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Collections Law/Panicking Steven Part TWO


QUESTION: I have been getting collection letters for a few years from 1 debt collector, a Law Firm. I ignored them as I believed the SOL had expired (3 years in NH).  Then I started getting letters saying they were going to garnish my wages and I panicked,and a court date was made which I did not appear at,  I never was served by a sheriff.    After the court date I received a letter saying judgement was in their favor, so they claim, and now they are going to go ahead with proceedings to garnish my wages.
I called up this Law Firm Collection Agency and asked what can I do?  I verbally agreed to 50.00 a month . He said No, so it is 75.00
I know I started the SOL all over by admitting, is there anything I can do to postpone the 1st payment, (which is due in 10 days.)anything I can do to postpone ? By asking for original debtor or going before a judge?     Or did I put myself right into their lying hands?
I pay my bills, this bill was not paid due to lay offs in my company a few years back , since then YES I am employed.       Please Please help me if you can . Can they garnish my wages without a judge to order it and if a judge has to order it will I be notified to appear to dispute garnishment?
I beg of you to explain how bad I screwed up. They say the date of court they were granted judgement , I dont know if the court is suppose to notify me but I have nothing from any court , just the debt collector.       Again, Please help me?

ANSWER: First, you state they held a trial in your honor and didn't invite you by serving you with a  summons. That is a major No-No, and unfortunately the debt industry likes to do things this way. I would go to the Courthouse, get a copy of the Affidavit of Service and file a Motion to Vacate Judgment asking the Court to set aside the Judgment because you were denied your right to fight the Plaintiff by not being invited. I would also state that you have "Meritorious Defenses" (the Statute of Limitations, and no, you did not re-set it).

Also, I would file a Countersuit against the debt collector for the violation of Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act in that by suing over an Out of Statute debt they "misrepresented the legal nature of the debt". You will claim $1,000 Statutory Damages or your Actual Damages, which ever is greater.

Your "admission" of the debt was under duress, so it is not valid. They were claiming (whether rightly or not) to have a Judgment against you and were threatening to attach your salary.

I also suggest you pay a visit to a web site I set up several years ago that shows you how to do all this - - it is totally free and you will get plenty of help there.

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QUESTION: Thank you for your fast reply.    Ok, I read some stuff on the paperwork wrong. here is more detailed information : Paperwork  dated Jan 16 of this year, paperwork was addressed to the court and this is what it said: Enclosed find a Complaint, Motion for Approval of Trustee Process to Attach Wages and for Successive Service of Trustee Summons, Affidavit in Support of Motion and Notice of Motion for Attachment of Wages and Motions for Turnover Order for filing with respect the above-referenced
matter. Please mark this motion on 04/23/13 9:00 AM or other date the court designates. The last page was a copy of judgement dated August 11. 2005. .That is 13 years ago minus a few months. I hope you follow so far.I am running out of space so I am sending you more info I a using subject line Panicking Steve Part one, part Two etc. I truly am in a panick ...

ANSWER: New Hampshire has a 20 year Statute of Limitations on Judgments. I am certain no Judge will listen to a Motion to Vacate based on lack of service 13 years after the fact. You are stuck with it.

Your options are few: Live with it and get garnished or file bankruptcy. The bankruptcy would stop any garnishments. Get thee to a lawyer.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: part two
Then in Feb, of this year I find 2 envelopes outside the foyer of my apartment complex with my name on it, Inside each envelope was a summons to answer to so and so of this Law Firm/Collections.
It did have the date of 02/21/13 and stamped True copy Attest with a stamped Sheriff of Suffolk County. It notes at the bottom if left at last place of abode , a 1st class summons to be mailed which I never received. Recap: All the court motions and such that this Law Firm sent to court   asking for a court date in Aril 23 .2013....Truthfully I forgot the court date and now I see that I actually did not even truly know if this was the correct date as the LAw Firm asked for this date or any date the court shall designate.
SO when I realized that the date had passed, I panicked so bad because of the wage garnishment , I panicked so bad that I thought I was having a heart attack...Immediately I called this Law Firm, spoke with  the man whose name has appeared on all paperwork.
He said they had won the garnishment motion but had not yet sent the judgement to garnish into my work, I asked what could I do to stop this and he said  we could make an agreement and he would not proceed with sending in the judgement to garnish . So I said I could pay 50 a month and he said NO , 75  a month would be alright. And as long as I made the payments monthly  he would not proceed with sending in judgement to my work for garnishment. I asked for paperwork for this agreement. He did send an agreement letter and quote "we will not be proceeding on the Wage Garnisment complaint filed" Unqote.
I screwed up bad I know, I restarted the SOL  ( 3 years in NH ) I believe by verbally agreeing?
No paperwork is signed between he and I just  verbal.
I have not recieved any paperwork from the court saying the judgement was in their favor?
Not sure if I am suppose to get any paperwork from the court staing they won??
Is there anything I can do ? Or am I bound by the verbal agreement and bound by the fact they said they won the garnisment judgement ?
Lastely, if I need to talk ot them again, when I have him on the phone , can I tell him my fiance` is right here and I give her permission to speak on my behalf? Just that 1 time while I am still in the room, onlyasking because I will make more of a mess and my fiance` stays calm and can quote some laws if they apply as she is very good at looking up the Laws and the Lies of Debt Collectors  and if I had told her about this she would have known or asked for prrof of original creditor and she would have known the SOL had passed and sent a cease and desist letter.  Is htere anything I can do?Please help me the best you can?     Thank you so much
Your "admission" of the debt was under duress, so it is not valid. They were claiming (whether rightly or not) to have a Judgment against you and were threatening to attach your salary.

I hope this comes to you as Part Two Panickying Steve

When negotiating with a Lawyer or a Collection Agency the rule is simple - "GET IT IN WRITING". If they won't put the agreement in writing they have no intention of living up to it.

They are willing to accept $75 a month and stay off your paycheck. This is $25 a month more than you offered. This is, on its face, very reasonable, especially for a lawyer armed with a Judgment and ready to Garnish a paycheck. Get it in writing and accept it. Either the debt is very small, and therefore should be paid off in a short time, or you have a gem of a creditor.

Nevertheless, your promise to pay did NOT re-set the SOL. The Judgment has its own SOL of 20 years in NH and 10 years and renewable) in MA, starting from the date of the Judgment.

The only other direction I can see is to ask whether you are garnishable or not. Federal Truth in Lending Act forbids garnishing any paycheck where the net (take home) pay is less than $217.50 per week. This is after all current taxes and legally required deductions are taken out. If you make less than that amount then your pay is not garnishable.

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Steve Katz


Debt Collection, Credit Reporting, FCRA, FDCPA, TCPA issues


Founder of Debtorboards, co-author of Debtsmanship, former Collector, Credit Counselor


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