bought and is now suing for. If you do make that call, I would encourage you to keep your conversation limited to the nature of the debt only. That is, unless you are prepared to have a discussion about resolving the account.
      With what is at stake, and also because you mentioned you were not aware of court dates etc, I would encourage you to speak with an experienced debt collection defense attorney. Are you in Massachusetts?

  140. Michael, thanks for responding back so quickly. Yes, I am in MA.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You bet.
      If you can tell me the closest large city near you, I will send you an email with attorney contact information. Consumer attorneys generally offer a free initial consult. That means the price is right, and the information you learn could prove very useful.

  141. I live in Boston MA, If I were to call them with an offer of $2000 to settle the judgement do you think they will accept or would they still want to go to court?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Key – I just sent you an email with contact info for a few consumer attorneys in Boston.
      Yes, done correctly, I do believe you can settle the account for around 2k. I just settled a CRN members Midland lawsuit yesterday for a little under 50%, these kind of deals are possible.
      Sometimes this stuff is situational though. The issue with your file that may make for a larger settlement amount will be an existing judgment and what they know about you, your income, and other details. If they see that they can get paid out in full, they will go that direction.
      Make a call to an attorney I sent you and see if you learn something that suggests other steps to take.

  142. I have a levy on my checking account, so I withdrew all the money from the account. If I use my family checking account to pay bills, can the creditors track that to my families checking account and start garnishing their accounts? I won’t have my name put on my families account, but I need to pay my student loans and I don’t want to open up another checking account (so it would be like someone else is paying the bills for me).

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Crystal – If you are not on the family members account, the account would not be attachable.

      What is the bank account levy being caused by? Do you have a judgment against you?

  143. susan mills says:

    I have a medical bill that ended up in a collection agency. They wanted to sue me, but I made arrangements to pay. They would only accept 45 dollars a week, even though I told them it was a hardship.

    I have paid (sometimes 90 dollars every two weeks, and a couple of times 180 dollars for the whole month) for almost a year. The payments equal what I agreed to. Two weeks ago they sent papers saying I had to go back to court so I could tell they judge that they could take my tax returns. (they can’t, uncle sam has first dibbs, due to errors made by my ex-husband, I still owe the IRS $12,000.00).

    Then, today, they sent me papers saying they were going to garnish my wages. I’ve been paying all along, can they do this?
    Can I negotiate a pay-off with them? What are my options? I don’t want the humiliation of having my wages garnished. I pay all of my bills on time now that I am divorced, this is really bothering me.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Susan – You start off with “They wanted to sue me” and later add that they want to go back to court. Was there a judgment entered in the court as a stipulated agreement that went along with your initial payment agreement?

      You can negotiate a pay off with them. If there is a judgment, and a pending garnishment hearing, the savings will not be that great. If you were to beat a garnishment at the hearing because you qualify for exemptions from judgment garnishment in your state, the negotiation would likely yield better results.

      You should learn what the judgment garnishment exemptions are and see if you can tackle that, or consider making a settlement offer on the judgment.

      How much was the judgment for originally?
      What judgment interest is being applied?
      What is the judgment balance as of now?
      What state do you live in?

  144. This comment has been moved. The comment, my replies, and a full discussion about settling debt with Asset Acceptance (a large national debt buyer) can be found here:

  145. Discover Card filed a suit against me. Though I never received any documents that were served b/c I had left the house that I owned (that was in foreclosure at the time) before the suit was filed. They apparently left the documentation on the porch (this is what the people told me that were staying at the house at the time). They then garnished my account (which was almost down to nothing anyways) once, so I left the account alone b/c I couldn’t close it. So to clarify, if I pay my student loans out of an account that my name is not on, they can not go after that account holder even though my bills are being paid out of it?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Crystal – I have never come across a situation where a bank account had been levied to enforce payment on a judgement, where the bank account was held exclusively by a person from date opened (to current date), and this person is not a party to the judgment, and this person were not a spouse of the judgment debtor, living in a community property state, who was also named in a suit.

      Here is an example of how I read your comments so far:

      You have a judgment against you after having been sued for collection on a Discover credit card debt you could no longer keep up with paying.
      You want to deposit money into a family members bank account (lets say its your brothers), in order to pay your student loan from that account.

      I do not see any problem with that at all. The only way the judgment creditor would know about this arrangement would be if you told them, or they called you in for an asset hearing and they asked you how you were paying bills or something.

      Now that you have further commented about how this judgment was effectuated, I have concerns that you were denied due process and not given the opportunity to handle this before it reached a judgment.

      When was the judgment entered? In what state? When had you last made a payment on the discover account?

  146. hi michael,

    i’m at a crossroads here. i lost my job in mid-october last month and am collecting unemployment insurance benefits (very grateful!). i owned a home, but let it go into foreclosure earlier this year because i truly couldn’t afford to keep making mortgage payments. though i tried four times to negotiate the payments and my lender, Wells Fargo, lost my paperwork EVERY time and only took me halfway seriously when i just flat-out stopped making payments. at that time (in april), they offered a $50 payment reduction per month! i gave up. i told them i was letting it go, they put the house up for auction october 23rd, nobody bought it so they bought it back (or took full possession). that’s done. my credit is in the crapper, and i accept it.

    back to my current situation – i owe a total of about $8000 on three credit cards. prior to losing my job, i paid more than the minimum on each of them. now i am struggling with just paying the minimum and feel like letting them go. my credit is already ruined. should i really keep trying to pay these cc’s off??? i have no idea when i will be re-employed and am certain i will not make my former salary. should i contact the cc’s and try to settle my payments, explaining my unemployment and also foreclosure of my home? i have next to no money to use as settlement. i couldn’t even pay $1000 right now if (as a collective) they agreed to $1000 settlement on $8000, which i’m assuming is laughable anyway.

    can you provide any advice? here are the balances on these cards and APRs:

    Citi = $4000 at 0% (that was a 24-month rate due to go up in january 2013 to a rate similar to below)
    HSBC = $2750 at 19.99%
    Discover = $975 at 22.99% (was 0% up until this month, when the introductory rate expired)

    i am at about 97% maxed on the three cards combined. feel like i’m being swallowed. :(

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Erina – I do have some detailed feedback for you to consider. I would ask a favor of you before digging in. Would you mind starting a new post with your comments and question?
      The reason I ask is that this page is more about dealing with judgment debt and lawsuits. I would like to provide some informative and detailed feedback more specific to your scenario and keep things on this page focused on judgment concerns.
      If you are willing to help me out with this, please click here:
      You can copy and past your above comment and questions in the background field and submit. This will start a new page that I will see and respond to. I can then dedicate my response to you that will later benefit other site readers who are faced with a similar set of circumstances.

  147. Michael:

    I owe 2409.00 to Amex. a judgement was entered against me in court. That was a year ago. I just received a Writ of Execution and a letterof Exemption. It says take this immediately to a lawyer. Does that buy me sometime?


    Mike in PA

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Michael – I do not think you have bought any time. The letter of exemption sound like the type that accompanies notices of garnishment and the like (wage garnishment is not a real risk in Pennsylvania due to laws protecting you from that), that tells you you have a right to notice the court and request a hearing about your qualifications for exemption.

      What is your current ability to resolve the judgment by settling it in one payment, or making payment arrangements?

  148. I live in Denver,CO and am being sued by Machol & Johannes LLC for a Discover card. I cannot remember when I last used this card, I believe my last payment was in May or June 2007. They say I owe $6898, I believe it is around $5400. After being served, I attempted to negotiate a settlement to pay a lump sum of $2500-they refused this offer. I filed my answer back in August & was just notified of a 1/24/2013 court date. I DO NOT want a judgment as this is the last negative account on my credit. What do you think my chances are of winning my case? The law firm recently sent me an old bill from 1/31/2008 showing an internal charge-off of $6898.17; the letter also mentions they are willing to negotiate to “avoid spending further time and effort on this matter”. Thanks in advance for any assistance with this-truly terrifying!!! By the way, I have steady income but no assets!!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Elena – If you are being sued for the debt by Discover your 2500 settlement target is too low based on my experience. Discover has not been much for selling charged off credit card debt in recent years, but yours is pretty old. Can you reply and let me know if Discover is who is suing, or if there is someone else named in the compliant? That would possibly change my feedback a bit.

  149. I have a follow-up question from a previous question I asked you a couple of months ago. I am being sued by a law office called Shermata, Adams, & Von Allmen. I am being sued for a Capital One credit card that I became delinquent on.
    About a week after I filed my answer to the summons , I received a envelope in the mail that gave me the option to agree to a consent judgement. That way we would avoid court. I did some more research online after i received that envelope into the law office that is suing me and discovered that they do not have even close to a good reputation. Before that point I was going to call the attorney handling my case and try to work out a reasonable repayment schedule myself.However after reading how they treat people I decided not to.I did this because I read in the reviews that yeah they will work out a payment schedule with you ,but then after that they will either”somehow” miss deducting a payment on an already agreed upon date , or take out to much , or say they did not receive a payment.
    I decided on the pre-trail (which is this Thursday) to explain to the judge my circumstances and maybe get a result that is more in my favor. My question is should I contact the attorney now and see about making payment arrangements , or should I just wait until my pre-trial? No matter what I am going to the pre-trial even if they agree to a payment arrangement just so they can’t get a default judgement against me.
    Another question I have is if the attorney who is handling my case does not show up is there some way I can use that to my advantage. I am just wondering because her office is two hours away from where we have to go for court where it is fifteen minutes for me. If it helps I have received a couple of calls from the law office but they never leave messages , and quite frankly after reading the reviews I do not wish to try and work out a payment schedule on my own directly with them.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Barbara – I understand your reluctance to work out the payment arrangement with the law firm suing you with a consent to judgment. Going to court this week is certainly the right thing to do.
      When it comes to making the payments, whether it is through consenting to the judgment outside of the court, or having the payments run through the court, I would consider 2 things if I were in your shoes:

      Will working out the payment through the consent to judgment be at zero interest? If so, it may be better to work out the payment with the attorney outside of the court.
      Will the court appearance lead to a payment arrangement that you can live with through the court at zero interest, or with interest. If judgment interest is part of the deal, but the payments are applied through the court, you would have less of a concern with shenanigans, but would be paying more.

      If the attorneys do not show, you would have an opportunity to ask the court to dismiss the case through additional filings. Capital One will often have many cases lined up in the same court for the same day which allows them (the law firm) to economize time and appearances. They may also send a more local attorney for the appearance.

      Reading the negative posts you found about the law firm on the internet is a good caution flag. But you do still have to deal with them in one form or another.

  150. I live in Colorado, and I got a summons about a week ago, at my front door- presumably a process server. It’s from Machol & Johannes, LLC, with Capitol One listed as the plaintiff, and the court date is set for Dec. 20.
    They are suing me for $3,742. I opened the card back in 2008 and used it responsibly for a couple of years; I’ve had hardships since then and stopped paying it about a year ago in favor of rent and groceries. It was charged off maybe six months or so ago, and I was told by my credit repair advisor to leave it alone and work on the accounts that were still open.
    I have one other, smaller debt, which I have been making payments on. I would rather not file bankruptcy if I don’t have to– but I’m thinking it wouldn’t hurt me that much, since my credit is already damaged.
    I am nearly indigent; I just lost my job and my only income is $130/month in child support. I don’t own a home and my checking account currently has $15 in it. I own my 2001 car outright- no loan. So I have basically nothing for liquid assets or property for them to seize.
    What should I do? I have no money to repay this or make any kind of settlement agreement. Should I go to the court date and/or file an answer, or try something with verifying or discovery?

    Thank you so very much!!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Mel – I would definitely encourage you to speak with an attorney about your options with chapter 7 bankruptcy. With the very limited income you have, you really are not at risk from what could later be judgment collection efforts on the Capital One account. But you sure do not need to look over your shoulder about debts you cannot make a payment toward when food and shelter costs are the primary concern. With your limited income you should look to a low income legal aid office for further assistance on the Capital One lawsuit and the bankruptcy option. Hopefully there is one near by.
      Verifying a debt is an option used prior to a lawsuit. Filing an answer followed by Discovery would be the next step if you were going to defend against the suit. People have mixed results defending against debt buyer lawsuits on their own. Defending lawsuits brought by the original creditor on your own, like Capital One in this case, results are much poorer.

      Start with contacting the nearest low income legal aid office. Post an update with what you learn. Oh, and what did you mean by credit repair adviser?

  151. Hello,Michael. This is…Michael. Anyways,i had wrote on here a couple times back on Nov. 14 about recieving a letter about getting 25% garnishment on my wages from midland. I unfortunately cannot afford a lawyer and am going to have to do this on my own. i filed for a hearing right before thanksgiving. Took the paper to the courthouse stating in it that i was hoping to seek a reduction in the 25% garnishment as it would affect my income towards paying other bills and personal needs such as food and gas and that i am willing to pay just at a lower rate.I asked for a copy of the paper which showed who signed off on me being served to show up in court. turns out,they were trying to do it thru the mail and i was never home to sign for the documents so they said i refused to sign it. this was in ’09. the address was correct too for where i lived at the time. i guess what im getting at is,what do i do now? im gonna have to show up in court and im not sure what is going to transpire. how do i get this judge to try to see eye to eye with me? i have no way of finding out the last time i made a payment. i can only guess it was probably in ’08 but im not sure. i know you said this would help with the SOL but i just cant figure out how to pin point the last time i made a payment. any advice you can lend would be greatly appreciated. And also,thank you for the advice you have already given to me.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Michael – I really wish you were able to attack the judgment with an experienced attorney. It really kills me that lawsuit service gets glossed over like this. You are being sued by a debt buyer to boot, which there are many arguments an experienced attorney can bring to your defense.
      Showing up in court at this point to request payment relief will come down to what exemptions you qualify for that are largely set in stone, and what the judge may encourage.
      If I were in your shoes:
      Be honest about the hardships any payment over X amount on the judgment will cause. Mention that you were never even aware of a lawsuit to begin with until after the judgment and that you are not even sure about the amount the judgment is for being accurate, since it seems so far off from reality. You were basically denied the ability to defend the claims made by Midland Funding, who has a pattern of alleged collection fabrications as evidenced by their multi million dollar settlement with attorney generals in several states.
      If the attorney for Midland is there, even if by phone, you can perhaps mention you were unable to meet with an attorney about this shoddy service and never knowing about the lawsuit until after the judgment, but that you intend to. You could even mention that, while you are not certain yet, the debt may have been past the state statute of limitations. That may make them more agreeable to a payment amount you can afford. It certainly would not do any harm to use this strategy at this point.
      I would also think hard about any source of funds I could tap in order to settle the judgment for less than the balance owed. Midland does settle lawsuits and judgments. I completed one a couple days ago for just under 50%. That may not be the target on your debt, but I bring it up so that you know it is possible and can be accomplished on your own to boot.

  152. Michael,
    Thank You for your timely response to my question. As it gets closer to my court date I want to make sure I am prepared . So here is another question.
    When I received the consent judgement form in the mail the attorney included a cover page . On it in the very last paragraph she said that if I wanted to try and work out a settlement to contact her directly. From my limited knowledge is settlement where you try to come up with an agreement on a lump sum of money you will pay at once? Like if you owe $2.000 you might agree to pay $1,300? Which leads to my nest question.
    If I am correct in what a settlement means would that be a better route for me to try and go? I would only be able to go that way if I would still be allowed to make payments on the agreed amount.
    This past year was difficult for me with trying to pay my own bills and help keep my mom a float until March when she can receive Social Security.So my Capital One card is not the only card I became behind on. However, the other debt collectors for the other cards have been more than helpful in working out payment arrangements that I can afford to make. My one worry is that the either the law firm or court/judge will not be willing to be that helpful . That than worries me that I might have to file bankruptcy ,which I want to avoid if at all possible.
    Is there any advice/tips you can give me on this? My balance on my Capital One card is now close to $2,400 with the attorney fees. I would not be able to pay more than $60.00 a month to stay within my budget.
    Once again I very much appreciate all the helpful knowledge and advice I have received from you.It makes me feel more prepared and not so scared to go to court.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Barbara – Yes, settling this prior to judgment is as you suggest. You would offer a reasonable amount as lump sum to settle the lawsuit. Your ability to settle a lawsuit for less than what is be sued for, is more often going to be limited to either one or two payments. Settling this with the type of low monthly payment you need is just not likely. That is why they are offering the consent to judgment for the payments.
      I know you want to avoid bankruptcy, but if your budget is as stretched as it sounds, you really do owe it to yourself to talk about chapter 7 bankruptcy with an attorney. Most attorneys offer the initial consult they provide free of charge. If you qualify for chapter 7, and it does not create a scenario for you that you would rather avoid, you could discharge all of your unsecured debts and free up not only the monthly cash flow that would go to the consent judgment we are discussing, but the other monthly payment arrangements you have with debt collectors you mention.
      How much over all unsecured debt are you dealing with?

  153. I live in Missouri and I’m being sued by a collection agency, Midland Funding LLC, for “the principal balance of $703.88 together with interest at 9% per annum from May 22, 2012 and reasonable attorneys fees.” I noticed on the docket entries online that a motion for summary judgement has been filed today. My court date is in 2 days (Wed). Should I call the plaintiff’s attorney and try to settle the amount, or is it too late? I’m currently unemployed, so a settlement would have to be negotiated via payment plans. How low of a payment could I settle for? Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sarah – You can usually set up a payment arrangement at any stage of the collection cycle. Even after a judgment. The payment plans can go years. Settling an active credit card suit with low monthly payments often means signing a consent to judgment though.
      You are unemployed and may be judgment proof at the moment. They may not be able to force any type of payment even after a judgment. That would not mean you could not wake up to a bank account levy one morning though, so payments can be a good way to handle this.
      One problem with payments, depending on how low they are, is the 9% judgment interest you mention in your post. That is adding to the debt. Too low a payment may mean you are not making headway on the balance. What is the amount you know you can pay toward the debt each month?
      Can you share some more detail about the debt? Like who it was owed to originally, when you past made a payment on the debt?

  154. I’m in the final stage of my mortgage modification and wells fargo sent me a letter informing me of 2 judgements on my home from my father who is on my deed. I recently went to court for the chase card and made a settle ment from 11,000 to 7,000 wich ivolved making monthly payments. the second one amx I never went to court for and a judgement was enforced. I recently paid them 1,500 and made them a settlement from 9,000 to 4,000. My mortgage co requested the paper work showing the settlement and payment arrangements.
    After sending them the requested paper work they sent another letter informing me that the two judgements must be cleared before finalizing mt modification loan. After speaking to the creditors, they told me I won’t be removed until debt was paid in full. I don’t know what to do because I don’t have the money to pay the full balances.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      With what sounds like a consent to judgment with a settlement and payment plan on the Chase account, and a default judgment on the AMEX account with payments, you are stuck until the judgments are satisfied.
      Perhaps the debts can be renegotiated to a lower pay off if in a lump sum of money, but they may not be willing to go lower now that they know you have an end goal in mind. It is worth a shot though. How much money can you come up with all at once? Think of any and all resources like, a loan from family member, garage sale, ebay listing etc.
      Was the Chase debt settled with a consent to judgment in favor of Chase or a debt buyer? Who was the attorney on the Chase debt?
      Who was the attorney that got the judgment on the AMEX account?

  155. A relative has received a summons on a credit card lawsuit. He is in hospice care, has no assets, receives SSDI monthly into a checking account. He pays for nursing home/along with Medicaid with these funds. Sounds like a summary judgement would not mean much, but would like your opinion. Michigan.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Ginny – You are correct. A judgment will not mean much to your relative. There would be virtually no way to enforce payment on the judgment.
      If you do not mind satisfying my curiosity for credit card companies and junk debt buyers wasting resources on suing for a debt they will never see a penny return from – who is the creditor or debt buyer with the pending judgment? How much are they suing for?

  156. Thank you for your response Michael! The original creditor was HSBC Bank, and I’m pretty sure a payment hasn’t been made in about 5 years (which would mean it’s past the SOL, right?), however, I don’t have any documentation to prove it.
    The amount I can pay each month is difficult to determine. Our household income is already stretched so thin.
    Should I try to fight the Motion for Summary Judgement? Can I just tell the judge I cannot confirm or deny these allegations without the original credit card contract, with my signature?
    Thank you again for all your help!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sarah – 5 years is the SOL in your state. It would really help if you were able to pinpoint the month of last payment.
      Fighting their request for summary judgment is an option. It sounds like you are solo on this. If you feel you can make good arguments you can certainly put them in front of the judge. You said you noticed online the summary judgment motion that was filed. Did you not receive a copy by mail?
      It sounds like you were served the original lawsuit and filed an answer. Is this correct?
      You are intending to appear in court in 2 days?

  157. Hi Michael

    (I appologize if this is posted twice, i’m having problems with my computer)

    I have been sued by Blitt and Gaines, P,C in Illinois for two credit cards that i fell behind in payments. They tried to served my brother’s house but he was not home. They did not mail the court papers to me but when i called them they said that they are going on with the court. Can they do that without serving me the papers first?
    Blitt and Gaines, P.C was hired by Frederick and Hanna.
    I called Blitt and Gaines and asked them for a settlement before the court date. I told them i was able to pay 50% of what i owed and they agreed on it. However, I asked them to send me a settlement letter. After I receive the settlement letter then i would send them a check. For an entire month I did not receive the settlement letter. I kept calling and they claimed that they mailed it. I finally received the settlement letter on 24 of November which was a Saturday and the letter stated that the deadline for the payment the 25 which was a Sunday and they do not work on Sundays.
    I called them on Monday and explained the situation so they gave me an extension until the end of this week.
    However, the twist is that the court date was today on the 27. The attorney at Blitt and Gaines assured me that they will appear in court today and tell the judge that a settlement has been reached.
    Is that possible or are they lying to me?
    I was also wondering about the settlement letter they sent me. It does not say anything about Frederick and Hanna. What i mean by that is: Should the settlement letter mention something along the lines that we settled this account on behalf of Frederick and Hanna or it’s not necessary?
    I don’t want to pay this lump sum of money and have Frederick and Hanna come after me again with another law suit.
    However, in the settlement letter it says “after the payment is received the account will be considered settled and you will not be obligated to pay the remaining balance”.
    One last questions; should i make a payment over the phone with them or is it best to send a check?

