Collections Law/judgment lien

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Question
While in graduate school in 2002-03, I defaulted on a couple of credit cards.  I dealt with collections agencies for years, as they kept passing the debt to different ones.  By and by, my financial situation got better and I was able to buy a home in 2009, but used owner financing to get a better interest rate, with the intention of refinancing a couple of years later.

Shortly after I purchased my home, I received a letter in the mail stating that a lien had been placed on my property for approximately $7500.  It stated that it was from a judgment that had been issued in 2006, but with interest, I needed to pay over $10,000 to satisfy the lien.  I never defaulted on an amount over $2500, so both of these figures are outrageous. In trying to resolve this matter, I have had a number of questions and issues to come up:

1.  This is no where on my credit report.  I am considering trying to settle with them, but I have built good credit and don't want it to take another hit.  I am afraid that settling it will some how stir it up and make it appear.  I can imagine that a judgement on your credit would not be good.  Is there any way to avoid that?  My other option is to wait until August 2016, when the statute of limitations runs out (according to the laws in my state).  I'm concerned that it may somehow show up on my credit at that time too.  Also, is there someway that they can renew it?

2.  It's my understanding that they either have to serve you papers about the judgment hearing to you personally or to someone at an address where you live.  In this case, they state that my father signed for the papers at an address where I never resided. In fact, he lived in another county and the judgement was process through the court in a county where I did not live. My father does not recall any such event. They have engaged in a number of seemingly unfair practices including this above example, along with refusing to give me an itemized list of charges such as the amount of the original debt, interest rate and where all of the extra money came from that they are trying to collect.  At one point, an atty at the firm handling the judgment actually told me to take up a collection at my church to pay them.  I'm not versed in proper collection practices, but I doubt this is considered ok.

3.  If the judgment was issued for $7500, are they allowed to continue to add fees to the point where they are today asking me to pay $12,000?

Any advice you have is appreciated.  Thanks

Answer
Hello Candace.   From what you state in your question it appears that they have a judgment or judicial lien against your property.   Contrary to what you state, that judicial lien CAN be renewed indefinitely, and even though the statute of limitations has run, that is not an issue here because they already have a judgment.    Statute of limitations runs from the date you incurred the debt (made the last payment or the last purchase) until the date that they originally brought suit.    Since they already have a judgment, the running of the SOL is not an issue here.

The real question is what can you do about it now?     Since the judgment was itself entered under questionable circumstances, you have a good chance of having the judgment vacated or set aside.    

This would be easier to talk about on the phone.   You can call me anytime you wish at this number directly.   I will not charge you just to talk on the phone.  If you call me I can explain to you what your options are in more detail and explain what you are looking at insofar as costs are concerned.   


Jack Hall, J.D.
915  261-3893

Collections Law

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