I have written more than once about how vital it is that if a consumer
is sued by a debt collector, they take certain actions immediately. The
earlier a consumer fights back, the better the odds are that their case
will have a positive outcome. I have also written about undoing old judgments,
some as old as ten years. Unfortunately, sometimes when I meet a consumer
they already lost their case years ago and the methods we would use to
ask the court for a do-over of the case do not apply.
What do we do then?
Then, we try to challenge the garnishment.
If a judgment has been entered against a consumer, a creditor will usually
try to find out where the consumer works and then seek to garnish their
paycheck, seek a court order ordering their employer to set aside a portion
of each pay check and send it to the debt collector. No single step in
garnishing a paycheck is particularly complicated but there are a lot
of small steps which are required and each step has to be followed precisely
or the garnishment is improper and may be reversed. By the time a debt
collector gets around to garnishing a paycheck they usually become carless
and they make mistakes in the garnishment process a substantial amount
of the time.
I met with a new client today who had an old case. The usual methods we
use to fight old cases could not be used to help our client and they had
just been garnished. We looked over the garnishment process with a fine
tooth comb and found several small mistakes. We contacted the debt collector
and confronted them with the mistakes, rather than dealing with the fight
involved in fixing the garnishment, they agreed to give our client a substantially
reduced settlement of the money they owed.
Our client lost, they absolutely owed the money and it was far too try
to re-fight the case, but thanks to some mistakes made by the debt collectors,
we could if needed mount a fight over those mistakes and leveraged that
into getting our client very favorable settlement terms.
If you have a case, even if you are being garnished, it may not be too
late to fight back. Debt collectors perform most of their work in a semi-automated
fashion, they are careless and they make mistakes in the garnishment process
all the time. Contact an attorney and see if those mistakes can be used
to your advantage.
This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is
not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please
consult your attorney in connection with any legal issues related to the
matters discussed in this article as the applicability of state, local
and federal laws may vary.