    Thank you

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Adie – I would really encourage you to get a copy of what went down in court today. How far is the court house? Can you swing by tomorrow and get a copy of the docket from the clerk? Does this court offer records on line (many do these days).
      I am concerned because too many experiences have been shared with me over the years about “late mail” snafus with then expired offers of settlement. I am not saying that is what has happened here, but knowing what happened in court today would suggest whether Blitt and Gaines is acting in good faith.
      Here are some questions I have:
      Blitt and Gaines said they would give you an extension. Did the provide a new letter with a new date for the settlement?
      Who are the creditors you fell behind with originally? Is someone else listed as plaintiff on the lawsuit other than the creditor? If so, who is that?
      When did you last make payments on the accounts you are now settling?

      Settling accounts for 50% of the balance at a lawsuit stage is a good deal. Taking advantage of the settlements when you can afford this is great. I just want you to exercise caution at this point when funding the settlements past the original letters due date.
      If you need them to fax you a new letter, check out the resources we link to in the debt settlement letter report:

      Don’t get hung up on Frederick and Hanna not being on the letter. They are probably just the collection law firm that your file was placed with by the creditor or debt buyer. The true debt owner would be named in the lawsuit you are settling.

      Paying over the phone or through the mail is your choice. When you have a documented settlement and proof of payment you have have what you need later on if need be.

  158. I came across your site and have many questions. I had a good job up until 2008, then my bank would not modify my note on my home, choosing to foreclose. Having to move cost an enormous amount, then our company started to go down hill. My income was cut in half in 2009 so I had to make choices, pay rent and food or pay credit cards. In march 2009 I quit making cc payments, on numerous cards, had to surrender my vehicle to ford credit. We had to move again which was the final straw. My partner lost her job, surrendered the 2nd vehicle back to ford and had to quit making those few cc payments. In 2010 we got so tired of fighting collections we moved again. We the lost our camper which was our ‘home’ . We found a place to rent to own, and bought an old rev to live n. we both have had numerous attempts by collections at being sued, but so far have managed to not let them know our address. The latest attempts were at my parents house I Illinois, I have not lived at that address for 20 years, and she never has. Right now we barely make it, she is has a SSDI hearing tis Thursday, and I work as a contractor. The only things we have are old vehicles and personal items, don’t have ownership in a house or anything. I am just worried about any surprise judgements and if we would be better putting my income into her acct ? My check is deposited in m bak in another city across the state. I can’t file bankruptcy due to unfixed tax returns and not able to afford to have them done. I don’t kow what to do, let the 5 year sol run out?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Mark – You have been through a lot. I am responding with something you probably already know based on what you have shared. Unless you get sued and a judgment against you that would put your limited income at risk from a bank levy, stay the course. If you are sued and a judgment is entered, filing bankruptcy would stop collections on the judgment right away.
      It is in cases that you described where making no move – is a good move.
      If you are most worried about lawsuits and judgments against you, you could certainly take the precaution of depositing funds in her account.
      I assume you are trying to fix prior tax returns in order to look at including tax debts in your bankruptcy?

  159. Thank you for your answers. It’s helping me in my decision on what to do. I did resubmit this under “ask michael” as you suggested.

    kind regards,


    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks Jo. I am catching up from the holiday weekend. I will have your post up today and we can go from there. You should automatically receive notice via email when it goes up.
      I will delete the comment exchanges here once they are published on a new page.

  160. Michael

    Blitts and Gaines said they will give me an extension and they also emailed me a new settlement letter with the new dates on it.

    The original creditor is FIA Card Services, NA and FIA CARD SERVICES, NA is listed as the plaintiff and Blitt and Gaines P C is listed as the Attorney. I believe the last payment i made was in 2010.
    I talked to someone from Blitts and Gaines last night and he said he was going to send me an “agreed Order” to sign so the attorney would take it to court today but he called me later to let me know that there was no attorney available to draft the Order, but he sent me a new settlement letter with new dates instead.
    I actually live in new york but i checkED the court records online and it only mentions that on “10/10/2012 participant FIA card Services, NA a complaint was filed. If served file an appearance in room 602 on or before 11/13/2012. It also says that the Summons was returned because there was no contact.
    This really confuses me because it does not say anything about an actual court date for 11/27/2012

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks for the additional detail Adie. The fact that you have a new letter with a new deadline shows that Blitt and Gaines is acting in good faith to resolve the accounts and settle at the rate offered.
      I am not sure there would be much purpose in getting wrapped up in the court docket and timelines unless you intend to defend the lawsuit. If service has not been perfected, it soon would be anyway.
      At this point, were I in your shoes with the ability to resolve the debt and move on, I would settle the accounts at the reasonable rate offered. It sounds like that has been your intention all along.

  161. Thanks, no rush at all!!!

  162. I did receive the MSJ by mail today. I did not file an answer to their complaint; can I still do that at my court date tomorrow?
    And if I speak with the plaintiff’s attorney tomorrow, before we go in front of the judge, and try to arrange a settlement or payment plan, is that considered an admission of guilt?
    Ultimately, I would like to just pay this off, preferably at a reduced settlement amount, and be done with it, however I cannot do that tomorrow (11/28, my court date). Will they settle for a lump sum amount at a later date? And I’ve heard you should never give these collection agencies your bank account information, if I set up payments with them how would you suggest I do so?
    I greatly appreciate your help and quick responses!! God Bless you!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sarah – If you did not file an answer you are really behind the 8 ball on this. If your ultimate goal is to settle this, you really should try to work out the payment arrangement with the attorney. You can indeed circle back and settle for less later on. It does not happen often, but I have done them. The premise hear is that something now is better than the chance you default in payments, or file bankruptcy later. This strategy does not play out well with a garnishment on wages where they know they will get paid as long as you have the job. But for someone not working, it is doable.
      Be sure to show up at court. It would be great if you posted a comment update here with what occurs.

      Edit: As far as giving them your account information, it is not the big deal it once was, but I totally understand your reluctance and caution is advised. I generally encourage people dealing with tough debt issues to have a separate account for handling these types of things. Read the report on setting up your settlement set aside account.

  163. Hello,

    I have an upcoming court hearing for a summary judgment motion and trying to weigh my options. Creditor is a HOA for a rental condo, I haven’t been able to pay the dues as the rent does not cover even the mortgage. I now owe about $7k.

    I’m also in the process of short selling the condo with Bank of America through a HAFA short sale. We have an offer but no approval yet from BofA. I expect approval in a few week but my court date is before this.

    What I’m wondering is, can this debt be included in the HUD and settled as part of the condo sale. My agent seems to think so but I need to clarify that with her. I cannot afford to pay myself but would like to avoid a judgement and resulting impact to my credit report. If I offer to settle with the attorney, in the hopes that this somehow gets settled with the sale, is that a viable option? Or will the bank only consider this debt if there is a lien on the title (i.e. if I let the judgement go through).

    The best scenario I’m looking for is that I’m able to settle with the attorney and avoid a judgement, and following this get the debt settled through the short sale.

    Hopefully, I’m making sense. Just looking for any advise or direction. Many thanks for your service. I’m in the state of Washington by the way.


    • Michael Bovee says:

      Tami – If you have an option to move the court date in the hopes that your short sale goes through prior to the future date, that would be one angle to pursue. Discuss with the realtor what their experiences have been with similar situations and whether the sale completion involved HOA fees resolved.

      If this is not resolved through HUD and the shortsale, you can certainly look to settle once you know the facts.

      You will need a good reason to delay the summary judgment hearing.

  164. Thanks for your reply,

    we are in the state of missouri and all this originally happened in Illinois but the sol is the same in both states for unsecured debt. I have never received anything in the mail but did find out by searching the online court records of several attempts at by various collections agencies to sue me had been made, but they have not been able to serve me. I just worry that day will come, neither one of us use credit at all of course, never fill anything out that would affect our credit report. But the downside is our car liability insurance has went up and went up, andy they claim that the address on our credit report does not match the garaged address, which no it wouldn’t. but we are paying enourmously higher rates because of it. If I get it updated then the collections agencies will know where to find me. This is most unfair to anybody, since we’ve never used car insurance in 20+ years! I did find out that the state has a summary judgement against me for $14k for taxes in 2007, but I was not a resident of this state then, so I do not know what to do about that either. this state is impossible to deal with. the most I had ever owed them was $6/700 dollars. we are looking at selling my vehicle to her and getting it out of my name also, then I have nothing at all for anybody to really take.

    Would a joint account work better? the company who I contract with physically makes the deposit for me where they are located. I just do not want her money to be touched just in case of anything we cannot afford it, as we live check to check with the constant threat that could go away at anytime and there isn’t work around here.

    I had met with a bankrupty lawyer before, and they do nothing with the tax stuff, told me I could not get any of it discharged since it wasn’t filed on time. I do not have the extra money to hire a tax place to do them the last time I contacted a local tax preparer it was thousands to get them caught up.

    The last place we lived we were taken by the ‘rent to own’ deal and had a lawsuit to recover $25k of the investment, that went to court a year later after the lawyer telling me I had a good case, and his tune changed to we didnt’ have a good case and he recommended take their settlement offer. This started at $1000 and I countered against my lawyers advice to $5k, they came back with $3500 and my lawyer said I should take it or risk a judgement against me, so we took it and he figured he needed an addtl $1000 on top of the money that was already paid to him to handle this case. I was really hoping that the $25k would be enough to get the tax issue fixed and file bankruptcy, but once again we get taken. NOBODY understands what this is like, it is beyond stressful, I am used to making upwards of $50k a year and now barely 1/2 that which is less than my first job back in the late 80′s.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Mark – Thanks for the additional detail. A joint account would not be something I would go for in your shoes. Judgment debt being collected through a bank levy is often accomplished by matching your name and social security number with an account. Both would be on a joint account.
      With the additional information you provided, it may make sense to file bankruptcy on all of your debts other than the taxes if that is not possible. This way you take most of the debt monkey and judgment concerns out of the picture and focus your energy and resources on the tax issue that remains.

  165. Well, my court date was this morning. I was called before the judge and he asked if there were any disputes, I stated that I would like to see some sort of proof that the debt was in fact owned by Midland Funding, as well as an itemized statement showing how they came to the amount they said I owed. I believe the plaintiff’s attorney was not present, instead he was represented by a local attorney (is this common?). The attorney said he would “note the requests” and the judge gave me a new court date for mid January.
    Any suggestions on how I should proceed? Should I send Midland Funding some sort of debt validation request? As mentioned previously, I never submitted an answer to their complaint, should I do so now?
    Thank you again for All the help you are providing here!!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sarah – Sending the typical debt validation request has no real impact once the account is being collected in the courts.
      Your prior comments indicate you would like to settle this and be done with it and avoid the risk of judgment etc.
      Coming up with the funds between now and the next court date to knock the debt down would be the next step I would take.
      The alternative would be to fight the suit following court protocols that you are unfamiliar with. I would only suggest doing that with an attorney at this point. The cost of which would likely be in excess of paying the debt off.
      Can you come up with half or so of the amount they are seeking judgment for before mid January?

      Yes, it is quite common in credit card lawsuits like this for a local attorney to make appearances.

  166. I am not at the stage of judgment yet. I received my first letter from an attorney’s office in October. I am willing to do payment arrangements, but they are only willing to accept payments if I sign a statement authorizing entry of judgment. Do you know what this statement is? The debt is for a little less than $2600.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      SheShe – Most instances when you agree to a payment arrangement on a debt you are being sued for involves agreeing to a stipulation of judgment, or consent to judgment (which is what you described). This means the party you are paying is agreeing to accept smaller payment over a period of time only because they can move straight to collecting with the enforcement of a judgment if you fail to make a payment you agreed to.
      You should be 100% confident you are agreeing to a monthly payment you can afford.
      If you agree to something like this, you pretty much take away your ability to raise defenses to their claims.

  167. In 2004 I had an auto loan that my ex agreed to pay. I recently found out from my employer that there was a judgment against me and my wages would be garnished now a 11,000 balance is 22000. This is the only negative item on my credit and I don’t have the means to give a lump sum. Is bankruptcy my only option at this point? I can’t afford for 25% of my wages to be garnished and I had no knowledge of a judgment. I live in GA. Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kim – Can you get the details of the judgment from the court house. It would be good to know who sued (the creditor), the law firm they hired, what the court docket shows as how you were served (date, address, additional details provided), date judgment was entered.
      If the garnishment causes a hardship and you meet some state exemptions, you can get a hearing to get it reduced, even to zero.
      Let me know what you learn about my questions with a comment update and I will have some more feedback.

  168. wow Michael you are very helpful to a lot of people here!

    My situation is this, I am currently 32 years old, male, and from Southern New Jersey. In the past I fell on hard times when I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer back in 2003. I fought and beat it for about a year and a half, but it left me in bad financial shape.

    I have no assets (rent, no car), and alot of unsecured debt (judgements from cc, cc, payday loan, bills, medical). I have not paid a dime to any of them since Nov 2006.

    The two judgements (I was served and no showed in court, total maybe $12,000) were finalized against me ~June 2008. They got like $100 from my bank account, and since then I have not had a bank account in my name, and the judgements have not been able to collect anything from me.

    Thinking about bankruptcy, but I do have cash and would like to settle with the judgements, but for not more than a few thousand dollars. They have not received a dime from me in many years, and I am legit thinking about filing bk7.

    I’d much prefer to hire a settlement attorney to settle these judgements for me. I mean I have zero intention of ever paying them anywhere near more than 25%, how can I or my settlement attorney let them know this is fact and they will get nothing if I choose to file bk7.

    oh and could you maybe suggest a really good settlement attorney? Thank you so much for all your help!


    • Michael Bovee says:

      Travis – I understand wanting to avoid the chapter 7 bankruptcy, but it would probably be cheaper than settling and would wipe out all the debts, not just the judgments.
      If you are serious about settling the judgments, why not save the money and settle them yourself. I can give you the tips you will need if you are up to it.
      If you really want to settle the judgments using an attorney, I do have some suggestions for you.
      Let me know in a comment reply if you are up for the DIY settlement method. If you are I will ask you to start a new page that will be dedicated to me helping you with your issues. You have time on your side since you have no way for them to enforce the judgment.

  169. forgot to add, I deal in cash and my “wages” have no way of being garnished and never will, so this is a non factor completely.

  170. Kathy Smith says:

    I am trying to navigate defending myself in the state of Maine. I want to know to do next as I don’t want my hard work to go to waste. I can’t afford to hire an attorney.
    Here is the situation I have been sue by a debt collector called First Resolution Investments Corp
    Of Seattle, Washington being represented by Kimmel, Beach and Fitzpatrick suing me for $8000+ for FIA Card Services.

    I filed my answer with the court in the 20 day time frame along with request for admission, production and inttergories certified mail copies to Kimmel and Beach and sent copies to the court, giving them thirty day to respond. First they sent a letter on the 30 day stating that they needed more time which I didn’t agree to and finally I received the request for admission and interrgories back along with the request for production which was 43 days from the time I sent our request certified mail. Can I use that against them?

    In the the request for documents they documented something called a chain of title, but all I see are bill of sales selling the debt from the orginal creditor to Unifund Portfolio date April 10,2009. then Unifund Portfolio selling it to Unifund CCR Partners dated Sept 1, 2009 then it was purchased by First Resolution Investment Corp Sept 18,2009. Since it has been sold from the original creditor multiple times does that work in my favor?

    Then they sent something called Exhibit 1 which lists the original account number from Bank of America My question is when they serviced me the summons they didn’t put Bank of America it said FIA Card Services does that matter in a court of law? date open 2001 charged off 2008 last date of activity was Sept 2007 remaining balance $6814 interest and fees $$2763.( we asked how the interest and fees are determined, but all that was sent were credit card statements from Sep 2006- Aug 2007- I am assuming that is all they have on file)

    They also sent a card holder agreement but nothing with my signature on it. How can I use this in my defense?

    In there intertgoatores they listed only one person Molly Soleter Records custodian for First Resolution Investment Corp who is the only person listed to be called at trial. She can’t testify to the record keeping of the orginal creditor or the other 2 collection/debt buyer records as i read that goes against some hearsay rule. Is that true and how can I use that in my defense?

    Should I put together settlement letters or wait until the court date to see what happens? I don’t want them to think that just because they are trying to sue me I want to settle. How would I write a settlement letter and would I start low and see if they accept?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kathy – You have a lot going on here. I have a request to make of you. My feedback and comment reply is going to be longer than I like to make a comment. If you would not mind starting a new page by going here: Ask Michael and paste your above comment and questions in the background box, fill in the other fields and hit submit. I will take that submission and make a new page out of it and we can exchange comments on that page (I have details to share, but will have questions for you to answer to). Once you do that I will come back and delete your comment from this page.
      Okay with you?

  171. Hi I have a concern I received a summons and complaint from a company LNVN Funding, wanting me topay up on a credit card from sears that they purchased from sears. The last payment was received 4/2/05 according to sears, when I called the law firm hired to represent LNVN they said a payment of 10.45 was received on Jan 2009 I haven’t made any payments to any one, but because that payment was made the statue of limitations still continues until 2017. I don’t know what my options are. I am a household of 5 only income, renting,I cannot affor I get garnished. I do recall a debt at one point with sears, I also had another credit card with sears for an amount of 5600.00 I haven’t heard anything from that one yet other than a letter saying they will settle for 19% bt they can revoke payment offer at time of payment. The letter also stated that its past the sauté of limitations these spdebts occurred in 2002 and were sold in 05 please help…

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Paula – You will need to answer the complaint you were served with by LVNV and raise the defense that the debt is time barred and past the statute of limitations. LVNV is going to have to prove that its not with the alleged 10.45 payment. I think they may have a hard time with that.
      The other one with the offer of 19% settlement on the Sears account – If it is past the statute of limitations for them to sue and off of your credit report, what would be your reason for settling it? I am asking because you have mouths to feed and only one income, perhaps you need the money more than a junk debt buyer with enough money to spare to by up old debts for pennies on the dollar in order to turn a profit.

  172. I was served illegally via my mother, for a trial date of Dec 7 in Maryland for a $700 HSBC debt. I live in Arizona so don’t understand why they served me there. My house may not be easy to find (I’m in the middle of nowhere), but they could always find me at work. I’m lucky, since Mom has been drawn into this she is willing to help me pay the debt. She wants to go to the trial to tell them that I haven’t been served and complain about the servers who scared her to death. She called the cops on them and only knew what they wanted after they threw the papers on the lawn, ran off and the cops collected the papers. Anyway, my question is if we pay or make arrangements now, will the trial be cancelled, will it avoid a judgement? Thank you!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Becky – I can totally appreciate your mom wanting to tell off the creditors attorney for the shenanigans. Problem is, she is not the one being sued. Her appearing in court would not do much.

      Yes, you can settle the lawsuit out of court. You actually would not end up with a judgment that way. If your mom is the one handling this and making the payment, I would suggest you both call the law firm. You would be on the line to authorize your mom to speak for you. She would then take over and in a semi calm manner read them riot act for the scare she got, tell them they are suing in the wrong state, but that she is willing to help you out because you cannot afford anything right now. She should offer less than what they are suing for by about 40% or so and stick to her guns on the amount. If you wanted to have no problem in getting this done you would offer 80%. Get the agreement in writing faxed or mailed over to one of you to look over, make sure the settlement agreement meets what I outline in this report: – then pay it.

      If anything comes up along the way, post more questions or concerns in a followup comment.

  173. Thanks for your reply. Will I be able to go the local court house and get the case information the same day? The creditor for the auto loan was Credit Acceptance and the attorney is Fredrick Hann in Marietta, GA. I was not aware of the judgement and recently purchased a car with no problems. After pulling my credit report, the original judgment was in 2003 for $11,000. Based on the garnishment paperwork the debt is now $22,000. I am considering filing a Chapter 7 because I can’t afford for one penny to be taken from my checking account or wages. This would be the only negative thing on my credit. Everything else is in good standing, on time, never late. I can try go to the court house tomorrow to get more information. I just don’t know where to start. What other options do I have?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kim – Yes, you can go to the court house where the judgment is entered and get a copy of anything filed in the case. With a judgment from 2003, I am not sure how much can be done to unravel it after all this time. I would still like to encourage you to check a few options out once you have the information form the court.
      It sounds like you would be filing bankruptcy over the judgment only? You do not have other bills that would be included (other credit cards balances, medical debts)?
      I would encourage you to look into garnishment exemptions allowed in Georgia and if you meet them in part, or fully. If you do, it not only opens up possibilities for avoiding the bankruptcy (which may be worth trying to do if the judgment is the only thing pushing you there), but put you in a better position to settle the judgment.

  174. I’d just like to say thank you so much for the information you provided to me Michael.

  175. Hi, I was reading the previous questions and can say that I do not feel much better about my situation. I have a court date set in the next couple days, over a credit card debt with Capital One. The initial credit limit was $3500, but the judgment against me was for $5800. I had my last two years, state income tax withheld, totaling $2500. I called the attorneys’ representing Capital One, they offered to work with me through setting up a monthly payments… they asked what I wanted to pay, I said $50 or $60 per month, he laughed and said the lowest amount they would take per month was $384. The amount they suggested is just not feasible, I tried to file a motion for installment payments through the court and it was rejected by the lawyers. First, I do not understand how my debt can continue to grow on a closed account. Second, I’m not sure what to expect when I go to court. I recently started a new job and cannot budget that kind of payment at this date. I tried working with the Capital One when I was laid off, 3 years ago, they did not want to help me then and continued to place additional charges to my account. I cannot afford to retain a lawyer and I’m concerned that I will be steamrolled by the judicial process.

    Any help or information is helpful… I live in Michigan.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Paul – I understand the sinking feeling you have. I really would like to offer something that would help you feel better about the judgment situation. With what you shared about your situation there are just unfortunate limitations.
      You can look to come up with a lump sum to settle this and avoid the judgment.
      You can file bankruptcy which would stop the court action in its tracks and it would never reach judgment.
      You could participate in the court process and perhaps get a good judge who would rather see both parties agree to a payment you can afford (this does happen).

