A judgment is a court order that says you’re required to pay a certain amount of money to someone else. Creditors like to obtain judgments because a judgment increases their tools for collecting the debt. With a judgment in hand, a creditor can call you into court to answer questions about your assets, request a wage garnishment order, and in some cases even levy funds that are in your bank account or seize other assets.
That sounds scary, but most judgments are never collected. You have options for fighting collection efforts, even after the judgment is entered.
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How Debt Collectors Get Judgments
Most judgments for consumer debts like credit card debt and medical bills are entered by default. That means the court enters a judgment against you without you ever appearing or participating in the court case. That’s unfortunate, because very often debt collectors and debt buyers don’t have enough information to prove their cases. But, when you don’t appear in court, they don’t have to.
The good news is that their sloppy processes may leave the door open to challenge the judgment, putting the power back in your hands.
Often, debt collectors get default judgments because people make the mistake of not appearing in court. But, sometimes debt collectors don’t follow the law. Maybe they don’t properly serve you with court papers, or they leave out something important. Maybe the language they use is misleading and not up to legal standards.
When debt collectors neglect the appropriate legal process, the judgment may be open to challenge, even though the court has already ruled. You may be able to go back and force the debt collector to start over and prove its case. And, that’s not your only possible line of defense.
A creditor attempting to collect on a judgment is bound by two sets of legal rules: the procedural rules for collection methods like wage garnishment, and the consumer protection statutes that apply to all types of consumer debt collection. Even if the judgment itself is valid, debt collectors have plenty of opportunities to go wrong—and they often do.
Preventing a judgment requires quick action, and some strategies for fighting judgment debts have short deadlines. So, if a judgment has been entered against you, you’ll want to get help as soon as possible.
DebtCleanse™ Can HelpWe’ll give you the strategies and resources you need to put debt collector stress behind you.
When you sign up with DebtCleanse™, we’ll team you up with an attorney in your state. Your attorney will notify collectors to direct any future communication to their law offices. This should immediately stop harassing calls and letters.
Your attorney will also interview you and comb through your documents for potential violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) or other federal and state laws. Those violations can create leverage to challenge your judgment and other types of debt. If creditors and debt collectors don’t follow the law, your attorney can hold them accountable.
Often, debt collectors stop collection action as soon as they receive a letter from an attorney, focusing their efforts on people who are less likely to fight back. And, many consumer protection statutes require debt collectors who break the law to pay your attorney’s fees. So, our members may be able to resolve debts without paying anything beyond the membership fees.
DebtCleanse™ can put you back in control with creditors and debt collectors.