      As far as larger banks go, Capital One may be the least forgiving to their credit card account holders of all national issuers today. They sue and get judgments on 500 dollar balances that inflate to several thousand, all against the least likely of people to be able to ever pay.

      The balance on your account has probably increased due to the default interest rate that was part of your original agreement with CapOne should you stop making payments.

  176. This reader comment about paying a debt settlement with Financial Recovery Services over the phone using your personal bank account has been moved to its own page. The original comment and my feedback can be read here:

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Adie – I need to ask a favor of you. I would like to answer your question in detail. The feedback, cautions and steps to take that I want to outline for you will make a great info tool for others looking for similar feedback. Would you mind copying your comment and pasting it into the background of the Ask a Question feature and submitting that? You can do so here:
      Doing the topic justice buried way down in the comments of this page would cause too many people to miss the info.
      If you agree, will post my feedback with the new page you submit today.

  177. I had a judgement against me from Portfolio Recovery in 2006. In 2006 filed for bankruptcy but it was dismissed. PR then must of pushed it back or lost it. I had to recently had to settle with them b/c I am purchasing a home, however the attorney that is on the judgement no longer represents them AND they have no record of me having this judgement. I sent them the paperwork and they refuse to give me a lien release letter. Any Idea what I need to do. I have the letter that states I paid but the court will not accept that and the case is marked closed with the courts. They want a letter from the attorney.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jennifer – What you described is coming up more and more with people who settle a judgment and need to get the satisfaction of judgment filed with the court in order to realize other financial goals like buying or refinancing a home.
      I would suggest you connect with a nearby attorney with experience in collection defense and talk with them about filing a motion with the court. I know the court said they wont take your letter as proof of satisfying the judgment, but I suspect that was a clerk telling you that. You need to get this in front of a magistrate in a way that follows court protocols.
      An additional item I want to encourage you to consider (due to how much more of this I am seeing): please consider filing a complaint with the CFPB about this. Portfolio Recovery as a large debt buyer will come under direct CFPB supervision in about a month. Portfolio Recovery, and debt buyers like them, even large attorney debt collection firms, will continue to give people the run around on stuff like this unless we all work together to raise awareness.
      You can make this effort electronically on the CFPB website through the tell your story link:
      File a complaint:
      The complaint link does not have a direct tab for debt collection, but I suspect it will starting 1/2/13.
      The tell your story link is probably the better option for your situation.

      The CFPB is not going to get the satisfaction of judgment filed with the court. I am suggesting this as a way to grow awareness.
      If you need help locating an attorney with the type of experience I referenced above, let me know the nearest large city to you. I will email you contact information for some.

  178. Michael,

    I posted my question in the link you provided. Looking forward to your feedback.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks Adie. I posted your comment and questions and my feedback. You should have automatically gotten an email notification with a link to the new page. Feel free to add comments to that page.

  179. Michael,

    First, I think it is very cool that you give the advice that you do. My situation is as follows…I have a judgement in NY state from back in 2007 for around 6000 for HSBC . Just hit the skids and couldn’t pay it. I have just recently found a decent job and am looking to pay it off. I know there is no way of knowing 100% whether I could reach any sort of settlement, but if I do contact them what do you think would be a good figure to shoot their way to start? I was hoping to start with an offer of 1500 which I now have and could get another 1000 from a family member to push what I could offer up to 2500. Do you think they would settle with me at that amount? I am digging myself out slowly and this is the largest amount I owe. Thanks for any guesses you may have.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      John – I am happy to give you my guesstimate for settling the HSBC judgment. I can only give a generalized response though. If you can look up and find out the name of the plaintiff who actually has the judgment (HSBC or a debt buyer), and also tell me who the law firm was who sued and got the judgment, I may be able to target this better.

      Generally speaking – the judgment debt was 6k in 2007. You will likely find the judgment balance is much higher now. This would be due to judgment interest being charged for the last 5 years. Depending on the debt owner, and even the attorney who got the judgment, your 2500 target on a 6k judgment balance would be close to where you could settle in a best case. With the balance of the judgment increase, I do not think the 2500.00 is a realistic target. This generalization could change significantly depending on your answers to my questions. Post answers in a follow up comment and lets take it from there.

  180. Hello Michael,

    Here is my story, I LIVED in CA, back in 2006, I stop paying my discover card in hopes of settlement, it had balance of $9k. It was sent to collection which zwicker and associates was the collector. After no show from me on court date. They won a judgement from me in CA. my credit report shows a charge off by discover back in 2010. I have been living in TX for the pass 3 years. I do own a house here in TX which I bought back in 2005. I’m currently unemployed. They did successfully levy one bank account I had with Chase however, I only had less than a $100 in the account since the account had my old address in CA.
    I still have the same cell #, which they call me on still but I have not answered their call. I have successfully settled all my other credit card debt but, this one.
    Last time I spoke to a Rep from them was back in Dec 2010 to try to do a settlement but was unsuccessful.
    They have my new address here in Texas since 2010. I do know alittle bit about debt laws in texas and thats why I moved here.
    What can I do to speed the process of them settling with me? Last time I offered them 60% off the balance but was declined, they wanted full amount plus interest.
    I was hoping in time they would send me a letter offer but I have not received one as of yet.
    Any advice or suggestion would be helpful. Thanks Jack

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jack – I am a bit surprised that you were not able to settle the Discover judgment with Zwicker & Associates for 60%. I have routinely hit that target with them on non judgment debt and judgment debt alike.

      My suggestion would be to reach out to them again and begin negotiations anew. It sounds like it has been a while since you last connected with them. Waiting for an offer letter of settlement with regular collection accounts that are not part of a lawsuit or judgment happens frequent enough. But in a situation like this, when you are prepared to settle the judgment, get proactive.

      Post a comment update with what you learn, or your results. If you are unable to settle the judgment, let me know that too. I can offer some additional feedback then.

  181. travis klein says:


    Yes I am very interested in a DIY settlement on my judgements. How can I go about starting my own page like you suggested? Thank you so much for all your help, I’m very excited to hear your advice.


    • Michael Bovee says:

      Travis – You can start your own page here:
      In the background section, give some of the details in your original post above. Include who the original creditors were, who sued you (creditor or debt buyer), the attorney collection law firm that got the judgments (if different attorney which attorney got which judgment). It would be good to know the amounts owed on each judgment.
      Once you submit the new questions and details, I will post my feedback. I will likely have a few follow up questions for you in my reply.

  182. Michael,

    You were correct. The balance is now around 9k with the interest that has been adding. The holder is Guy Mitchell Lewit and the original the judgement was obtained by Atlantic Credit & Finance inc.

    I am guessing that what I can get together now will not be enough to settle with them will it? In your opinion, what would you guess would be a number they would consider settling for? Thank-you for your help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      John – It is not impossible to settle judgment debt on credit cards for 50% or less. You would often have to lay on the hardship details pretty thick. Many people have tough financial hardships, and outlining those are how to get the judgment settled. The worse the financial picture, the more likely you are able to settle judgment debts lower.
      Without the existence of pressing financial, health, or job concerns, settling for less than 50 to 60% is not all that common.
      Targeting a lump sum of 50% is feasible. You would certainly start with a lower offer, but if it were me, I would not begin the process without knowing I can get my hands on half of the current judgment balance if it came to it.
      It may work well to have your family member involved if they are willing. This way a third party is the one committing to the settlement payment that you would otherwise have no way of paying.
      You never know, after 5 years of no payment, and in this economy, you may find the debt holder willing to take you up on less than 50%, especially when they know from a family member that they are why the offer is even possible.

  183. travis klein says:

    Did as you said Michael, sent the question but had trouble with the captcha. I think it finally sent, but I also sent it via email just to be sure.

    Thank you again so much!


    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks Travis. It came through on my side. I will post feedback by end of day.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Travis – I posted your new page with all the details you provided and my feedback. The feedback about settling the credit card judgments with Discover, First USA, Portfolio Recovery Associates and Providian are complicated by the new information you provided about federally backed student loans. The post can be viewed here:

      I normally delete original comment posts that lead to a new page being created. I am leaving your earlier comments on this page up for now so that readers here can find your new page if they are dealing with student loan debts at the same time they are dealing with credit card lawsuits and judgments.

      I did have some difficulty getting one of the links to publish correctly. I apologize if you received multiple notification about the page going live. Anyone who starts a page on this site is notified of any changes made to their page.

  184. I divorced in 2004 and in 2007 began receiving calls/correspondence from a debt collector trying to collect on my ex-husband’s credit card debit (transactions occurred after I filed). The collector filed the debt in court and named me as party to the lawsuit. I called and stated that I was never in possession of the credit card and provided documentation of my divorce. I also have the papers showing the date of the charges to be after the divorce. I thought the matter was settled, but in June 2012 I rec’d a “court” filing that asked for me to supply questions about how much I make, tax filings, etc. prior to a judgement being filed. I sent a letter to the debt collector reiterating my 2008 statement and that I was not liable for this debt. November 29, 2012 I rec’d another correspondence from the debt collection agency with what looks like court filings (but they are not stamped with any legal court clerk information)…that say since I did not show up I owe $700+ in atty fees, etc. I went online and found the cause # for the “case”. According to the records, this case was closed in July 2008 so I don’t think these “legal” documents are actually being filed. Also the statutue of limitations us up for TX (4 years). I think this debt collector is out of line and is sending me this information because he can’t find my ex and thinks I will give him some money (which I won’t). Do I need to take any action, send another letter, get a consumer law attorney to write a letter? Please advise as to my best method to end this.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jane – If the court record you looked up shows the case as closed and there was NO JUDGMENT entered, than I would definitely encourage you to connect with a consumer law attorney on what step to take next.
      If the court record shows a judgment was entered in 2008 than the documents you are receiving would make more sense.
      In either case, speaking with an experience debt collection defense and FDCPA attorney is a good idea.
      If you would like, I can email you contact info for an experienced consumer attorney in Texas. Just let me know in a comment reply and I will send the info to the email you use to post comments here.
      I am curious to know who the original creditor was, who sued (creditor or debt buyer), and what debt collection firm got the judgment and who is writing to you about the judgment now?

  185. Yes, please send the information. I live in the Dallas area. I looked at the court record again…this is what it says:

    05/02/2008 RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR ADMISSION IN THE NAME OF XXXX ( general denial of these requests)
    05/05/2008 MOTION – SUMMARY JUDGMENT (10:30 AM) (Judicial Officer XXX)
    04/21/2008 Reset by Court to 05/05/2008
    Vol./Book 194, Page 794, 2 pages
    07/25/2008 CANCELED NON JURY TRIAL (10:00 AM) (Judicial Officer XX)

    What does all that mean exactly?
    Original creditor Bank of America, Bluebonnet Financial Assets is the plaintiff. The debt buyer sued and the collection company that contacted me is Niermann and Olivo. The letter says…the debtor will probably contact me to discuss this and work it out; if not I will request a hearing in front of the judge. The document filed is called “Order Granting Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel and for Sanctions”.

    Can you provide any new info as to what this all means?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jane – The additional detail you provided appears to show that a summary judgment was entered on 5/5/08.

      I can give you a generalization of what is happening, but that is not what you need right now. You need to speak with an attorney in your area, who practices consumer law, and who knows and has dealt with Blue Bonnet and the Niermann firm.

      I sent you an email with a few attorney contacts in the Dallas area.

      It would be great if you were to post updates in the comments here with what you learn and how you progress.

  186. Thanks alot. I don’t see a msg from you; I may have sent you the wrong e-mail address (its new LOL)…the one I listed above is correct. Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jane – Let me know if you did not receive the email with attorney contact information at the yahoo email address.

  187. Hi, 
    I received a phone call yesterday from the law offices of Michael K. Sipes and have been bothered by it since. I live in CA, am currently 8 mos pregnant and will be getting ready to go on maternity leave soon, thus being unable to pay the debt. 

    Last year I had a problem with my previous job which prevented me from paying 5 different credit cards on time to the point where I had to let it go. My debt in total is around $2.6k, and am trying to settle each credit card debt one by one (lump sum is not optional). My current job is on call at this point, and this debt collector call is already rattling my nerves. 

    My question is, how do I contact these people without getting harassed (I do not want to aggravate my pregnancy to the point where I get hospitalized) and finding out which debt they purchased? Two creditors come in my mind that have changed companies — a debt from Mattess Discounters via GE Money which was later purchased by CitiBank and the other was HSBC which was purchased later by Capitol One. Secondly, I know my SS# was used in AZ, and have yet to follow up on that situation as well. I simply want to know how to deal with this without getting it into a judgment. 

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jackie – I do have some feedback and suggestions for taking a relaxed and measured approach to your current situation. I would ask a favor of you first. This page focuses on dealing with lawsuit and judgment debt. If you would be so kind to start your own page by copying your above comment into the background section on this page: – and submit. I ask that you include a complete list of your debts that are outstanding, name of creditors, current balances owed, names of collectors contacting you by phone and mail and for which account they are collecting, and when was the last time you saw a copy of your credit report.

      When you start a new page using the above link I get notified of a new question. I respond with feedback and additional questions I may have and publish the page. We are then able to take the conversation further in the comment section.

      You up to it?

  188. Thanks for your response on Nov 30th. I am located in Toledo, OH and I would appreciate any names you could provide.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jennifer – I sent you an email with information to connect with a consumer practice law firm in Toledo.

  189. Sure; I’ll have to compile the list first before I can repost in a different area.

    Thanks for the reply.

  190. Michael,

    May I just begin with that you & your website are a GODSEND!!!! :) … and I profusely apologize in advance for this being so long…

    My situation began in 2006 (in AZ) when I discovered an ex-boyfriend had stolen my identity utilizing my SS# & ran up almost $1 million in debt! I filed bankruptcy in 2007 due to this, plus for a failed business. Debts were discharged in 2008, except for 1 from AZ Federal Credit Union.

    The ex had reported fraudulent info. (about me) on a loan to purchase a vehicle through AZ Federal Credit Union, plus had someone forge my signature (his family was in on it – they were, & still are, auto brokers). I was sued for this & AZ Federal Credit Union was granted a reversal on the debt discharge for ~$19,000.

    I signed a stipulated agreement with AZ Federal Credit Union (didn’t have money to sue ex, had just filed bankruptcy, & just wanted this to all go away) but never heard a word about the agreement again until 3 wks. ago when a law firm (Mark Kirkorski, PC) sent a wage garnishment judgement to my current employer.

    I have NEVER received any further information from AZ Federal Credit Union nor from this law firm until 5 wks. ago. When I called the Bankruptcy Court Clerk, I was told the inital case was closed in 2008, then an adversary case was opened in 2011ish.

    I submitted a request for hearing on the wage garnishment almost 3 wks. ago, with the Bankruptcy Court, since I am being forced into extreme financial hardship by this 25% wage ganishment per paycheck. I still do not have a court hearing scheduled & called the Court Clerk again today.

    She was making it sound as though I cannot have a hearing &/or will be unable to have the amount being garnished reduced because I signed a stipulated agreement with AZ Federal Credit Union???

    I am SO confused & stressed. I have no idea what my options are &/or are not at this point… Your insight is GREATLY appreciated, Michael.

    Thank you for all of your time & help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Susan – It is not clear from your post whether you have been making payments according to the stipulated judgment? Can you clarify this for me in a comment reply? I would then have more feedback.

  191. Thanks so much for your advice above Michael. I have managed to get my hands on some extra money from a family member and am prepared to offer up to 4500 on my 9000 balance. Should I send my first offer of settlement lower? I was thinking of offering 3500 and negotiating from there. Is that a wise move? Also, would you know how I would ask that the judgement be removed? I know the original owner of the debt is no longer involved, so how would I ask for them to remove it? Thanks again for all your help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      John – I would start lower than what you have available to settle the judgment. You may not get the result you need in the first call. Leave yourself room to sweeten the offer.

      The judgment is part of the public record. You would have to go through the court to get it removed. That is extremely unlikely. The judgment can be updated to reflect that it is satisfied. This would allow you to accomplish different financial goals all the same.
      The judgment would be removed from your credit report in 2014 if it was entered in 2007. You have to make sure that happens though, by monitoring closely at the time it is set to fall off. If it remains, it will be simple to dispute and get corrected.

  192. Michael, first off, thank you for replying to my initial question on Nov 29/30. I have been trying to get a hold of my Mom to move forward with your suggestion. I think she was avoiding me as now she says she doesn’t have the money to help me now, maybe after Christmas. She refuses to think that a judgement and garnishment will happen if I don’t deal with this before Friday (time is so short now!) as a relative lawyer told her that I haven’t been served so the trial can’t move forward. I don’t believe that. I’ve read on the internet that when it comes to credit issues, too bad so sad if you weren’t notified, the trial will move on, and there will be a judgement. Plus there would be court costs. She thinks she can go in and say that she is not me and they will have to serve me here in Arizona. I think I need to call ASAP and make payment arrangements. I believe you would agree, but please confirm and let me know if I should still try to reduce the amount, I believe that only works for lump sum payments. Also, what do you think about the fact they are suing me in a state I don’t live in. What do you think that is about? Your help is so much appreciated. Thanks!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Becky – They are suing you in the wrong state. That is the main thing to put a stop to.
      You are right to be concerned about the court process proceeding without any participation from your side. My guess would be that the court record shows that the process server served the complaint on your mother. You being in a totally different state wont be in the court record unless you put it there.
      The problem as I see it is that filing the correct papers with the court to put a stop to this would be best done by an attorney. That attorney costs money. That money could (and probably should), go toward a debt this size since it would wipe out a good chunk of it.
      Your attorney relative may not be all that familiar with the shenanigans that occur in debt collection cases. He/She could become familiar with this by seeing in the court record regaring your case, that a licensed process server will have (in all likelihood), show that you were served through your mother at the address. I would be pleasantly surprised if the record reflected anything different.
      You should connect with an attorney and respond to the lawsuit and notice the court that you are being sued in the wrong jurisdiction. Get the case dropped. Followed by putting a strategy together to deal with debt.

  193. Hello I am seeking advice for my father whom has received a summons from Barclays Bank Delaware in the amount of 6186.60 which was for closed Juniper Visa Card that my father had been basically paying interest over the last 4 years. I believe the last payment he was able to make was April of this year. We received the summons the day before Thanksgiving (Ruthless!) They are being represented by Nelson & Kennard. I am seeking advice on what our best option may be at this point. Would it be to contact the attorney offices to possibly negotiate a payment plan or is it our best bet to contact Barclays directly? We want to try to avoid any garnishing of the wages and the whole court process in general. Ideally pay a small set portion monthly. Thank you for your time in advance!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sam – If you are looking to set up smaller monthly payments you would need to contact the law firm at this point. Calling Barclay will result in them giving you the number for Nelson & Kennard.

      Be sure to only offer a payment you can afford each month. Be prepared for them to require a stipulation to judgment in exchange for affordable payments. This would mean your father would waive any possible defenses, and were a payment missed, the judgment can then be enforced, which could include garnishment.

      If there is anyway to come up with the money to resolve the debt with a lump sum settlement (paying less than the 6186), you could then avoid judgement, stipulate or otherwise. If settlement is not possible, and an affordable monthly payment cannot be agreed to, you should look to file and answer to the complaint. I suggest speaking with an experienced debt collection defense attorney for this. Once an answer is filed, and it is clear your dad is not one of the more than 90% of credit card lawsuits that roll over, you may find there is suddenly more of a willingness to settle at a more favorable rate, or how a payment plan that is affordable is now an option.

  194. I live in AR, had a judgement placed against me for 3500. Before that I offered them $1200 up front and a monthly fee after that, they declined then i get a letter saying that I had been sued and a default judgment was placed against me, I was never even informed of a court date. Anything I can do?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thomas – were you served the lawsuit, or did you only learn of the lawsuit when you were notified of the judgment?

  195. Hi Michael, I have a $3000 judgement against me from an old credit card- debt collector now. My husband and I have been trying to get a mortgage but this is now hindering us. I never knew it was filed 1/2010 with the local city. From years ago I remember this company hounding me and calling me at work. Until I sent them a cease and desist letter years ago. Now at this point- they sent the judgement to my local court in 2010(I had no idea until now) I am torn on how to get this cleared from my record. They have my cease letter. Do I call them to try to get this settled – I know leaving it out there is not going to be of any use. However, I remember this company being complete jerks on the phone. Also, I have other debt – some medical unpaid bills out there (totalling 15k with other credit cards). Do you think I should file bankruptcy? at this point I am not sure what to do.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Rachel – There is a lot in your post to comment on. My brief feedback follows, but I would encourage you to start your own page for a full outline of things I would encourage you to consider.

      The cease and desist letter you sent does not prevent a lawsuit to collect from being filed. In many instances sending a cease communication letter to a debt collector when the debt has not gone past the statute of limitations will increase the likelihood you are sued.
      The fact that you did not know you were sued means you were not served the lawsuit. This is just wrong, but unfortunately not uncommon. You mentioned being torn about how to deal with the judgment debt on your record. There are a couple of options.
      1. Settle with them and get a satisfaction of judgment filed with the court.
      2. Work with an attorney to get the judgment vacated for lack of service.

      Your other debt that you mention should be part of your overall planning on what to do next. Bankruptcy may provide the best and most affordable method to clear the debt and begin anew with your finances. You will have great difficulty in qualifying for a mortgage on a home purchase for 2 years after your debts are discharged in a chapter 7 bankruptcy.

      If you would like to go into much more detail, start a new page here:
      In the background section include all of your outstanding debts, who the debts were originally owed to, who is collecting now, the balances, your financial goals for the next 2 years, what positive items are on your credit report right now, if your husbands credit report is cleaner, or yours.

  196. Hi,
    I had twins in October 2011 and even with insurance through work racked up nearly $4,500 in medical bill debt. The bills started pouring in and I wasn’t able to keep up. Theyeventually went to a collection agency which has now gone to an attourney who put a suit against me. I went to a debt consolidation company shortly after that to try and get a low monthly payment so that they would be getting some money, what I could afford on a single mom salary. I contacted the attorney after payments were going through and was informed that this would be sufficient and that they would only keep the suit open if there was a missed payment. Today I received a letter saying that they are now taking me for the remaining amount of money since I didn’t contact them back within 31 days and I’ve been making payments for 3 months. I don’t own anything and what money I do make goes to my children that I pay 100% for of everything on my own. I don’t understand why they are doing this now after they told me that the payments through the consolidator are sufficient. Please advise on how to handle this moving forward. Thanks!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Brittany – My feedback would be better if I know the answers to the following questions:
      Who was the debt originally owed to? Who does the attorney debt collector represent now, the original creditor or a debt buyer? Who is the attorney suing you? Who is the debt consolidator you are working with? What amount have you been paying a month? Do you make that payment direct to the firm, or does the debt consolidator you are working with? What state do you live in?

      If you answer these questions in a comment reply I can provide better feedback to you.

  197. Hi, I’ve been reading your comments section. There’s a lot of good info here. One thing I didn’t see, however, was this question:

    I have a judgment for a credit card that I don’t dispute. Yesterday I talked to the debt collector handling this judgment who agreed to a monthly payment for the time being, due to me being out of work. They asked for my bank account information for the payments. I’m afraid if I give them that info something more than monthly payments will be withdrawn from it. Should I give them that information?


  198. I live in Virginia, had a judgement for an account that is owned by Kramer Linkie and Taylor that was originally from an Am. Ex card. I was making monthly payments on time but recently missed my monthly scheduled payment this past Nov. 2012. I had to close my bank account due to unauthorized activity and opened a new one. I am student and am not employed. I only receive child support payments directly thru DCSE and spousal support my ex sends directly to my bank account. I am currently unable to make the payments at this time but had been paying them with my support payments. The debt I had owed was nearly $5500 and I have paid alittle over $4000. There balance owed with the 6% interest added is $1660. Can they go into my accounts? If so how soon or would there be another court date before freezing my accounts. Also I have another account I left opened in my name that my mother uses to take care her business in the state of Michigan since she can’t open one herself due to owing the bank. What could and would happen?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Tasha – With a judgment against you, any personal bank accounts with your name and social attached to it would be at risk of a levy. How soon that would happen can depend on many factors. It would be a month to never.
      The judgment creditor generally does not reach out across state lines to look for a bank account to levy, but that does not mean the Michigan account is not a concern. It would just not be the same level of risk.
      How were your payments set up, by the court, or through an agreement you reached with the law firm that got the judgment?

  199. Oh and also I had spoke to one of Kramer Linkie and Taylors reps yesterday,which he stated I needed to make a payment soon regardless of what they have on file of me not working, but being a nursing student that’s only receiving child support he said they could freeze my account since they have this judgement against me. What really will be done or is this true? The last court date was late 3/2012 in which the judge said if I paid off most off it by Sept. 2012 I wouldn’t had to pay the interest, which by Sept. 2012 of the $5500 owed at that time I had a only paid $3530 of it. Prior to them proceeding to court I had already set up an agreement and had paid then $1000 off the amount owed,but they still proceeded and filed paper work for court. At are initial court date in 12/2011 the judge saw the payments being made and told me to continue but he didn’t know how my payments were being made only that they were being paid, which was from my child support payments. I really just want to know what could happen regarding my account in which I receive my child support but really all my support payments because I just started as of last month receiving spousal payments into bank account? Thanks in advance!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Tasha – Freezing your account just means you wont be using it anymore because the money would just be at risk of going to them instead of your bills. You could get a prepaid debt card and get the money deposited there, so there are ways to work around this until you get a new payment agreement you can afford. Who is the attorney firm and what amount can you afford to pay each month now?

  200. Thanks, Michael, for your prompt response, and the helpful links.

    The debt collector is Asset Recovery Solutions. There is some confusion as to the attorneys that got the judgment because when I spoke to ARS yesterday I was told the original attorneys were no longer involved.

    I just feel kind of uncomfortable blithely giving out my checking account information for them to withdraw monthly payments. Do I need to get something in writing stating that’s all they’ll be doing with my bank information? It seems to me like they could use that information for a bank levy, even if I’m making payments.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kim – I completely understand and applaud your caution. Opening up a separate account at the same bank would allay your concerns about a monthly payment snafu affecting the balance of your bank account that your monthly bills are paid from. Setting up a new account at a different bank would, at least in theory, allay your overpayment concern AND your conveniently identifying your bank and account information for a levy to collect on an existing judgment. I say “in theory” because it is a rather simple matter for the collector to locate your bank account in order to get a court approved bank account levy to enforce payment on a judgment. It is done frequently.

      Getting an agreement in writing that outlines the payment amount and dates would be a further measure you can take to address your concerns.

  201. Thanks, Michael. I think my first step will be getting it in writing.

  202. Kramer, Linkie and Taylor LLC is the law firm. Before we even went to court I had set up a payment plan with them of$253 monthly. Which prior to the court date I had paid them $1500 and the judge saw that after I paid and made arrangements they still proceeded to court. The rep from that law firm over my account told me at that time to make payments as high as possible then I could contact later and lower it or do a settlement which mind you the total debt at that time was $5486.69 and they were only willing to take off less than $300. I had believed them since was a law firm but when contacted earlier this year to change payment arrangements to a lower amount he said that the change would only be to make it higher or I must stick with the $253 payment agreement. I only receive child support at the bank that they know off where my payments were made from. My spousal support is at a whole other bank they don’t know of.

  203. I have been reading your comments on your site,
    can you let me know if I am being sued by a credit card company,
    can they sue my children too?
    it says that they are defendants and that they are fictitionsly named Jonh DoeI-IV and Jane Doe I-IV.
    can my children be sued also?

  204. The amount I can pay on the $1600 left is really $o now because all these medical bills due to my child having a newly diagnosed medical condition. The most I can really try to gather up is about $100 mo., which is still pushing it. The Kramer Linkie Taylor LLC representative stated that $50-100 would be to low of a payment after I told him I cannot make that $253 any more due to my son prescriptions and medical bills.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Tasha – based on your follow up comment above and this one, you know that Kramer Linkie Taylor cannot be trusted and could basically give a rip that you are not working while attending school as a single mother with limited resources.
      If you have your payments sent to a prepaid debit card (your bank accounts with your name and social on them can be found – so not safe), for a few months, the payments you would offer that you can afford would begin to look good to them.

  205. Oh and Thanks again Michael for your fast responses.

  206. Can you let me know if this is possible:

    plaintiff requests judgement against the defendants (plural) and each of them, as follows:

    1. for the sum of #####, plus interest thereon as provided for by contract and or law

    2. for reasonalbe attorney’s fees as deteremined by the court if the matter is contested

    3. for reasonalbe attorney’s fees as determined by the court if this matter proceeds to judgement by default. Plaintiff believes 800.00 is a reasonable fee.

    4. for plaintiff’s court cost incurred herin.

    5. for such other and further relief as the court may deem just and proper.

    What does all this mean?
    I was divorced in 2009 and one of my two boys does not live with me.
    why are they part of this?

    Should i try to contact the attorney to see
    what they say?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Belinda – What you have quoted above is fairly standard print found on collection lawsuits. This suggests to me that you are being sued. The inclusion of your children is so odd, it prompts questions.
      Who was the original credit card lender for the debt?
      Is that who is collecting now or suing? If not the original creditor, who is collecting or suing?
      Who is the attorney debt collection firm suing?
      What is the amount owed?
      What state are you in?
      When did you last make a payment on the debt?

      It would take one hell of a lazy attorney to take a boilerplate civil complaint for a money judgment already on their computer and forget to delete “Joe’s & Jane’s” and name children unless your children were cosigners on the credit card.

      Please answer my above questions in a comment reply and lets take it from there.

  207. Hello Michael,

    Received a call again, I spoke to zwicker & associate today about my discover account. Just thought I update you and let you know they are offering me $11k settlement for my original $9k debt.

    They said currently with interest it is at $13k. I gave them sob story and My offer again to them was $5k to $6k range, it did not work. The rep rejected and said it was not possible.

    Any suggestions on getting them to take my reasonable offer? I’ve gotten better offers from other creditors with much more debt on the table. Just can’t seem to figure out why they aren’t taking my offer..

    How does the SOL work in my case? since I no longer live in the state that the judgement was given.

    Also, do you think there is a chance that if i wait long enough they will resell my account to other collector?

    Thanks Jack

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jack – Each debt is independent of the next. The range of settlements vary by creditor policies, the stage of collection an account is in, the debt collector who has an account, what can be see real time about you through your credit report and other skip tracing tools a debt collector like Zwicker and Associates will use.

      Non judgment Discover credit card debt with Zwicker gets settled for between 40 and 60% in my experience, and with different payment terms. Judgment debt can be targeted at 60%. That percentage is working from the current judgment balance, not a balance at the time of default. Your offer would be seen as too low.

      Do you have other current debts on your credit report that are not related to a car or home? If so, what are they?

      As far as the judgment SOL – it is specific to the state the judgment was issued. In California I believe it is 10 years from the date the judgment was entered, and then another 10 years on top of that if the judgment is renewed (very easy to do – just paperwork that gets filed).

      It is possible that the debt gets sold off, but Discover has not been much of a debt seller in recent years. I see nothing that would change that right now.

      My suggestion would be to be prepared with 60% of the current judgment balance in order to settle. Aim lower of course, but not by much if you want to knock this down. If you have unsecured debts that you are current with that are appearing on your credit report it could complicate your efforts. If not, be persistent and consistent with your efforts to settle by calling 7 to 10 days before the end of the month. If you cannot get to the target, consider working with a pro to resolve this. CRN can help you and there are others like us with reasonable fees that I can refer you to.

  208. Hello Michael,
    I’m being sued by Capital One represented by Legal Recovery Law Offices of San Diego. I had a Case Management hearing this last Tuesday. The lawyer requested a Motion for Judgement and a Court Trail and was granted both. They are both scheduled for January 8 2013. I am unemployed and don’t have the money to hire a lawyer.
    I phoned the law firm and could not work out a realistic payment plan.
    Do you have anyone you can recommend in the Los Angeles area who can help?
    I was told by the court I had to file a response to this action 14 days before the court date.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Robert – Because you are being sued, the primary recommendation I would give is connecting with a debt collection defense attorney. I do have a great referral for you. The issue however, as you pointed out, is that you do not have the money to retain an attorney. Here are some additional thoughts:

      If you do not file an answer to the lawsuit, or file one that is not crafted well, you end up with a judgment. With the judgment comes the legal enforcement collection through line levy and garnishment. While unemployed you don’t have to worry about wage garnishment, but a bank account levy and a lien on property could still occur. If you structure your finances correctly you can still navigate life with a judgment against you, and then circle back to settle the judgment later. When later settling or resolving the judgment you will be dealing with an inflated balance. None of this is great, but it does mean there are ways of approaching your dilemma when you are in a better position.

      If you do file an answer to the lawsuit that is well crafted (using an experienced attorney is highly recommended), you will likely gain a couple of advantages:
      1. You will prolong the case for possibly months which could allow you time to put together financial resources to settle the Capital One debt, or enter into payment arrangements you can afford.
      2. The debt collection attorney handling the case for Capital One may not be up to the task of following the case all the way through when you have an experienced collection defense attorney. You may be able to resolve the case at more of a discount than you are currently able to achieve on your own.

      In any case, you need financial resources to manage your way through this.
      How much are you being sued for?

  209. Hello my name is James, I live in Virginia. I have been sued by capital one or a lawyer for them Dominion Law Associates. They have a judgement the original debt was around 500 but with late fees and interest it has went to 1562.70. I tried to settle before being sued but they wouldn’t take more than 100 off and I couldn’t pay it all upfront. Now I have a final settlement offer of half off which is great almost puts it down to what I actually owe them. If I take this will it really be settled with the court? Since it is just half of what they won how can I guarantee they can’t sell it to someone else to continue collection on the judgement or that they can’t come after the rest? Is the letter they sent proof enough or what do I need to do to safeguard myself in case they would play dirty like that.
    Thank you so much for helping people on here its really great!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      James – That is a good settlement when dealing with a Capital One debt that Dominion Law got a judgment on. Your concern about settling a judgment and having the remainder that went unpaid come back to haunt is a valid one. But if the letter that outlines the settlement contains everything you need to protect you, and Dominion files a satisfaction of judgment with the court, you will be in good shape. If the debt does get accidentally sold off to a debt buyer or somehow there is additional collection activity later on, the judgment settlement letter (keep a copy in a safe place for years to come).
      A couple of years ago we had a file that was settled with Capital One, but a year or so later the unpaid portion was sent to another attorney for collection. Because Capital One seemed unable or unwilling to resolve the issue, even though all documentation of agreement to settle and payments made timely were in hand, we ended up having to go through extraordinary measures through the OCC to resolve this issue. Our efforts back then should not be necessary in a similar situation now that there is a portal to file a complaint with the CFPB.
      If you are concerned about what the letter contains, and if your butt is covered by it, cross reference the bullet points found in this post:

  210. This comment and my feedback related to settling a Chase credit card debt with a collection agency has been moved to this page of the site:

  211. Wow, thanks so much for replying so fast Michael:

    The inclusion of your children is so odd, it prompts questions.

    Who was the original credit card lender for the debt? BANK OF AMERICA
    Is that who is collecting now or suing? If not the original creditor, who is collecting or suing? CASH, LLC A LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY
    Who is the attorney debt collection firm suing? NEUHEISEL LAW FIRM, P.C.
    What is the amount owed? 25,000
    What state are you in? AZ
    When did you last make a payment on the debt? APPROX JUL 2010

    It would take one hell of a lazy attorney to take a boilerplate civil complaint for a money judgment already on their computer and forget to delete “Joe’s & Jane’s” and name children unless your children were cosigners on the credit card. THEY NEVER CO-SIGNED AND I WOULD NEVER ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN.

    Please answer my above questions in a comment reply and lets take it from there. I HOPE THIS HELPS

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Belinda – Thanks for the follow up details. One other question is whether your children were ever authorized users on the account? This would mean you get them a card to use for emergencies, or while away at college etc. I am not saying they would have a legal obligation for the account as an authorized user. Just trying to make sense of what so far appears to be a huge attorney error.

      The debt is large enough, and there being a debt buyer (Cach LLC) involved, I would suggest connecting with an attorney to defend the case and/or work out a settlement.

      What is your goal to resolve this situation? Settle, fight the suit, discharge the debt in bankruptcy?

  212. Sorry, it was:

    I misspelled it on the other response,

  213. Hi Michael,
    I live in PA and I am being sued by Burton, Neil & Associates for a Home Depot/Citibank card that I owe $6,400. My hearing is set on 12/21 for a Motion to Obtain a Judgment for $7,500. I would like to settle this card but can only do so by paying payments of $325 per month. Should I contact this law firm prior to this hearing and get a settlement worked out or should I just wait to do this at my hearing? I cannot do a lump settlement as I have a few other settlements going at the same time and I actually just paid one off but my student loan payments could no longer be deferred and I’m paying $400 a month to that plus a mortgage, car payments and utilities. I’m pretty much stretched to the max but since one of my other settlements just ended, I have freed up some money.

    What is your experience with this law firm? Do you think it is a good idea to get this resolved prior to the hearing and just have them file a Stipulation to the Judgment that we agreed to a settled amount? I am confident I will be able to pay the settlement I just don’t want to ruin my chances of getting a settlement for a lower amount by contacting them before the hearing. I guess I’m afraid that if I call them and we can’t work something out they will use this against me somehow.

    Also, do you have any templates to use that would allow me to file my brief that is due by 12/17? Thanks so much in advance for your help!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jen – You should not have much difficulty getting a payment arrangement from Burton Neil and Assoc. You are offering a fair monthly payment. It will take about 23 months to pay at the rate you can afford. You are aware there will probably be a stipulation to sign and are willing to do that. If you have the same goal of setting up payments like that at a scheduled court hearing, you are really not going to harm anything by bringing up this payment arrangement before hand. I would encourage you to see about getting the deal written up so that no interest is being charged.

      If you were raising defenses to the lawsuit about legitimacy of the debt, strict proof, and a host of other good defenses, calling with an offer may/may not hurt you. The best advice on something like this would come from a debt collection defense attorney with experience dealing with court actions from Burton Neil, Citi, or the debt buyer suing you. I can send you an email with contact info to a couple to check out. You may learn of other options to handle this from the attorney. Some of those options could be more affordable than paying 325.00 for many months. Post a comment in reply with your zip code. I will then send the attorney contact info to the email address you use to post here.

  214. Hi! I have received a certified mail this weekend for “Notice of Motion for Entry of Judgement Out of Time, Certification in Support of Entry of Judgement Out of Time, Order Entering Judgement Out of Time, Certification of Amount Due and Non-Military Service, and Proof of Mailing.” This is from Lyons Daughtry & Veldhuis on behalf of Capital One for a sum of “$1,183.55 plus costs”. What is this exactly? I understand I owe money on this credit card from over a year ago. I made a few payments to some debt collectors that I lost most proof of, back in May of this year. That was my last payment. I am able to pay this in full now, should I call the Attorney’s office that sent me this packet and offer to pay in full or do I have to go to court? Is this able to be settled before going to court? How should I go about making sure that they received my payment and it has cleared the debt 100%? Thanks so much in advance.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kelly – If you are ready to pay off the amount they are trying to collect in full you can make the call to the law firm and do that. Get the arrangement from them in writing first. The agreement they send to you should include the fact that they are dismissing the lawsuit they filed if payment is received by such and such a date. That written agreement and proof of your timely payment can later be used to beat anybody over the head with if there is an error.
      Taking care of this now would mean avoiding a judgment entered against you.
      As far as appearing in court, you should not need to, but whenever there is a scheduled appearance, you should always show up. In your case, with the agreement and proof of payment. You should be able to check with the court where the suit was filed as frequently as you need to in order to see that they dismissed it due to your resolving the issue, or failed to do so.

  215. Michael,

    I have not made any payments per the stipulated agreement. I never received any further instructions on payments from Arizona Federal Credit Union. I contacted AZFCR several times in 2008 to find out what my payment instructions were, & they always seemed confused by my information &/or I always recieved the run-around, never getting a straight answer.

    At some point, the debt was turned over to the collection laywer’s office (Kirkorski), and I never received any information from their office to work out a payment plan so the debt wouldn’t get this far (i.e. wage garnishment).

    I understand I signed a stipulated agreement, but, my understanding is, no matter what, if a person has a writ of garnishment judgement against them, & they are experienceing extreme financial hardhip due to the garnishment, they have a right to have a hearing so they may present their information as proof that it is causing financial hardship. Am I correct with my understanding?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Susan – You generally would have the ability to request a hearing to show that a garnishment is causing a hardship. If doing that at this point, it would be something you instigate. Call the court clerks office or stop in and ask if they have a form you can submit to request the hearing.

  216. Hello, I had a capital one credit card and made the last payment in 02. In march of 09 I settled the account and made two payment for the amount agreed upon. I have the bank statements to prove that I sent money to resurgent capital service. On Friday they garnished my account saying I owe almost $4,000. I told them I settled in nov. 09 and sent them the proof that it came out of my account. They now say they havent had any contact with me since 02. And they actually sold that debt to another company. On my credit it says a judgement is from a company called northstar capital acquistion llc. I see that resurgent has been checking my credit lately. What can I do? I cant get any answers from anyone and just am told to call one place then another.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Teri – Can you get to the court and pull the case record and tell me:
      When the judgment was entered.
      The law firm who sued and got the judgment on behalf of Northstar Capital.
      What the court record shows for the date, address and how you were (not) served.

      Also, do you have a letter agreeing to settle the debt and the terms from Nov 2009?

      I can help take some steps to deal with this with additional feedback, but would like to know the answers to my questions first. Please follow up with a comment reply.

  217. Hello Michael,
    Thanks for your reply.
    The amount I owe Capital One is currently $2961 and court cost of $344.50.
    I was speaking to a relative about my situation this last weekend and they said they would be willing to loan a “small” amount of money to pay for an attorney.
    What kind of attorney’s fees would I be looking at?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Robert – I cannot estimate what an attorney will charge. This kind of thing is often done on a case by case basis. I can email you contact information for an experienced attorney to speak with. The consultation call you would need to start off with are generally no charge.
      Let me know in reply to this comment, and I will send the details in an email to the address you use to comment here.

  218. Alan Berry says:

    I was sued by Capitol One for 900.00 I have not been served by the court. I found out about the law suit from an attorney who saw it on the court filing web site. He contacted me about it. I immediatly called Capitol One and settles for 750.00. Why did Capitol One negotiate with me if the suit has been filed? Will the suit be dropped?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Alan – It is a bit unusual for Capital One to settle direct with you after they contracted with an attorney debt collector. Even more so when the attorney has a suit filed (but has not served you yet). Were you connected to someone else after calling in to Capital One?
      I have both seen, and had instances when working files, where settlement is reached with the original creditor or debt owner and not with the company or collector the debt was placed with.

      Yes, the suit should be dropped. You will have wanted to obtain some type of documentation when settling the debt before paying the amount you agreed to. This settlement agreement along with proof of payment can be used later if you need to address some error where the debt is still being collected on. Did you get an agreement in writing?

      From what you shared, it does not sound like you have been served the lawsuit yet. If you do get served, you know someone screwed up. You can also keep track of the court record (some courts have online access) every couple of weeks to verify the case was voluntarily removed. You can also contact the collection attorney who filed the case and be sure they are aware of what has transpired.

      No matter what I would encourage you to be hyper vigilant in following up on this and not to trust that Capital One, or the attorney they hired, will do what is necessary.

  219. Charlotte Tobin says:

    My husband has been fighting cancer for 2 years and was self employeed until the diagnosis. He has been unable to work since August 2010. I was working a job until June 2012 when I began Chemo treatments for lymphomia. I have a judgement from one credit card company that tried to garnish the $1100 a month that i was making. The company attorneys advised that I did not make enough to garnish with a family of three. Now another credit card company has issued a property levy on a classic vehicle that I own. What can I do to prevent loosing my property?? My husband did not qualify for SS Disability and my application is in process. We are living on gifts from family, friends and Church donations.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Charlotte – With your limited income I would first suggest you contact the nearest low income legal aid office and see if you can get assistance. Bankruptcy would stop all collection activity, but it could also force the sale of the classic vehicle.
      If for some reason bankruptcy proves to be a catch 22 for you because of personal assets that are not protected, it may then make sense to come up with a way to sell a few items and use those funds to settle with judgment creditors.

      Who are the judgment debts owed to? Who is the attorney firm collecting on them? What are the balances owed? What state do you live in?

  220. Hello Michael,
    I look forward to your email with the attorney info.
    Thanks again.
    Best regards,

  221. from vegas.Got summoned to answer. original creditor cash call ( payday loan).company sold debt to : locate source america,llc.debt owed 1,555.17. should i call atty to settle payment plan or just go to court.. please help. atty suing is the law office of sean p. hillin. so stressed out right now..hope to hear from u..any affordable lawyers u can recommend?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Elle – While I would always suggest speaking with an experience debt collection defense attorney, I also must point out the cost of hiring one for a debt the size of yours. A good attorney to help you defend the suit could cost as much as the debt owed. In fact, settling the lawsuit for less than the 1,555.00, which would prevent a judgment, means you could come out ahead comparatively.

      You can certainly call the attorney office Sean Hillin to set up a payment plan, or settle the debt for a lump sum you can pull together. If you are unable to reach an agreement that works for you, yes, definitely be an active participant in the court process and make appearances etc. There are judges who strongly encourage both parties to work together to resolve this type of matter. Sometimes an attorney suing for a debt is relying on getting default or summary judgments from suing, which happens 90% or more of the time. I have seen many instances where they get reasonable with payment arrangements on the day of court, if they were not responding reasonably before hand.

  222. Hi Michael,

    I was born disabled and began drawing Social Security when I was 22. Due to hard times along the way I found myself using several credit cards to get by each month. By 2008 I could no longer manage the increased minimum monthly payments on my cards so I stopped paying on them and accepted the fact that my credit would be ruined from there on out.

    Earlier this year during the Spring I was served court papers from McCullough Payne & Haan in Atlanta (I live in Georgia) trying to settle a $3000 debt I owed Discover Bank. Since Social Security is the only funds being deposited into my bank account I let the settlement go to the collectors without showing up to court. Then about one month ago I received a letter from my bank letting me know an attempted garnishment had occurred and the bank was protecting my SS from being touched. I called the bank, they made it clear that the law was on my side and I need not pursue recourse if I was just concerned about losing my SS.

    Yesterday I received a letter from my bank saying they were served papers that force my bank to supply Discover with two back-month statements of my account (unless I file paperwork denying them access). Up until now I have made no attempt to block them.

    My question is: If I let this process move forward with no action on my part, knowing that my SS cannot be garnished, are there any unforeseen consequences down the road that I will have to answer to? I do not own a home nor do I plan to, I do not drive or own a vehicle and due to my disability I will not be entering the work force. The only income I receive is SS. If I allow my bank to supply Discover with two back statements (where there is no other deposit on record aside from SS) will this proof of untouchable income be enough to stop them from harassing me? I am sorry for all the questions but as I stated, I am disabled and I worry that all these legal actions on their part may somehow force me into court, get me arrested or have my bank account frozen. As many have stated here, debt collectors will go to extreme measures to scare one into paying up. Thank you for any peace of mind you may be able to give me.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Marie – If the absolute only funds deposited into your bank account are SSDI, and the fact your bank is being AWESOME about this (who is the bank?), I would not be concerned, if I were in your shoes, with the McCullough Payne & Haan debt collection firm having those statements. Of course given the option, I would not agree to release any information, but I am good like that.

      I do not think the debt collection efforts will just go quietly into the night. If McCullough Payne & Haan are working on a contingency of collection amounts, they are only going to get paid when they get money. They will probably still make collection efforts periodically. Perhaps the bank statements would show them the next time your file pops up for some additional efforts to collect, that spending the man hour resources and filing fees for any other court activity is a waste on their part. I just would not give them much credit after your bank pretty much already telegraphed the situation to them by not honoring prior bank account levy attempts.

      I am not sure how much peace of mind my feedback provided, other than to confirm what you already have surmised for yourself. I would like to offer others who are in a similar situation you find yourself in by highlighting a bank with great practices such as yours. Please do post a comment reply with who you bank with and I will create a post about them and include these comments.

      • Hello Michael – I greatly appreciate your reply. I live in a small town and am not sure how widespread my bank is but it’s called United Bank (the main branch is in Zebulon, GA). I believe I had about $2.00 deposited into my account from a product rebate 6 months ago but other than that I use the account solely for Social Security deposits. I understand since my account has been hit with garnishment I will not be able to deposit any other funds into the account from here on out (i.e. birthday checks, product refund checks, etc.) which I am fine with. Considering I got myself into this financial mess to begin with, I fully understand there will be consequences that must be coped with. I am curious, though .. what would happen if I were to open a new bank account later on down the road and have my Social Security redirected into the new account? Something tells me it would only be a matter of time before the creditors find it as well and go through the same procedures that led them to attempt garnishing my current account. The bank was wonderful in warning me and protecting my SS. I have read a lot from others who were not so lucky. I appreciate your last response and it indeed has given me peace of mind (since you did not mention me going to jail. Ha! Oh me ..). Once again, thank you very much.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Marie – My pleasure. Thanks for sharing the bank name with readers. As you can imagine, having a site that deals with debt and credit triage means focused discussion about things gone wrong. It is great to be able to bring things that go right into the discussion.

          You are correct to assume that any additional bank account you may open has the potential to later be found by a debt collector trying to collect on a judgment.

  223. Alan Berry says:

    Thank you for your response. Capital One said they would send a letter confirming the settlement. I have not recieved it yet and I have not paid the agreed amount yet.

  224. Charlotte Tobin says:

    Hello Michael:

    There are two attorney offices one is Glasser and Glasser and the other is Howard Gould PC. The credit card companies are State Farm banks and FIC (bank of america). The two amounts are both around $7000 each. I live in the Northern Virginia area. I have tried to sell off assests and to date have had no luck doing so. Classic cars are some thing that someone has to want to own especially in this economy. I really do not want to file bankruptcy but it is becoming more of a need to option.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Charlotte – Thanks for the additional details. I believe a reasonable expectation would be to settle the 2 judgments for roughly 7 to 8k. Compare that with the cost of bankruptcy being close to 2k, you would be filing the bk over 5k (the difference). This is assuming there are not additional debts out there, and that your medical situation has stabilized to a point where all bills are accounted for (that are known at this time).

      I hear you on the classics. I have owned and sold a few in years past. What do you estimate the value to be?

  225. Rod in Oregon says:

    I was sued by American Express (AE Bank) for an outstanding credit card debt of $13,000. plus another $13,000 added on for pre and post-adjudication interest. (total $26,000)
    They won because I never went to court

    I have been garnished for approximately 4 months so far from the original debt collection attorney.

    I just received a letter from a new attorney that states they have been retained to represent AE Bank concerning my outstanding judgement with a current balance of $12,000. The new balance does not mention the pre and post-adjudication interest (I did some checking and the original attorney has retired) In the new attorney’s letter they state I have 30 days to “dispute this bill”.

    In reality I do not mind being garnished as long as can pay the debt back I owe, but on the other hand I would rather file Bankruptcy instead of paying the full amount with the pre and post-adjudication interest included in simply because I feel the amount is grossly unfair.

    Does this new letter mean I only owe what is stated in that letter?

    Do I have a chance at legally disputing that I owe anything or does the original judgement still stand?

    Guess I just want to find out if there is anything I can do differently for my benefit at this point

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Rod – I too would take issue with the pre judgment interest doubling the amount. Generally AMEX is not known for egregiously ringing up the interest after the charge off of credit cards. I doubt this was handled by a debt buyer as AMEX has sold maybe one portfolio of debt in the last 7 or so years. Who was the original attorney, and who is handling it now?

      Were you garnished from your last paycheck?
      Can you come up with 60% of the balance being collected to offer a lump sum pay off?

      Yes, I do believe there are some steps you can take to your benefit. The rest of my feedback will depend on the answers to the questions I posed. You can post the answers in a comment reply and let’s go from there.

  226. Gary in Florida says:

    Hi Michael…

    Ok short version of my story…was pushed out of my job in 2002 at age 52 (MBA and BBA)…911 hits three months later…have spent the last 10 years looking for full time employment (IT) (while eating off my IT consulting business (which has pretty much tanked since 2008) and also withdrawals from my IRA…IRA ran out also in 2009…and from then until now I used my 800+ credit rating and credit cards to exist…About 4 months ago I did finally get a minimum wage no benefits retail cashier job after three years of applying…with income now of about $700 a month…But, I have amassed about $38K in CC debt and despite never having yet missed a single payment the banks have decided unannouced to cut my previously approved limits in half… and Citibank in particular keeps rasing my minimum payments almost every month…Well needless to say, there is no way I can keep up at this point as all my earnings go to paying the CC debts…and with the mafia interest and the banks continuing to hammer me…I have finally decided that chapter 7 is my only option to ever have any hope of getting out of debt….

    No house, no wife, car is leased, no savings left, (dog is paid for but is a liability! :o)))…I have no other debts other than the unsecured CC debts…and my car lease payment…

    My question to you is this….would I qualify for CH 7 with my $700 a month job and $100 a month in food stamps…I will hit SSN age next October (about $1800 a month) Would it be best for me to try to get as close to that date as possible while paying the CC debt min. payments …then quit my crappy job and file Ch 7?

    There is no way I could ever pay this money back with my crappy minimum wage job and it is my understanding that SSN retirement funds are not attachable (Y/N?)

    Or would it be better to try and talk these guys down…but even at 50% of the balances with the mafia interest rates I would never get them paid at min. wage?? If the banks had’nt changed my agreements (linits etc) unilaterally I would have continued to work to pay them even after hitting SSN…But now I really dont give a dam any more!!

    Thanks Gary

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Gary – Given the information you provided, I would encourage you to speak with a local bankruptcy attorney about your options in a chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can typically reaffirm the car lease and continue driving the car while discharging the credit card debts. You can use the calculator tool at the bottom of the original post to help you determine how you qualify for chapter 7. From what you shared, you should find that you can access chapter 7.
      Feel free to post an update on what you learn after a consultation with an attorney or two.

  227. I have a judgement on me with a credit card. It was from 1997, I didnt even know i had a card. anyway they took me to court and out of the 3oo.oo i owned them it is now over 6 thousand with a 9 percent interest rate. I could not pay them at the time. so now i have a judgement against me and they are now doing a wage etc. judgement and I dont own anything. but the are looking into my a car that it in my husbands name but the paper work says i am a co borrower . what can they do. we still owe on this car to suntrust. since it is in my husbands name what can happen. thank you

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Billie – It is always best to consult with an attorney in your area about your legal rights. Generally speaking, a judgment creditor will have a heck of a time trying to lien or force any collection on an item that you do not own – and you do not own the title to the car you are still making payments on – Sun Trust does.

      How is it that you ended up with a judgment on a 300 dollar credit card that you do not recall ever opening? When did you learn about this?

  228. Hello again Michael,

    I was garnished from my last paycheck.
    No way, could I come up with 60% of the lump sum.

    I have the old judgment from the first attorney that shows a break down of all I have been sued for including pre and post adjudication interest of about $13,000.

    Several days ago I received the new attorneys letter stating he would be retaining the outstanding judgement against me. In that letter was his break down of the amounts I owe and the amount was listed without the pre and post adjudication interest. A difference of about $13000 less! Then yesterday I received a summons from the county courthouse stating a new lawsuit under the new attorney . The same “lesser figured amounts” were listed in that court order document as debt calculation.

    On that document I have 30 days to reply to the court my position on the suit. I am going to challenge the new debt calculation through the court. I have written “I deny the plaintiff’s claim” and am going to file that with the court. That way as you know the attorney must show his file papers.

    Having the old filed papers from the old attorney and the new ones in hand I feel like I can make a case of the discrepancy in the two for my benefit.

    Possibly the new attorney might see the error and go away? I am sure the attorney will have to also produce the original contract should it go to court.

    Do you think these new developments in my case give me a rare opportunity to get out of the original judgement? What could be the outcome to all of this?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Rod – Thanks for the follow up details. I think you have a really screwy situation here. It would be a good idea to do the following:
      Look up the initial judgment and see what the court shows as the status. The original AMEX judgment would not just go away. It is being enforced through a garnishment to boot.
      I would really encourage you to connect with an experienced debt collection defense attorney to talk about this situation before do anything to respond to the new lawsuit. Most consumer law attorneys offer the initial consult at no charge, and I believe the feedback you receive will help get some direction.
      I can send you some contact info for an attorney or two via the email you use to comment here. You are in Oregon? What part?

  229. Hi I was just served a judgment for a credit card debt I owe. I have to reply by the 24th and I really don’t know what I am supposed to say. Would it be a good idea for me to contact the lawyer that my debt was sold to to see if he will settle? I really don’t have the money and was going to borrow it from a family member. Otherwise I was told to file for bankruptcy but don’t know how long this type of process takes. I don’t know what to do.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      girl – Can you post a comment reply with a bit more detail:
      Who was the original debt owed to?
      What is the balance owed?
      When did you last make a payment on the account?
      What state are you in?
      What is the name listed as the plaintiff in the lawsuit?
      What is the attorney collection firm name?
      Are there other debts you owe that have gone unpaid, or that are unmanageable beside the credit card lawsuit?

      I can offer you more feedback once I know the answers to the above questions.

  230. My sister and I have a care credit card which i have never used. She didn’t pay the bills for that and now we are getting calls from an attorneys office saying they can arrest us for not paying or sue us. I have never used the card or anything. Can I be held liable?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sarah – Can you tell me when the last payment was made on the account?
      Any threat to arrest you on an unpaid unsecured debt would come from a debt collector that is either a scam, or one that is willing to break firmly established consumer protection laws.
      What state do you live in? I would like to email you contact info for an experienced debt collection violation attorney that you can have a consultation with at no cost.

  231. Gary in Florida says:


    I appreciate your quick response to my inquiry…

    I have four quick questions….

    First, as I previously mentioned (barring further increased monthly payment demands from the banks, particularly the idiots at Citibank!) is there any up/downside to trying to continue to meet monthly minimum payments until I get close to SSN in OCT 2013— versus simply stopping payment(s) now and and maybe eating a bit better until I get to SSN time! ? I assume they would start dunning me hard and would file judgements if I stop paying…question is how fast?

    Two, Would it be easier/better that I not be working if I do file CH 7?

    Third, do you have a list of ‘recommended’ (that translates to inexpensive as possible!) :0) CH 7 Bankruptcy attorneys in the Tampa Florida area?

    Fourth, is it generally true that regular SSN income is not attachable by the banks for unsecured CC debt? Not SSI just standard SSN…

    thanks Gary

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Gary – the upside vs downside of not making payment leading up to the bankruptcy filing would mainly consist of:

      Make payments and avoid collection calls and letters vs. Not making payments and having the phone ring… a lot. Collection calls are the most annoying part of settling and or not paying a debt. You can read more about hoe to deal with collection calls in this report:

      Continue making payments means your credit report will stay in decent shape vs. not making payments until filing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is not a big deal given the pending bankruptcy that is going to impair your credit for 2 or so years after discharge of your credit card debts.

      Lawsuit risk generally begins after 6 months on nonpayment. The risk of being sued in month 7 is small. The risk grows each month and reaches the highest level when you approach the statute of limitations for filing a legitimate lawsuit in the courts in order to collect. This time frame is several years, so not much of a concern with your pending bankruptcy.

      Working vs not working when filing chapter 7 is not really a factor other than your income for the past 6 months leading to the bankruptcy filing is used to factor your eligibility for access to chapter 7 using the median income means testing for your state. The calculator at the end of the reader feedback I gave at the top of this page will help you establish where you are at with qualifying for chapter 7, but from what you have shared, accessing chapter 7 should not be an issue for you.

      BK attorneys tend to charge within a couple hundred dollars of each other. With the pricing similarities as close as you will find them, I prefer to encourage people to speak with more than one bankruptcy attorney and learn all that you can in each consult. Reflect back on the attorney that made the best impression. Look for one who asked more than just dollars and cents questions. Look for the attorney that asks leading questions about you, your financial goals in the next few years. The attorney who is most aware of me and my goals moving forward would be the one I hire when costs are so close from one to the other. This would mean the attorney is looking to make sure I get what I need, and where I need to be going, from the process.

      SSI, SSDI etc., cannot be attached from a creditor enforcing collection on a credit card judgment. When your bank account is limited to SSI as the source of deposits your bank account is protected from levy. When other sources of funds are deposited into the same account as SSI benefits is when there are some messes that occur. The mess can be cleaned up, but it can suck to go through.

  232. I appreciate your service! I maintained an excellent credit history through my mid 40′s. I was hit hard by the financial collapse. Vehicle repossession, foreclosure you name it! I am now to the point of several judgements awarded against me despite all my resistance. My credit score is probably a single digit! I am ‘underwater’ with two properties, none the less, I would like to retain. One is out of state. Q1.) How likely is a judgement creditor to pursue a lien in another state?

    Last year I was ‘hit and run’ on my bicycle, left me with $35k in Medical bills, I expect those law suits at any time.

    I am self employed, so garnishment has not been an issue to date. I also maintain less than $150 in financial institutions and utilize money orders, as they have twice tried bank seizure.

    I own a well used car.

    I am planning a strategic BK, would like to utilize that event to significantly renegotiate my principle balance of my first (only) primary residence mortgage.

    I would appreciate any insight you can offer!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Wm – There is not much to cover that you have not already mentioned. A chapter 7 bankruptcy generally wipes out all of the unsecured debt. If you can manage the payments on the primary residence after that, you are in a much better position. If you manage your affairs in a way that keeps little to no money on deposit where a bank account levy would leave a mark, are unable to successfully be garnished, that leaves property liens placed in a credit card judgment collection effort – which could be wiped out with the bankruptcy.

      Who is your primary residence mortgage with?

  233. I went to court in October for a credit card debt that I had always argued was not mine. The judge’s decision was a no cause of action in my favor. In the past few weeks, the lawyer for the collection company filed a motion for reconsideration. The judge quickly denied the motion for reconsideration. How much longer can this collection company pursue this when the judge has basically struck them down twice?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Terri – I find it interesting that you proved to a judge you were being sued for a debt that was not yours, but that this fact was not enough to convince the attorney debt collector. It comes off as the debt collector being a bit thick. Can you tell me who the attorney collection firm is, and who they were hired by (the creditor or debt buyer suing you),, and how much the debt was for? It would be helpful to know this before giving you more detailed feedback.

  234. Gary in Florida says:


    Thanks again for the quick response and information…I am going to continue to hang-on until early next year and search for a CH 7 lawyer between now and then….Sucks that that this is what this once great country is coming too! Banks got their bailout…dont see any other alternative for me other than Ch 7! Over fifty and looking for decent work is not in a good place to be these days!


  235. Hello Michael. You have some very useful information here and wish I would have found this site sooner! I have a court date on Wednesday th 19th for a summary judgment motion filed by the Plaintiff (Junk Debt Buyer). Total is only $1300 but with all of the fees they want to add on, the total would be around $2400. I responded to their motion, filed it with the court and they sent a reply memorandum back to me yesterday. I don’t think they have a case but it’s all up to the judge. At this point, I’m getting nervous that I won’t prevail in court and don’t want a judgment against me. I’m considering calling them to attempt settlement in the next 2 days. The problem is that I can’t pay them off in full. I can make payments as I am employed but they have to be reasonable. I may be exempt since I did file for Energy Assistance (haven’t heard back yet) I don’t know what to offer them and I don’t want it held against me if we can’t come to an agreement and we keep the court date on Wednesday. Any advice would be appreciated. I am in Minnesota.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Shelli – Who is the debt buyer suing you and what is the name of the collection attorney, or law firm they hired?

  236. Hello,
    My wife just got a letter in the mail (Writ of Garnishment) for a closed bank account. We didn’t realize that she even had a judgement against her but it was opened in Dec 2010. I was considering contacting the lawyer listed on the judgement to see if a settlement is possible. The amount is 1206. We live in Arkansas and Im wondering what I should do!?! Is this going to follow to her job or our new bank account?
    Thanks for any help

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Rex – A judgment does not “follow” to the next job or bank account. The judgement creditor would have to take the time and resources to locate the new employer, or bank account. Settling the judgment is highly likely. My concern is that you did not know about the judgment to begin with. Can you share some more facts about your situation?

  237. The debt buyer is Midland. The law firm is Messerli & Kramer.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Shelli – Thanks for the additional detail. Are you aware of the settlement Midland Funding reached with the Minnesota AG office last week?

      If you were able to come up with 60-ish% you may be able to settle the lawsuit now. If you are looking at having to set up affordable payments, I do not see much room for be able to negotiate the amount down, but I am confident you would get a payment plan. What amount can you afford to pay each month? With a monthly payment arrangement you should be prepared for Messerli and Kramer to require a stipulation to judgment where they would have the benefit of court enforced collection if you miss a timely payment that was agreed to.

  238. Thanks Michael. Is that 60% of the original $1300.00 or 60% of the total they are asking for, including their purported attorney’s fees? I *might* be able to get enough up for 60% of the original amount.

    I did read about that the other day. I actually included some of the original complaint as an exhibit in my response paperwork. I don’t believe I owe what they are saying I owe, nor do I feel that they can prove standing because their paperwork is extremely suspect but leaving it in the hands of a judge who may go either way is a scary prospect. It’s so stressful that it might be easier to just settle and be done with it.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      My 60% target would be based on the amount that is referenced in the lawsuit. The reason for the 60% target is because it is a reasonable expectation based on what I see when settling debts like this professionally, and elsewhere. You may be able to get lower. I settled a Midland lawsuit a couple weeks back at roughly 50%. The file came to me and was settled just after service, so had not progressed as far as yours.

      If your court filings are in order, you may be surprised with how the judge rules. I understand the stress level.

  239. Hi Michael,
    Discover made a Lawsuit against my dad for a Defaulted credit card for about $3300 .. My dad has not been working since 2009 after his Knee replacement surgery. Me and my brother were trying to help him pay his debts but we cant pay it as he had couple of other credit cards too. Currently he is living with me as my elder brother gone out of country. If he goes to court tomorrow Im assuming the judgment will go against him but he wont be able to pay any of this off as he dont have any bank account or money or anything under his name. Do u have any idea how this thing goes , what he is suppose to say in court or any suggestion.

    • Chirag – If your father legitimately owes the Discover credit card debt, has not raised and defenses up to now, and has court tomorrow, there is not much you can prepare him for. There is often the opportunity to show up and speak with the debt collection attorney Discover has suing him. If there are resources that can be used to settle the Discover debt with the attorney, your dad could discuss it while there.
      What your father could say in court without any preparation or legal support is a good question. If there is no controversy about the amount of the debt, or any defense, it is likely he will end up with a judgment in the near future. Without a job, a bank account, or assets in his name, there is really no way for Discover bank to collect on the judgment. The debt will be negotiable now, or later when his finances turn around. Just know that, as mentioned in the article above, the debt will grow, so coming up with a plan to tackle it now, or in the near future (next several months) would be ideal in order to save more in a settlement.
      Is your dad’s financial situation expected to turn around in the near future?

      • I dont think so as he is growing old and i dont expect him to work in the near future and myself alone cant pay off his debt, which adds up to about $6000 in all credit cards. He is 63 right now and only worked for about 5 years in US, so i dont think he will be getting his SS after his age of retirement to pay some debt off. I dont know where to go from here as i dont earn much to help him out either.

        btw thanks for a quick response

        • Chirag – Sometimes there is no where to go at the moment. That can be okay in this instance as there is nothing for the debt collectors to do even after a judgment. If there are later opportunities to manage the situation through payment arrangements, or settle the judgment, you can help your father address it. You have not shared anything that would suggest to me that anyone let this situation add any stress to their lives over it.

  240. Michael,

    My husband received garnishment notice yesterday in the mail. He has already gone to court and fought against Midland funding. The original loan was captial one credit card and they are garnishing for 22k. It will take $435 out of each paycheck per the 25% garnishment limit. We cannot afford this as we already live paycheck to paycheck. Is it too late to ask for a monthly payment with them? Is our only option a settlement lump sum at this point or accept the 25% garnishment? Also, we have a 6k loan on a 2001 suv, will we be able to keep this? We rent and own one commuter car worth maybe 5k. Is the best option ch. 7 at this point or do you think we could negotiate monthly payments? We are in Idaho – please help :(


    • JH – Can you clarify whether the Capital One judgment and garnishment is the result of Midland Funding suing on the Capital One account after they bought it, or is the Midland Funding suit your husband fought a different creditor? I ask because the following feedback may change if the 22k judgment is with Midland Funding. I am going to assume the judgment and garnishment are owed to Capital One due to the fact that CapOne has not been much of a seller of charged off credit card debt in recent years.

      It is unlikely in the extreme that you would be able to contact the attorney for Capital One and get affordable payments set up as an alternative to the wage garnishment, as there is little incentive for them to take less than what they think they will get with the garnishment already filed. Who was the attorney that sued? Bennett, Doolittle?

      If you meet certain garnishment exemptions you can request a hearing with the court to get the Capital One judgment garnishment reduced to a more manageable level, sometimes down to zero if your income is low enough. This would be the first thing you would want to look into. If you find that you do not qualify for much of a reduction on the garnishment amount, and want to avoid bankruptcy, you would look to coming up with a lump sum settlement amount. Capital One is not as forgiving with settlements so it will take a compelling hardship to settle the judgment at roughly half the amount the judgment is for. Without a compelling hardship it may take more than half to settle the judgment.

      Filing bankruptcy is a very real option for you to get rid of the judgment debt with Capital One, and other outstanding debts, if you can qualify for chapter 7 where the debts will be discharged. The total cost of the chapter 7 will be 2k or less. Weigh that with the possibility of settling the judgement for 11k and you can see that chapter 7 will save you 9k. And we are only talking about the one debt. If there are additional debts that would be part of the bankruptcy you would see an even larger cost benefit to filing BK.

      If you rent you have no concern about keeping a home through bankruptcy. If you have only one car worth 5k, and another that you owe 6k on, you would likely be able to keep the commuter car you own outright, and continue making payments on the SUV and keep it too.

      Let me know in a comment reply the answer to the Midland Funding question and also include the balances and creditors of other unsecured debts you owe.

      • Thank you so much.

        Midland funding purchased the debt in 2010 and that is when my husband actually went to court to fight it against Bennet Law out of Utah. We contacted Bennet Law today and they will have a settlement amt to offer us tomorrow. The issue is to be honest, we do not have nor have access to any lump sum. We also contacted a local BK lawyer today and was quoted $600 to file and $300 in fees… it’s looking like that may be the better option at this point. We have about 5K in medical debt, the rest is student loans which I know will not be touched by BK. Would your suggestion at this point be to go ahead with the Ch. 7? Because the judgement and garnishment is already in process and set to be taken out already at the end of the month, is there much difference in healing this on our credit between taking the BK vs working to pay the judgement/garnishment? $435 bi weekly from our pay would completely bury us.

        Thanks again,

        • So to be clear, this is Midland Funding who has sued us and who we owe the garnishment to.

          • JH – Thanks for the follow up details. I am a bit surprised Midland bought the Capital One debt even if it was back in 2010, but it is what it is. The reason I wanted to know is that I would have had a lower settlement targeted with Midland Funding. If you cannot raise roughly 40% of the balance due, and even if you could, given the information on the lower fees the bankruptcy attorney you spoke with is charging, you will eliminate the debt for the cost of about 1k instead of close to 10k to settle the judgment. You will wipe out the medical debt with bankruptcy as well.

            As far as your credit report bouncing back from the bankruptcy you should read this article:
            That article is a good guide for you compare the credit impacts to bankruptcy. The impact to your access to credit is a great deal less than what most people think. If you have specific credit score or credit reporting questions after reader the linked article, post those in a comment on that page. The comment section over there could use some love.

  241. Hi Michael,
    Sorry to take so long getting back been kinda busy. I’m not sure what info you are needing. I don’t really know what the judgement was even originally for. We had some trouble a few years back when i lost my job and my wife was not working at the time either as we just had a baby. I would imagine it is a credit card that was turned over to a collection but the balance doesn’t match to any record I can find. I do know that some court fees have been added and probably a collection fee but just not sure. What my main concern is and my wife’s also is that our current bank account doesn’t get froze and that her work not find out as it would be very embarrassing for her.

    The judgement was posted on her credit back in December 2010 and we just received the letter stating they Writ of Garnishment to a closed bank account. We are not sure if they will keep trying to find the funds or how this even works I think contacting them may be the best way but would like some advice before just telling them where i live, work, and bank at. If you need anything else to give me better advise then i will gladly reply back.

    • Rex – No trouble on the getting back with the follow up comment. I understand your wife’s concern about her employer learning about this. It is a very real risk that they could learn about this as a result of a wage garnishment being attempted as a way to collect on the judgment, unless you live in a state where garnishments on this type of debt are not possible.

      Contacting them to resolve the account is a good plan. You will not be giving them any details at first. Your goal will be to first find out what debt this is and to match it with one you know to be yours. Find out who sued, the total balance now owed and the court the judgment was filed in. Any debt collector is going to take your calling in as an opportunity to press you for information and try to get a payment, but your response to any of that will be that you are simply trying to learn more about the debt and whether it was yours to begin with since you were never served court papers etc. If they push, just be polite and thank them for the information and that you can now go back and look at personal records and will be following up with them shortly.

      Once you have the additional details come back and post a comment update and lets take it from there.

      • Thanks,
        I will be contacting them hopefully this afternoon and will do my try to post today but may be tomorrow. Thanks again.

  242. I did start a post on the link you provided, and had my husband read through as well. I was WRONG! eek! (don’t tell him I admitted to that….) the original loan was CITI not capital one. My apologies, but it has been purchased by Midland. Could you respond on the other thread in the article you linked to?


    • JH – thanks for the clarity on Midland Funding judgment originally being a CITI account. That is more consistent with current trends. No matter what, filing for bankruptcy will put a stop to the garnishment right away. I responded to your comment on the credit reporting article – thanks for keeping the credit score and credit report discussion on that page. Now that you know bankruptcy is not the limitation to your ability to get credit that most believe it to be, stopping the garnishment and eliminating the judgment debt with bankruptcy makes sense.

  243. Discover got a Warrant of Debt, default judgement against me for $4,700 in April 2012, but I never received a summons. The original card only had a limit of $3,000 and I haven’t used it since 2008. I couldn’t afford payments due to unemployment back in January 2010. On the District General Court site for my county in VA it does not indicate that they ever served me to appear at the court date.

    They have frozen my bank account and there is a garnishment hearing on Jan 17th. Can I get the first Default Judgement repealed since I was never served? What recourse do I have if I show up to the Garnishment court date? I am currently unemployed so there is not wages to garnish right now, which I advised the law office debt collector for Discover when I spoke with them today.

    • Liz – Yes, there are options to get the judgment vacated or set aside as a result of you never having been notified that you had been sued. You really should speak with an attorney experienced with debt collection defense to get your ducks in a row for this effort. You would likely need to pay the attorney for their efforts and with no income that could be difficult. I would still recommend speaking with an attorney though.
      If you cannot connect with an attorney to help you due to cost, you should go to the hearing and outline your hardship as well as the fact that you were denied any opportunity to defend the suit.
      With no income, there is nothing to garnish. Your bank account is another matter. You may need to look at using a prepaid debit card and/or paying bills with money orders until you get the situation resolved.
      If you can post a comment reply with the name of a larger city nearby, I can send some contact information for the type of attorney you should look to consult with using the email address you entered to post here.

  244. I am deep in debt personal and business..I went out of business it was incorporated with credit card bills 70,000..I also had a line of credit for 75,000 that i signed pesonally..We have resolved the corporation so i will not be liable for the debt right?? What about the line of credit?? I also have around 60,000 in personal credit cards I think I am going to go chapter 7 on those..any advice?

    • Joe – The line of credit had your personal guarantee, but what about the business credit cards? Often business owners provide their own credit and guarantee on those too. I know I have.
      Regardless, if the business is closed and liquidated there is nothing to chase down there. If any and all unsecured credit from the business that that is tied to you is included in your personal chapter 7, it will likely be discharged along with the 60k you mentioned. This will give you the fresh start you need.

  245. I dont have any bank accounts..I only have 2 custodial accounts for my children are those 100% safe since I do not own them

    • Joe – protected from whom? If you are filing chapter 7 bankruptcy, unless there is a bunch of cash tied to you in those accounts, you probably won’t have any issues. If you were sued for a credit card debt and a judgment was entered, unfortunately I have seen bank accounts where you are a custodian (children or elderly parents) and have your name and social attached get levied. It can be a real pain to undo something like this if it happens.
      If you are filing bankruptcy with credit card judgments in place already you will generally remove that risk because the judgment debt is typically discharged in the chapter 7, or set up on a court sponsored repayment plan in a chapter 13.

  246. I have been getting garnished for the past 1 1/2 yrs. I went this route to stay away from filing bankruptcy at a young age. I have discovered that they are adding a 13 percent interest on the whole bill. It is a past credit card that originally had 6,700 dollars in past due or garnishment total. I have paid 6,500 in garnishment so far but they claim I owe another 2,000 or more in interest. Can I have the interest lowered? What can I do to be done with this garnishment? I have student loans that are waiting to be paid but with the garnishment taking 25 percent I cannot make those on top of the garnishment. Help Please, Thanks

    • Suzy – The 13% is likely judgment interest set by the court. Each state sets their own legal interest caps. Credit card judgment interest is mostly capped at an amount similar to what you owe. Some states allow the credit card agreement default interest rate to be applied after a judgment (extremely high). What state do you live in? If I knew that I could compare your 13% to what is allowed.
      You could make an offer to pay the remaining amount due on the judgment in a lump sum in order to be done with it. How likely the judgment creditor would be to accept an offer when they are getting paid already through a garnishment will vary. Who has the judgment against you? Who is the law firm that sued?

      • Thanks for your help, I am being sued by weber & olcese plc. The credit card is fia card services. I want to say it is a Bank of America credit card or HSBC? Not exact on the actual owner of the credit card. I am in Michigan. I was thinking of offering them half of the ending amount to settle the whole thing? Saving up extra cash monthly to be done with it.
        Thanks for your time.

        • Suzy – Thanks for the additional detail. Michigan made some changes to what interest can be charged on judgments, like credit card debts. 13% appears to be the cap from what I reviewed this morning.
          FIA is definitely associated with Bank of America, not HSBC.
          Offering half may/may not get the job done. The biggest hurdle you have is, with a garnishment in place, they get paid as long as you have the job or do not meet garnishment exemptions. I have seen success in settling judgment debt with a garnishment in place, when the garnishment is causing some type of hardship due to changes in your personal finances such that you could be successful in convincing the court to reduce the amount being taken from your pay check.

          • Thank you so much for the information. I will try and get a settlement and convince the courts that it needs to be settled. With my student loans kicking in that might be the extra nudge I need to finish the garnishments. I will go to the court house and call the garnish office as well. Thanks for you time and help. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  247. I am being sued by a credit card company. I live in Michigan but the debt was accumulated in California. The initial debt was for $14,000 and they are now asking for $21,000. I do not have a job and my husband is self employed. I understand if a summary judgement is issued they can levy bank accounts. Is my husband’s bank account for the business at risk? The account is in his name but I am listed on it as a “signer” only. I do have an attorney but he is proving to be difficult to work with. We went to a mediation hearing a week ago and made them an offer for 30% of what I owe, which they rejected. My attorney then said he had another place he had to be and left. No attempt was made to work out a payment plan or anything which I have told him I am not opposed to numerous times as long as I can afford the payments. So now the clock is ticking and I am wondering if I should bypass my attorney contact them directly myself and see if they will work out a payment plan before a summary judgment is issued. My biggest fear is losing personal property. I need the cards laid out on the table as to what my options are and what happens EXACTLY if they do get a summary judgement against me. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Lou – Your husband is not named in the suit, correct? Take your name off of your husbands business bank account.

      If you can answer some questions I can help you assess the situation better.

      Who is the original credit card lender? Is this who is suing you, or is it a debt buyer? What is the name of the debt collector attorney, or collection law firm suing you? When did you last make a payment on this account?

      Do you have the 30% lump sum right now?
      If you were to agree to payments, what amount would you be able to commit to each month?
      Is their a pending motion for summary judgement in the court?

      Are there other debts outstanding? If so, who are those debts owed to and how much are the balances?

      If you answer the above questions in a comment reply I will be better able to lay out my feedback.

      • Yes, I have $7000 in cash now. I had to borrow that from my mom. The original lender was Chase Bank but I am being sued by Easy Loans Corp. thru their attorney, Roosen, Varchetti & Olivier, PLLC. They are located in Mount Clements, MI. I could come up with around $300/mo. I do not know if there is a pending motion or not yet. They wanted me to submit our financials (tax returns) in order to consider the lesser amount. That income in not mine, it is my husbands and he is not listed in the suit. We also owe the IRS $6000. We have a piece of property in Cal that has tax liens against it. We are also paying on a business loan from a private party, the amount of that loan is $25,000. The thing that concerns me most about submitting tax returns is my husband and his sister sold a piece of property last year for a sizeable amount but we had a loan against that and so his settlement was only $38,000 when it was all said and done. That money he reinvested in his business after paying off some things. So I’m afraid that if they see the tax returns they are going to think we are better off than we are. We also have a boat that his sister loaned him the money to buy that we are paying her for. It is registered in my name because of possible liability issues to protect the business. I am concerned if they get a judgement they will make us sell it. I am thinking of putting it my sister in law’s name because it technically does belong to her since we are still paying for it. So I need to take my name off the business account even tho I am only a signer? That will make it difficult to pay bills.

        • Also the last payment was made in July 2006 I believe.

          • Lou – Thanks for the details. My feedback will have some additional questions. The first question I have is – What was the date you were served with the lawsuit? The statute of limitations for this type of debt is 6 years in Michigan. Your certainty about the date of last payment and the date you were sued are very important at his point. If the debt is legitimately time barred because the SOL expired it would provide the simplest solution to you right now.
            Assuming the debt is not time barred:
            Does your attorney have debt collection defense expertise? I am asking because you are being sued by a debt buyer. One who may have purchased the debt from someone else who bought the debt etc. Debt buyers who sue on unpaid credit card bills have had an increasingly difficult time proving their claims in the courts when those claims are challenged and defended by an experienced consumer law attorney. If your attorney does not have this experience, but you would like to continue to work with him, there are others in the legal profession who offer resources to other attorneys. I can send you some attorney contact info via email for him to connect with in order to fill a gap. Otherwise, you may want to speak with an experienced debt collection defense attorney yourself and evaluate whether there are others who can represent your interests.
            If I were in your shoes I would not submit any tax returns or other financial information to the Roosen firm or Easy Loans Corp. It will be used to further their goal of getting paid at this point.
            You may want to consider talking with your current attorney, or a different one, about your husband and his sister memorializing the loan she made, and the payment structure she is getting, in a UCC filing that would establish her interest in the boat. This is very common and would typically prevent judgment creditors from forcing the sale of something when that act would harm someone not party to the judgment. I am not certain this is necessary if your name is not on the boat. A Michigan attorney would be best able to advise you on this.
            Taking your name off of a business account may not be necessary. It is simply a caution if there are judgment debts out there. You can overcome the need for you to sign checks with your husband have a signature stamp made. You would use the stamp instead of your signing the checks. I had one made for my wife many years ago :)
            If the Chase debt Easy Loans is suing to collect is not past the SOL, and were correct defenses made, and discovery requests that are often difficult for them to meet submitted, I like your chances of settling the debt for roughly the amount you have available. If you can answer my additional questions I will be able to respond with more feedback.

  248. I found my attny thru a google search in the area for a debt collection attny so I have to assume he is experienced. I don’t know where I put the paper with the exact date of last payment. I could be wrong about it. I do remember asking about it being time barred and my attny also said the SOL was 6 yrs here and they were within that time limit, although not by much. My attny is also advising me to submit the tax returns and I just have a really bad feeling about that. My husband is afraid they will come in and make him sell off all his equipment and such to satisfy the debt as well. This is what I am most trying to prevent. Right now all I want to do is whatever is necessary to prevent them from taking the little bit we do have which isn’t much. The stress from all of the uncertainty and not knowing what they can and can’t do or what they will probably do is starting to take a serious toll on my health .

    • You may have an attorney up to the task. It is just that things you have shared in these comments lead me to question the experience level.
      I cannot stress how important it is to nail down precisely when the date of last payment was. If the debt is time barred from legitimately using the courts to collect it would mean a very simple end to this. What do your credit reports show as date of last payment? What is the date listed for the account having been charged off by the original creditor. Please share the answers in a comment update. The date of last activity gets rigged sometimes by debt collectors and debt buyers. The charge off date reporting by the original lender would be a better indicator depending on what you find.
      I really do not think sharing tax returns and the like at this point is well timed.
      I sincerely believe you will be able to avoid anything like forced sale of equipment even if there were a judgment later entered.

      I know this is coming from someone on the outside looking in, but you should not allow this situation to take anything away from you. Not your ability to cope, enjoy your day, and leasat of all your health. I am saying this as someone who has directly helped many thousands of people resolve debt and credit setbacks. Nothing you have shared with me so far suggest that you would not be able to resolve this in a manner that sets you up for future successes.

      I received your email request for attorney contact information and I will email that to you after catching up with comments from the holiday (couple hours).

  249. My name is the only name on the boat at the moment. We did that so that if there was an accident on the water they could not pursue damages against my husband’s business. So can we still do a UCC filing against the boat? The house is also in my name only. It was a gift from my mom, technically part of my inheritance, after my dad passed away. The property in Calif is jointly owned by us but was inherited from his family. Everything else is his or in his name only.

    • Lou – Yes, a UCC filing outlining your agreement is still possible. While filing the arrangement is a very simple process, I would still recommend you speak with an attorney about it. Now that you have brought forward other assets, I would really encourage you to sit down with an estate planning attorney once all the dust settles with the credit card lawsuit. Getting your ducks in a row with assets is just good planning and would prevent stresses that can happen later, when you know you have structured your affairs appropriately.

  250. Can you tell me how much time I have before they will most likely file for a summary judgement. I’m thinking I may want to consult with a second attorney. The mediation hearing was on the 17th. I was served in mid October and that summons expires Jan 10th, 2013. Whatever that means.

    • Lou – I cannot give you an accurate prediction of when the debt buyer Easy Loan Corp and their attorney may file anything additionally with the court.

      If you were served in Oct of 2012, and last made a payment on the debt in July of 2006 than the SOL is passed. They would have needed to serve you the summons and complaint before July XX, 2012. Please follow up with looking at your credit reports that I suggested in the prior comment.

      I would definitely encourage you to speak with another attorney. One who I know has the experience you would want to look for.

  251. I received a summons on 12/22/12 from the Bishop, White, Marsall, and Weibel,PS for a Discover card debt of 3271.82 +477.18 atty fee and 10% int annually.
    I had to stop paying Discover because quite frankly the IRS and CA State scared me more. I paid Discover a full year after I stopping paying all of my other credit cards because they worked with me initially and the others wouldn’t.
    We used a debt settlement company for the others for which I also had Discover Card listed but still tried to contunue paying. The debt settlement company was a fake and as we learned thru another creditor and we lost over 5700. leaving me with further debt unpaid and no means to recover the lost funds
    Now I am looking at a court action poss resulting in AWG or Bank Lien for Discover
    I have filed Exempt at work for the past 4 years causing me to have an IRS and CA state appx 3500-3700 per year before penalties and int. just to make our house payment since my income has declined. Currently I am behind $3,272.18 CA state and 3593.41 with IRS. this is expected to rise by another 3200-8000 each depending on new tax laws still to be decided. I am no longer allowed to file exemption so now 42% taxes will be taken on my bonuses which is 2/3 of my income and I think 18% int on regular pay. We were barely making it with no taxes being taken out.

    I have to serve Discover Card or is it their attorney’s in Los Angeles, CA I live in Northern CA. do I need to hire someone or can it be mailed??
    Can my response include listing with copies of my expenses and income to prove inability to pay not just failure to pay. or is there certain forms. these docs dont give much instruction.

    I s it too late to try to settle or work out a payment plan although skipping house payments doesnt solve any problems but has the same end result losing my home if losing exempt status then awg on top of that.

    Is bankrupcy an options?? is it too late since I have already been served

    Sorry for rambling it isnt as though we spend frivously anymore for the past 4 yrs we have the essential cars are paid off and in need of constant repair, no hm # cell is basic no frills, cable is only luxury no extras or paid channels, we dont eat out or celebrate birthdays or holidays for each other due to cost.
    An Attotrney will cost more that the bill itsself.
    Please any advice you can give is greatly appreciated
    Thank You

  252. I’m surprised at the indepth responses Micheal has given on this site. It is really appreciated and surprising. Here is my situation; I reside in IL and have a summon for court on the 28th of Jan for a CITIBANK, NA credit card in the amount of $7860, credit limit of $7k (interest and fees). Lawyers are Blitt and Gaines PC. I had defaulted on 5 credit cards and my Mortgage due to seperation from spouse, leading to a drastic reduction in household income. I was left with all the household bills and care of 2 kids under seven. I reached out to all the credit card companies for a reduction in payment/payment arrangement and three of the five agreed to a monthly affordable pament. I was also eventually able to remodify my home mortgage. CITIBANK and Macy’s will not negotiate or reduce my monthly payment, hence the default. Should i call the attorneys and offer them a 50 % settlement before the court date which i will not have till February after I file my taxes or just go to court (i plan to ask for an itemized statment of how they came up the amount owed or and also take with me an itemized list of my monthly bills)?. Another question is can i redirect my wages to my business account (I have a registered tax business) in case of bank levy? Thank you for all your answers.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      herika – Yes, you can offer to settle the debts now. You may even be able to get 50% given the hardships you have. If you need to buy time until you get your tax return, it may prove strategically important to file an answer to the complaint first. If you challenge the suit correctly you may be able to buy a couple of months time, which would allow you to come up with the money to settle. Also, putting up a defense means you establish you are not part of the more than 90% of credit card lawsuits that go uncontested. I have seen better settlements accomplished when people challenge the suit (though this is not always necessary when you do not need to buy time).

      I would encourage you to speak with an experienced debt collection defense attorney first and before taking your next step. I can send you contact info for an attorney with the experience you need if you would like. Just let me know in a comment reply and I will send the details to the email address you use to post here.

      I would not go to the point of depositing money into a business account until there is a judgment entered. You are not at risk of a bank levy unless there is a judgment.

      • Thank you so much for your response. I will like to get few referals in my area for a good, reasonably priced attorney(offers free consultation). I donot know what a good response will be to the complaint but I know the summons says if I deny any portion of the complaint, the trial will not be held on the court date written on the summons so i can buy time.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          herika – I sent you an email with contact details for a good attorney with the experience you need to defend the lawsuit.

          • Hello. I spoke with the attorney. I had questions about Chapter 7 and 13 since i have $43k in Credit card Debt, if it was worth settling with CITIBANK; Meaning it doesnt really change my credit score. Unfortunately, he is not licenced for Bankcupcy in my area(Zip code is 60502; Dupage County IL). Can you recommend a reasonable one in my area??? Thanks

  253. Hi. I’m being sued by Cach, LLC for an unpaid credit card debt through a third-party debt collector in my state (CT). I was served with papers the day after Christmas. I am fully aware of the debt, but I do not have the money to pay due to unemployment. I’ve been trying my hardest to find work but no luck. The credit card debt is for a little over $4,000.00. In the papers, it states they are willing to reach an agreement but I’m just not sure what I can pay. My mother is willing to help me out again, but I don’t want her overspend like last time. Last year, I made the mistake of calling the first debt collector and was bullied into paying $1,000.00 (my mother’s money); I fell into their scare tactics. Now, I’m more aware and don’t want a repeat of last time. The credit card was from 2009, I believe.

    My question is: Can I possibly work out an agreement without contacting a lawyer (I can’t afford one)? If not, what steps should I take? Should I look into debt consolidation? I honestly don’t know what to do at this point. I don’t want to go to jail over this. I did look up all necessary information in my state (Connecticut), but I’m afraid if I take the next step, I’ll mess something up. My court date is on Jan 22nd, 2013. Thank you!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Aisha – Given the details you have shared so far, settling the Cach LLC account for something close to half of the 4k would be a good target. Can you access this much from family?

      As far as what to do to settle the lawsuit without hiring an attorney of your own, you can:

      Call the collection attorney hired by Cach to sue you and discuss your hardship and lack of income.
      Your able to borrow from you mother to either settle the debt, but she only has so much to lend.
      If they agree to settle at an amount you can come up with you will want to get the agreement in writing and in your hands prior to funding the settlement.

      I know that sounds simple. That’s because it is. They may not go for a settlement as low as you need, but settling this is as simple as making the call and working through the details of why you did not pay, and cannot pay.

      I have some question of my own for you:

      Are there other debts than the Cach LLC lawsuit? If so, what are those debts (who owed and how much)?

      You cannot go to jail over this. The only time you hear about someone going to jail over a credit card debt is when sued, get a judgment against them, and later ignore (or never know about) a court order to appear for an asset hearing or something along those lines. If you are a participant in the process at all stages – jail is out of the question.

      You are past the point of debt consolidation being of any benefit.

      If you can answer my questions about any additional debts you have in a comment reply I will have some additional feedback for you.

      • Hello and thank you so much replying!

        This is pretty much what I was hoping for in regards to settling this lawsuit. I plan on contacting their attorney via letter before the year is over discussing the hardships with money I’m currently facing. My mother is offering me enough cash to help me settle, but I’m just worried the amount won’t be enough to satisfy them. My mother and I were discussing monthly payments of between $50 and $100, but I don’t think this is what they would want. I’m going to have to go with the large lump sum route; I’m thinking at least $2,000.00 should satisfy them. Plus, I just want this ordeal to be over with before the schedule court date.

        I have no other Cach LLC lawsuits thankfully, but I do have student loans from Sallie Mae totaling a little over $11,000.00. I recently apply for a second deferment since I’m eligible again, so I don’t think I would have too many issues with that. Thank you again!

      • Okay, something else I forgot to add:

        I got laid off in June 2012 from a factory job after working for only 3 months (a job I was hoping to keep long enough to pay off this debt). From June to August, I tried my best finding and applying for work online and in/near my current residence. With no luck, I finally decided to apply for unemployment benefits in Sept. 2012. All the money I received from those 3 months of working ended up going towards things needed for my household such as food, home appliances that were desperately needed, laundry, etc. The amount of unemployment I receive is between $30-40 per week. Since I still live at home, I use the money primarily for food shopping for my family. I also go to as many food pantries as I can.

        What I want to know is when I write my letter to their attorney explaining my hardships, should I mention I collect unemployment and provide proof, such as bank statements, receipts of groceries I brought, and anything else to show why I could not pay off the debt right away and how I’m using this bit of money to support my family? I want to provide them with much info and documents as I can, so this could all end quickly. I am STILL looking for work by the way. Thanks again!

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Aisha – I do not often recommend you write in your offer to settle. Most of this can be accomplished over a phone call or three. There are instances where documentation such as you are suggesting providing can help get a lower settlement, or any settlement. I do not see your situation as one where this would be necessary if you are able to come up with roughly half the amount to settle with Cach.

          You can certainly highlight all of the serious hardship details (unemployment, living with a family member etc) when working this out.

          Are there any reasons you can share with me that prevent you from getting this resolved over the phone?

          • Hi. Thanks again for responding!

            It’s sounds silly but I’m just not comfortable talking over the phone, especially with a debt collector. It makes me uncomfortable and I don’t want to speak with them sounding fearful and scared. Also, in the court summons paper I was served with, they made it clear I could write to them if I felt uncomfortable talking to them over the phone. I was going to work on the letter and gather up all my documents and mail it off Monday. They would get it later that day since the office is in my city (actually near downtown). I just want to make it painless as possible if you understand where I’m coming from. Thanks again!

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Aisha – I do understand. Yours is one of the situations where I believe my industry (debt relief companies and professionals) serve the public. My comment here is out of context with this page of the site, but consistent with the the position I have held for many years. People can settle debts themselves with the right approach and information and save money by not hiring a pro. There are instances where hiring someone makes sense i.e. not comfortable with anything DIY and debt collection or negotiation, an instance where a pro can deliver a better outcome, an attorney is recommended, or when dealing with multiple debts and help prioritizing which to deal with first, second, third etc.

              You have to go with what you know, and if that means writing in, roll with it. I just would NOT send in bank statements, receipts, or anything other than a fact based letter about your hardships and the fact that you live with a family member who is willing to fund the settlement, but who only has so much to give.

              I rarely post a comment on this site, or any other, highlighting the benefits of CRN membership. Our site is certainly about helping people on line for free whenever possible. We do offer professional guidance and assistance at what is still likely the most affordable cost around. If you should find yourself struggling through any of this, look into CRN membership.

          • Thanks again for the reply! I’m just going to go with my gut and write them the letter. I feel more confident and comfortable with this approach. Hopefully, everything turns out for the better and I won’t have to step foot in a courtroom. Also, one more thing, should I mention my unemployment benefits in the letter? I know you said I shouldn’t send them anything like bank statements, receipts, etc, but I just want to make sure.

            Thank you again for all your help and advice! I really do appreciate it and feel more confident in ending this debt lawsuit once and for all. :)

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Aisha – receiving unemployment at the rate of 30 to 40 dollars a week is both a weakness and a strength for you. Weak in that it sucks to be unemployed and receive so little in order to try to get by. Strength in that you are a not a great collection target with so little financial resources at the moment. If it were me writing the letter I would include my being on unemployment and the amount.

          • Hi and thanks again for the reply and advice. Okay, I have one more question I forgot to ask (sorry):

            In my letter, should I ask them what amount they are willing to settle for or tell them the amount I can offer? I decided against the monthly payments because I just want this to be the last time we are in contact. However, if this is route I have to go for then so be it. In the lawsuit, they were also asking me to cover their legal fees and obviously I can’t afford that. Thanks again!

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Aisha – Your offer should be an amount that you are confident you can fund. That amount is what it is regardless of the fees being sought. I am of the opinion that half should get the job done.

              If not taking the path to defend one, settling a credit card lawsuit, whether being sued by the original creditor or a debt buyer like Cach LLC, is nearly always going to be a better option than agreeing to long term payments. With a lump sum settlement it is over and there is no risk of later garnishment, bank levy, or liens. Making long term payments often means signing off on a stipulation or confession of judgment, so you get the judgment anyway, have it appear on the public records section of your credit report for 7 years, often end up paying judgment interest, and any number of unfortunate things can happen after that.

          • Hello again! Thanks for the response! I’m going to go with the lump sum payment option, I just have to get my mother in agreement on what amount is right so she won’t go bankrupt again. She knows I’m going to pay her back. I’m going to spend the right amount of time on the letter and mail it off early Monday morning. They should get it that day and hopefully an agreement to end this will be made by the end of that week.

            Thank you again for all your help and advice; I really appreciate it. I feel more confident about everything now. I will update you on how it all went. :)

  254. I received a summons on 12/22/12 from the Bishop, White, Marsall, and Weibel,PS for a Discover card debt of 3271.82 +477.18 atty fee and 10% int annually.
    I had to stop paying Discover because quite frankly the IRS and CA State scared me more. I paid Discover a full year after I stopping paying all of my other credit cards because they worked with me initially and the others wouldn’t.
    We used a debt settlement company for the others for which I also had Discover Card listed but still tried to contunue paying. The debt settlement company was a fake and as we learned thru another creditor and we lost over 5700. leaving me with further debt unpaid and no means to recover the lost funds
    Now I am looking at a court action poss resulting in AWG or Bank Lien for Discover
    I have filed Exempt at work for the past 4 years causing me to have an IRS and CA state appx 3500-3700 per year before penalties and int. just to make our house payment since my income has declined. Currently I am behind $3,272.18 CA state and 3593.41 with IRS. this is expected to rise by another 3200-8000 each depending on new tax laws still to be decided. I am no longer allowed to file exemption so now 42% taxes will be taken on my bonuses which is 2/3 of my income and I think 18% int on regular pay. We were barely making it with no taxes being taken out.
    I have to serve Discover Card or is it their attorney’s in Los Angeles, CA I live in Northern CA. do I need to hire someone or can it be mailed??
    Can my response include listing with copies of my expenses and income to prove inability to pay not just failure to pay. or is there certain forms. these docs dont give much instruction.
    I s it too late to try to settle or work out a payment plan although skipping house payments doesnt solve any problems but has the same end result losing my home if losing exempt status then awg on top of that.
    Is bankrupcy an options?? is it too late since I have already been served
    An Attotrney will cost more that the bill itsself.
    Please any advice you can give is greatly appreciated
    Thank You

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Rae – I would not proceed with anything related to the Discover lawsuit until you have spoken with a bankruptcy attorney about qualifying for chapter 7. You are being hit hard for different types of debts. The tax debt would be the primary concern. If you can wipe out the non tax debts and then use available resources to tackle the taxes, it would make sense from a priority of who can extract what from you. Contrary to popular belief, there are circumstances where you can even discharge some tax debts in bankruptcy (they are limited though).

      Do you have equity in the home?

    • Hi Michael I want to thank you for the quick response sorry for the double post.
      We bought the home in Oct 2008 for 297000 for 1 acre in late 2009 it shows on Zellow as 189.000 no equity at all and the refi in 2009 was messed up and what was a fixed FHA became a Loan that Taylor Bean frogot to get FHA insured before the Governement shut them down and now I am not sure what type of loan it is but I dont pay PMI anymore.
      sorry long answer to short question.

      • Michael Bovee says:

        Rae – Thank you for the follow up. It may be time to consider bankruptcy and giving up the home that is not likely to return to positive for many years. Chapter 7 would wipe out the unsecured debts and stop the Discover lawsuit in its tracks – no judgment, garnishment, bank levy. If the house is a stretch even while falling behind on other bills, it just may not be the right situation for you right now. You can qualify for FHA type underwriting and financing of another home purchase 2 years after your chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge.

        Slimming your living costs to the level you need to in order to get the tax issues with the CA FTB and the IRS resolved in the next 2 years could provide you a good opportunity to turn your financial ship around in a 2 or so year time frame.

        • I know this may sound childish and unrealistic in my situation but this house since I walked in it has felt like home to me . In all of my 50 yrs and many homes I have never felt safe or happy until this house.
          I cant explain it right but I can actuallly sleep at night and I dont have panic attacks anymore, ok, except for this last week on the 22nd when I was served.
          Is there any way to reorganize or work things out without losing the house.

          • Michael Bovee says:

            Rae – Yes, you can keep the home through your chapter 7 bankruptcy. It would be a matter of continuing payments. My concern for you, and this is from the outside looking in, is that the home has been a struggle to keep even when falling behind with other bills, including taxes. You can file bankruptcy and discharge the Discover credit card debt, eliminate the lawsuit and your concerns about garnishment from a judgment. If keeping the home means you are still in a constant struggle to meet other obligations without the unsecured debts looming over you, it would not really allow you to maximize the fresh start you would look for from filing bankruptcy. If you were to include the home in the bankruptcy, any residual debt from the home would be rolled up in the bankruptcy and resolved.

            I understand the desire to stay in the home. There are nearly always other things to consider with a decision like this other than the math. If you would like to get feedback on strategies for keeping the home while dealing with the other debts, I will share my thoughts. I would ask that you start a new page for this, because the discussion will drift away from settling judgment debt and lawsuits, which is what this page is centered on. If you are up to it, you can start a new page here:

            In the background section include ALL debts such as credit card and collection accounts, personal loans, tax debts, amounts, who is owed, who is collecting etc. Also include your mortgage debt and who the loan servicer is, what your payments and rates are. Include the info about Taylor Bean. Also share your approximate monthly income and whether that is consistent or fluctuates.

            I can provide my feedback and some strategic considerations for you in response.

  255. OK i finally got a hold of the creditor. It is from Chase bank and and was originally for 854. After there fees it is 1216. I talked to them and asked if i could settle for a 600 lump payment. The girl i talked to sent it in for approval but said she wouldn’t know anything until this afternoon for me to call back. She initially said they could settle for 800 but i was shooting for something a little lower so it didn’t completely break my bank . I figured just easier to settle then to try and see if the SOL has ran out or fight the judgement. It wont get it vacated but she said they would send a letter stating it was satisfied and to my understanding really doesn’t help my credit much. However in the long run i wont have to be looking over my shoulder and wondering if this will ever catch us. If you have anything you think i should do or ask for please let me know.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Rex – Settling will not in and of itself improve your credit score. Having the judgment show as satisfied and no longer owed will have an incremental impact on the credit score over a short period of time because the amount owed will not be factored into your debt to income ratio. So, even though you are not going to get the judgment removed, you still do get to mak some credit report progress.

      You absolutely need to get the agreement in writing and be certain that they are responsible for updating the court with the fact that the judgment is satisfied.

      Good work!

  256. Steve Smith says:

    About a year ago American Express got a judgement against me personally, and also listed my business (LLC) as a second defendant. The amount due is approximately $33,000

    I filed chapter 7 bancruptcy and recived a discharge for the personal obligation. I have had no contact from the Amex attorney in a year. Does my discharge do anything to the business as second defendant? They have not filed a UCC or other lein on business assets. What else can the do at this point? I am going to sell the business, but the proceeds are simply enough to satisfy the secured creditors. There may be a small amount left over, less than $5k, that i could use to try and pay off, but I don’t want to draw attention to my case by approaching them either. Thoughts?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Steve – Once the business is dissolved there is nothing out there for them to try to collect on. The debt is likely in a limbo status because it has been coded in their system as discharged through bankruptcy (even though the business name is another judgment debtor).

      If I were personally in your situation I would dissolve the business and move on. 5k is not going to resolve a 33k AMEX judgment debt except in the rarest of situations.

  257. Micheal, Thank you for the contact info. I have sent them a message. I will keep you posted.

  258. Hi Michael, I live in San Francisco, CA. Someone knocked on my door tonight and handed my husband a summon that was meant for me from Bishop, White, Marshall & Weibel for a Discover Card debt of $7k and attorney’s fee of $1k. The fact that I didn’t actually got the summon in my hand from that delivery person, am I still considered properly served? Should I respond? There is no court date in the summon. But it did asked me to respond in writing within 30 days of the receipt of the summon.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Helen – Yes, you were served at your address and the papers were delivered to someone over the age of 16. In nearly all instances I know of, this would be called proper service of the lawsuit. You have options to manage the situation with the Discover debt now, or through the court process. What is it you are prepared to do with this debt? Are there other debts outstanding that have gone unpaid for sometime?

      • I have no other unpaid debt. Court date is set for 11/2013. If they win, how likely will they put a lien on my property? I do not work and have very little money in my checking account, no savings account. How long will the lien stay on record at the city recorder? Will they foreclose with the lien if the property has no mortgage? Can they foreclose if the property has 3 owners? Is the lien attach to me or to the property? If I Quitclaim the property to 1 of the owners, would the lien still have its affects? If I Quitclaim the property to 1 of the owners, can that owner file a Quiet Title to clear the lien? Or should I Grant Deed to 1 of the owners to detach the lien? What process do the debt collectors use to find where you currently work? Tax filings?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Helen – Can you fill me in with what has happened in the 6 plus months since you last posted?

          A judgment can be renewed in 10 years for another 10 years, so the shelf life on this is long. No, I do not think they would try to foreclose on a judgment lien, let alone with three owners. Quitclaims when being sued are not a good idea. They can be undone if proven as a fraud to evade creditors. Talk to an attorney about this.

          Debt collectors have many tools to help them learn as much about you as possible in order to help them collect. Access to your tax filings would not be one of them.

  259. So i talked to the lady again and she told me that they had accepted my 600 dollar offer and wanted a fax or email to send the paper work to. I gave her my email address but last night got to thinking that maybe i should have had her mail it to me. Is there any difference in the legal aspect in getting a email or getting physical copies in the mail? She is going to send them today stating the amount owed and due date to settle but im kinda leery of the way its being sent. please any advise.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Rex – The email you receive would typically have an attached settlement agreement letter. That attached agreement would be the same letter outlining settlement details you would receive via fax or through the mail. Once you receive that, read it over and look to make sure it contains all of the basics I cover in this post:

      If there are things missing, or you have questions, post a new comment.

      • Thanks so much. I just received the letter via email attachment and all looks good. It has everything in your list. I have it signed and just need a money order now. Thanks again for all you help. I sure you must be very busy and its awesome to lend your expertise to people that need it. THANKS !!

  260. Steve Smith says:

    Michael, thank you for a prompt response. that kind of responsiveness is rare and will serve you well. I’m impressed. Acouple follow-up questions;

    1) Are you saying $5K wont settle the debt because it is Amex specifically? As in theya re tougher to settle with.
    2) What would be a reasonable range they might consider?
    3) What if I get lucky and have money left over after the sale (selling not dissolving), say $50k that i just pocket?
    4) The sale is an asset sale of inventory, trade names, IP, equipment, goodwill etc. Since the buyer is not purchasing the company name or books, this issue won’t follow them right?
    5) In your experience will it just forever be lost in “limbo”, or will they eventually see that while my obligation was discharged, the corporate obligation was not?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Steve – Your welcome.

      1. Settlement targeting with AMEX, where there is a lawsuit or judgment, is more typically targeted at a floor of 50% based on today’s trends. There are exceptions that would cause that target to be lower or higher. Yours is one where I can see the floor being lower. Generally speaking, it is not that a creditor, collector, buyer or account disposition makes a file “tougher” to settle with. Each variance simply involves SOP given the set of circumstances. Settling is highly predictable once the facts and players are known. There are potential leverage points for you to settle at a lower rate that I can see. Even with the little detail you have shared at this point. If it were me in your shoes I would not attempt any discussion to resolve the issue on behalf of the business until the sale is concluded.

      2. A reasonable amount for settling the AMEX judgment can range between zero and 50% – given what you have shared to date. Without any lien placed against the business assets that would prevent your liquidating, personal obligation wiped out by the BK, you will be in the drivers seat. Just be certain this cannot be reopened in your chapter 7 case, which you can speak with your bankruptcy attorney about to make certain the year that has passed is sufficient.

      3. If you have enough to resolve the judgment held against the business it would likely be because you want to preserve the business name and its ability to operate in the market place at a later date.

      4. If the buyer is not purchasing the company, this would not haunt them, but it is always best to get an attorney with experience in this type of thing to weigh in on this concern.

      5. I have seen files like this stay in limbo forever. I have also seen the attorneys that brought the case and obtained a judgment seek every angle of collection against a business judgment debtor. The former does not appear to be the case if you have heard nothing in the last year.

      Also note that even judgment debts get sold to junk debt investors. AMEX does not typically do this, but there is quite a bit of flux going on in this area. I point this out in case you look to resolve this and find the account is with a purchaser, or where you decide to do nothing at this time, but later find the account comes to life with an aggressive collector seeking payment from the business.

  261. Hello Michael,
    I had contacted you in early December on this post with questions regarding Kramer, Linkie and Taylor LLC having my American Express account. Well a little over a week ago the rep I told you about contacted me saying he can ask for a 50% settlement on the $1600 owed. So I would pay $807 total, then the account will be satisfied. He said I would need to do it in 2 installments of $400 each. I told him I can’t do that much but maybe can borrow and come up with $300. I last spoke to him week ago and said by December 31st I should have the $300. Next month ending of January I will do the remaining $507. I told him I need everything in writing before I make the $300 payment, which he said will do.
    I wanted to know is there anything else to ask for so they will not be trying to come back for the remainder of the $800 since settling with them. It is on the court docket here in Virginia how can I make sure they put judgement satisfied? Also since on my credit report can I get it removed? Thanks much!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Tasha – Good work settling the credit card judgment. You definitely need the settlement agreement in writing. Part of that agreement needs to include that the court will be updated with the fact that the judgment has been satisfied. If they do not update the court record, you can, but that will add some time and cost to your side of this arrangement. It is better to get them to follow through, and they are likely collecting in that court frequently, so this is a reasonable request.

      The best way to protect yourself settling credit card debt, in the courts or not, is to have the written agreement and a copy of proof of all payments you made settling a debt (including dates), stored in a safe place. If the amount not paid as part of the settlement were to pop up again, your documentation and proof of having settled the judgment can be used to put a stop to any additional collection effort immediately. With a satisfaction of judgment filed with the court, you would also have the benefit of a court record showing the debt as paid.

      When it comes to credit reporting and the judgment – it is going to stay on the public record section of your credit report for 7 years from the date the judgment was entered. Neither AMEX or Kramer Linkie and Taylor will be able to do anything about the public record maintained by the court. Unless of course they were to back out the whole lawsuit, which is just not going to happen. The negative impact of a credit card judgment on your credit report will diminish over time. If you are taking measured steps to improve your credit, the now satisfied judgment will not impair your ability to get credit with fair terms in the near future.

  262. I fell ill and was on half pay (disability) for a period in 2011 till 2012. I had no choice but to walk away from my credit card debt that I had always paid on time faithfully. Today I received a Summons to answer the complaint for for judgement of the debt totalling 9504.22 plus interest. I want to respond to the attorney representing the credit union I just am not sure how I should proceed.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Ali – What are your goals with this account? Are you looking to settle, set up payments, defend the collection lawsuit? Your goals are going to suggest the next step you take to handle this. Post a comment reply with what you want to accomplish here and I will have feedback for you.

  263. Hello Michael,

    I live in Tennessee, and I have a court date set for January 14, 2013. I am being sued by Citibank through a law firm in Gallatin, TN. This is for a credit card that I quit paying on back in 2007 because they raised my interest rate from 4.99% to 33% due to my “high amount of revolving debt”. Back in 2007, I called to try and get them to lower the interest rate, but because I had no late payments and was not behind, they declined to lower it. I actually got 3 letters from different credit card companies in a two week span that did the same thing for the same reason. None were willing to negotiate at the time because I was not delinquent. The amount I owed when I quit paying it was $9,498.56, and the suit is for $11,910.78 plus court fees. I don’t have any money for a lump sum settlement offer, but is it too late for me to offer monthly payments to avoid going to court?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Cam – With a Citibank credit card that old it may not be Citi suing you. It could be a debt buyer using an attorney to sue and collect. When debt buyers sue on old debts like this it can open up additional options for you. Let me know in a comment reply the name of the debt collection attorney or law firm, and who is listed in the caption on the first page of the lawsuit if anyone other than Citibank.

      You certainly can work on setting up a payment arrangements for a credit card, or debt buyer law suit. Whether what you can afford to pay each month is something they will accept can be determined in a couple of phone calls. If you do agree to a payment arrangement you should be prepared to sign a stipulation or confession of judgment. This would mean if you miss an agreed upon payment they can move quickly to wage garnishment and bank levy. You would lose your ability to raise any defenses. There is often judgment interest attached to these kind of payment agreements, so you should negotiate no interest as part of the deal, or be certain your payments are enough to not place you in a position where you are paying on this for years and years.

      Before doing anything, let me know the answer to my question about anyone else named in the suit as plaintiff other than Citibank. If you are being sued by a debt buyer I will have some additional feedback and resources to suggest you check out.

      • Hello Michael,

        It says it is a Civil Action brought by ASSET ACCEPTANCE LLC assignee of CITIBANK in care of Steve F Glaser, Esq at Fulton, Friedman & Gullace, LLP.

        Any additional advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Cam – You are being sued by a debt buyer, a business that buys up very delinquent debt for a steep discount of the face value on the balances owed with the sole purpose of collecting from enough people to turn a profit. Debt buyers have had difficulty in proving their claims when they are challenged in court correctly. The best way to defend against these king of debt buyer collection lawsuits is to have an experienced collection defense attorney on your side. There are a heck of a lot more collection attorneys out there than there are consumer attorneys with the experience you would want in defending you. There are a few in TN I can send you contact info for. Calling one of these attorneys will generally involve a free consultation where you will learn more about your options. After that call you would be much better prepared to consider your next step. Post a reply to this comment and let me know you want the attorney info and I will send to the email you use to comment here.

          Bottom line, the cost and implications of agreeing to a long term payment plan on this lawsuit without first speaking to an experienced attorney about your options and the much lower costs to file an answer and defend the suit, just makes good sense. Many of these debt buyer lawsuits can be beat and dismissed – with the right strategy and help. You can also find that the simple act of filing an answer opens up payment and settlement options that would not have been the case otherwise.

          • Michael,

            I would definitely be interested in speaking to an experienced attorney if you can suggest any. Thank you again.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Cam – I sent you an email with contact info for three different attorneys. I do not know what part of Tennessee you are in so I sent info for one east, central and west.

          • Michael,

            That brings a question to mind… they have to disclose the amount they paid for the debt from Citibank?

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Cam – No, they do not have to disclose what they paid for it in a general sense. That information may be able to be obtained through the court process. This is something your attorney may press for as part of their discovery requests. What Asset Acceptance paid for the account is not something to get hung up on.

  264. Hey Michael,

    I have some business debt totaling about 150k. one is a bofa credit card, the other is a wells fargo line of credit, both unsecured to the business, an s-corp. I can’t pay them any more as the business is all but dead now. How can I get out of these without losing my house which does have seome equity (about 200k equity in it)?

    I am fine with closing the business, chap 13′ing it, whatnot.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Steve – If the business debts are exclusively in the name of the business and you did not provide a personal guarantee of any sort, a clean break from the business is possible. How are you billed for the accounts? Did you provide your SS# in the approval process for the credit lines? Have you spoke with a bankruptcy attorney?

      • OK, so how do I find out about if there is a personal guarantee on either of them?

        Also, I have heard that if you have no assets they will make you an offer instead of suing…could I go for a line of credit on my home to help pay down, and then hope they offer something instead of sue, since after taking out the line of credit, there’d be little equity for them to get? I live in CA and believe the homestead protection is at 100k.


        • Michael Bovee says:

          Steve – If you are not certain about whether the lines with BofA and Wells Fargo are personally guaranteed, look to the original loan docs if you have them, or request a copy from both banks. You can also speak with someone in the business loan side of the bank and ask if the loans are personally guaranteed, but having a document to back up what they are saying is a good idea. If a branch location nearby has a business loan specialist you can sit down with them and discuss the nature of the loans.

          We have settled business debts on LOC’s with both of your banks while a business was struggling and with some assets, and also when being wound down with little to no assets. Wells Fargo business lines over a certain dollar amount get a special treatment that can add a layer of documentation, but still doable.

          It is normal to want to assign some rational thought process to why and when banks are more prone to sue to recover debts. Having equity in a home raises the risks. Paying other debts, like your credit cards, while not paying the LOC’s could be another. But then there are instances where someone with an LOC for 60k, and a 12k credit card with the same bank (both delinquent), gets sued on the 12 k credit card and never on the larger balance line of credit.

          First thing is to find out if you are personally on the hook for these. If not, your options increase. If you are personally attached to the loans, than I would suggest you call into CRN for a consultation. I would estimate you would need roughly 60 to 70k to settle these. There may be something learned that suggests lower best case settlements.

          • Ok, I will check today or tomorrow and post back. Also, I have a few personal cards totaling about 40k that are bofa and one discover card (8k for discover, 32 or so for bofa).

            I have used these exclusively with the business but are on my personal credit…not business cards. Any hope of getting out of these/settling these ones? Or am I out of luck on these?

            -Thanks so much

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Steve – Your targets for settling the personal credit cards are going to be similar to settling your business lines of credit (if you find you need to). Settling credit card debts in your name follow a much more predictable pattern. So, out of luck? Far from it.

          • So how could I get out of those without losing the house? I just don’t know what to do in the order that it needs to be done. Do I stop paying and wait to see what they do? I’m afraid they will just sue or get some judgement on my house. That’s my biggest fear.

            Any way to know for sure that would not happen?

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Steve – I try not to point too much to CRN providing the type of help and assistance you are looking for as a product when I am commenting. We want people to get the simple answers and feedback that are often all that’s needed to manage debt issues without the need or costs associated with working with professionals. I do not want people who come here looking for answers to be left with an impression that we are only here to sell something. That would not be accurate (as can be seen from the large amount of comments here). Given some of the complexities and concerns you have shared I would encourage you to call in for a consultation. Talking with a CRN specialist will provide thorough answers and clarity at no cost. If CRN membership makes sense for your situation, you will have the option to enroll after the consult and additional personal research that you will be encouraged to do. If you are up to it, call: 800-939-8357 ext. 3

          • Hey Michael,

            Not a problem. I have a lot of questions and definetly don’t plan on doing this alone. So I will totally call you either today or tomorrow. Thanks for the freebie help, and I look forward to seeing what you guys can do to help me through this tough time.

            -Thanks again

            PS. You guys give free advise and don’t try to point to your services and this is very nice, but don’t feel bad pointing to your paid services. Afterall, you too have to pay the bills somehow.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Steve – Thanks for recognizing that.
              CRN has always been a balance of both debt settlement education/information and professional services and consulting.

  265. My daughter ran up my credit cards from Wells Fargo to over $23K. She was making the payments until June 2012, but is now unemployed and receiving child support. Of course, she is no longer able to make the $400 per month payments. I am on social security disability and am not able to make the minimum payments, My husband and I live separately (for the past 7 years). My name is jointly on both properties. I am trying to settle with the bank. My other daughter said that she would loan me the money to settle at about 30%. I am not able to get the bank to go less than 45%. If I default, can they put a lein on the property than is jointly owned. Also, can I remove my name off of the properties, as I know that my husband will not kick me out, and if I die, he will leave the properties to our children anyway. I have a very small balance in my bank account, which just takes care of the necessities. I am not worried about them taking my social security, but I do worry that they will put a lein on the property. I never even used the credit cards, but I did let my daughter be an authorized user. Mostly, I want to know if the bank can take the property IF I remove my name from it. Thanks,

    • Michael Bovee says:

      S. – You would have to be sued and a judgment entered before a lien could be placed on the property. If I read your comment correctly, you have not fallen behind with payments to Wells Fargo on the credit cards. Is that correct?

      Generally speaking, yes, you could remove your name from the properties, and once removed any later judgment against you could not reach the property that is no longer in your name.

      I will have some more feedback for you if you can tell me in a comment reply if you have already missed payments to Wells, and if so, how many months behind you are?

  266. Dear Michael,

    During the onset of the debt crisis, I had an Imagine credit card cancelled without notice or reason. I’ve heard they were sued in a class action suit. Is this true?

    I am paying $15/month in “so-called” account servicing fees and am tempted to just stop paying on the account, altogether. They have more than made-up the original principal on the account.

    Would they also be likely to settle pennies on the dollar at this point? After years of minimum payments, my balance remains virtually unchanged at $650. I am on disability with limited fixed income.

    Thanks for all that you do,

    Erik J.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      erik – When did you open the Imagine credit card? When did you last use it to make a purchase?

      I went looking for a lawsuit filed against Imagine and found an action filed against CompuCredit for their marketing of the Imagine credit card. The action was filed by the Federal Trade Commission back in 2008. You can read more about it here:

      Who are you sending payments to each month? What is your interest rate?

  267. I have a judgment fron Capitol one from 2008. It was filed in the wrong venue. I know or believe that I paid this off in 2008. I was never served. They show first class mail but no signature. The original judgement was $1063. It now is above$5000. I have filed a relief from judgement citing rule 60 and the judge denied my request. The attorney’s for Capitol one filed a motion to transfer the judgement to my local court. I filed an objection and won. Now what happens? They stopped any garnishment when they found they filed in the wrong court. I have also requested proof of debt but have never received anything. I live in Ohio. What really makes this bad is that I have paid back everyone I owe except this one. They will not settle or take any payments. I can’t prove I paid this in 2008 so I trie to settle. I really don’t know what to do.With this on my report my rating will never rise above 660. It is 640 now.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Stephen – Have you connected with an attorney having debt collection defense experience about this? You appear to have valid issues to raise, especially being sued in the wrong county. It may be some professional assistance would get the result you need in order to find a more pliable and negotiable Capital One/collection law firm.

      Your credit report will recover with or without resolving this over time. The charge off reporting from Capital One will be removed after 7 years. The credit card judgment 7 years from entry in the court record (unless you get it vacated and resolved without another judgment in the correct county).

  268. If I own a condo outright and have a mortgage on another property which is heading for foreclosure and I claim bankruptcy can a lien be put on my paid in full condo

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Nancy – What state do you live in? If you file chapter 7 bankruptcy you would be able to eliminate debts like credit cards, and also debts that may result from the foreclosure. The question I would want answered is what your exemptions are for home equity in order to keep your home in a chapter 7 based on criteria that is set differently for each state.

      • I live in Illinois and sad to say have no equity in the property. I lost about 50,000 when the market went down and am now upside down

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Nancy – A quick search for homestead exemptions in Illinois when filing chapter 7 bankruptcy shows that a single person can protect up to 15k of home equity, a married couple doubles that to 30k.

          My concern is not the property being foreclosed, it’s for the condo you mention owning outright.

          Have you connected with an attorney in Illinois to discuss your issues and how bankruptcy would work for you? If not, let me know and I can email you some attorney contact information you can call for a free consultation.

          • Thank you Michael I just spoke to someone who gave me a BK attorney in the county I live in and I do appreciate your imput Thanks again! Nancy

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Nancy – Not a problem. If you learn something that would suggest you look to avoid bankruptcy come back and post a comment update and I can provide additional feedback about alternatives and what those might look like.

  269. I haven’t spoke to an attorney yet. In my area most want to talk chapter 7 or 13 and I do not want that. I actually thought about filing a Fair Credit violation but would rather not. Thank you for your fast response. I wish you were here in my area! Do you hve any recommendations in the SW Ohio area. I live between DAyton and Cincinnati?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Stephen – I just sent you an email with 2 attorney contacts in the Dayton area (closest I found). The first one in the email had the most extensive experience.

  270. When he housing market starting falling we were a company doing clearing and excavation around Atlanta for subdivisions. We lost most of our work and then had several companies fail to pay us for jobs we had done, some filing bankruptcy. We had several credit cards we used for our business and always paid the balances in full every month. When we were not paid by our contractors to the tune of about @385000.00 we could not pay our credit card bills which were about $80000.00. We have been trying to pay on this debt since 2007, but I finally realized that what I was paying was only paying on interest and I was not accomlishing anything. I even stayed with my sister for several months so that I didn’t have to pay a power or water bill and was using that money to pay on credit cards. We have been able to settle with several of them, and I have almost paid another off, but we have receeived 2 judgements from some attorneys in Durham NC, and now the Sheriff’s office has told me they received a writ and are going to have to take my vehicle. I have been taking care of 3 of my grandchldren for the past year, and this will mean I have no transportation to get them to school, the doctor, to get groceries or anything. Over these past years we cashed out our retirement, our life insurance and used all our savings to try and pay our bills, but it just wasn’t enough. I have not been able to get a reply back from the lawyers office and the Sheriff is giving me until Friday to try and get something worked out or they are coming for my vehicle. Can they do this legally in NC.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Tammy – North Carolina offers several protections from judgment creditors, including the value of your car up to a certain amount. Unfortunately, that amount is limited to 3500.00.

      What is the current value of the vehicle?
      Have you considered filing bankruptcy? Filing bankruptcy will stop any judgment collection enforcement in its tracks.

      Also, can you post answers to the following questions in a comment reply:

      Who were the original credit card lenders?
      When were the last payments made on these accounts that are now judgments?
      How long have you lived in North Carolina (assuming you moved there from Atlanta)?
      Who sued you, the original bank or a debt buyer?
      What is the name of the collection law firm, or collection attorney that sued?

  271. I am 5 months behind on the Credit Cards. I paid a minimum payment to prevent a charge-off. I spoke with a bankrupsy lawyer and she said that even if I take my name off the properties, that the courts can still count the property as cash for up to two years after I remove my name from the property. Does this work the same way if I just let the credit card company sue me, without going bankrupt. I really just want to make a settlement of about 30 to 35%. My oldest daughter would be able to help me with this. My youngest daughter was the one that ran up all of the credit card charges. Wells Fargo spoke with me yeaterday, and they were really rude. They say charges that happened over 6 months ago that were for airline tickets, Macy’s, Babies R Us, exct. Even though none of the charges were make by me, they acted like I was the person that did them. They wanted me to make another payment and post date it out of my social security check. I really can’t. What do you suggest?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      s. – If you are sued and judgments entered, a whole host of collections actions will likely progress from there. You may not even be sued by Wells Fargo, but by a debt purchaser, and not for months or even a couple of years. I have seen a significant increase of collection lawsuits on freshly charged off debt in 2012.

      If your absolute only income is social security, and that is the only income you expect to have for the next 2 years, you are not at risk of having that income being garnished or levied. The judgments, were they to occur, could still end up as a lien on the property(s).

      45% settlement on Wells Fargo credit card debt, when settled directly with Wells prior to charge off, is a fairly consistent offer from them for the last year or so. There are ways to get that lower. We completed a near 30% settlement with Wells Fargo last week where there were medical issues that helped to get the lower settlement.

      Account behavior leading up to credit card payments being stopped can cause creditors to hold firm to higher settlements and sometimes offer no settlement. You can read a little bit more about this here:

      How much of a stretch is it to come up with the additional 10% above your higher target? Is it impossible?

      There will be other opportunities to settle the account after charge off. But I cannot estimate the amount you could settle for until you know where the account lands (with a debt collector, debt buyer, or attorney debt collector).

      If you want some professional guidance on this you may want to consider CRN membership.

  272. Tamara Young says:

    My husband received in the mail garnishment papers stating that 3 of his accounts are on hold. This was a total shock considering nothing was served stating there was a court date. The creditor is Suntrust Bank. The issued my husband a business line of credit in 2004. Up until 2007 suntrust was paid. In 2005 my husband went on active duty and returned in 2007. When he returned home he was declared 30% disabled. This really put a strain on our household income and we fell behind on all bills. With this being said my husband was called to active duty in August 2012 and is overseas on a ship. I have been home and no one has served any papers to our property about a court date because if so I would have appeared to try and negotiate a deal. My question is can I negotiate a deal eventhough a garnishment is in place. The three accounts they have garnished have little to no money in them and I want this headache over.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Tamara – Your husband being active duty military is afforded additional protection from what you described. I know you want to end the headache, and settling the judgments is a quick way to get there. You do have a few options:

      Speak with an experienced collection defense attorney to explore your options for dealing with judgments you appear to have not properly been served on.
      File complaints with the CFPB for potential violations of the Service Members Relief Act. Go here to learn more:

      You cannot really know what type of resolution will be available on the other side of the options above until you follow through with pursing them. I would encourage you to pursue both. I also understand the desire to put this behind you. When it comes to settling in these situations, you may have leverage to get good settlements based on the little you have shared so far.

      I did see where you filled out a consultation form on the site around the time you submitted this comment. A specialist will be in contact with you to follow through on that.

  273. Hello, I have been contacted by a employee of Hull and Associates regarding a credit card debt. Long story short, we thought the card had been paid, don’t have any record of them contacting us to collect, they charge off the debt and Main Street Acquisitions hires Hull and Associates to collect. After researching it appears that the debt is mine and I have agreed to pay. However, I can only afford monthly payments. I believe they are still trying to file suit on me because I can not meet their demand of 3 installments. I have contacted them by phone with a follow up email and letter accompanined by a money order (that they returned) along with another payment…….can they continue to file suit on me because I am not paying as much as they want? What can they do to my joint bank account? I have acknowledged the debt and want to pay it, I can only pay it in monthly payments.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Norina – Hull and Associates representing Main Street Acquisitions is not obligated to accept your payments. You need to reach an agreement with them about the amount and terms of your payment. Sending in an arbitrary amount, if that is what occurred, is not a good idea.

      I will have some more feedback for you if you can respond to the following questions in a comment reply:

      Who was the original credit card with?
      When was the last payment made?
      What amount are they trying to collect?
      Have you been served with a lawsuit?
      What state do you live in?

      • The original credit card was with HSBC.
        The charge off was in July of 2009 at $2714.00.
        They said as of today the amount is at $3857.12.
        No, but he stated there ‘could be one filed’.
        I live in Texas.

        • Hello Michael,

          I was checking in to see if you had any additional information for me regarding the above situation?

          Thank you for your help.

          • Michael Bovee says:

            Norina – The statute of limitations (SOL) to file a lawsuit to collect on a defaulted