More Rea­sons Not To Ignore A Debt Collector

By Dean Kaplan+

If you receive noti­fi­ca­tion of a debt from a debt col­lec­tor and you choose to ignore it, you may end up being very sorry. If you ignore the debt col­lec­tor and leave them with only the option of fil­ing a law­suit, this is exactly what might happen.

Some debt col­lec­tors have a sense of humor

Pre­vent wage gar­nish­ment by nego­ti­at­ing new pay­ment termsThe best course of action if you are get­ting behind in pay­ing your bills is to nego­ti­ate new pay­ment terms with your cred­i­tors before any col­lec­tors are called in. Oth­er­wise, if debt goes unpaid for a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time, it is likely that first a col­lec­tion agency will get involved, and maybe even a law­suit will be filed against you if you make no effort to deal with the matter.

What to do if a law­suit is filed
Once a law­suit is filed, it is in your best inter­est to hire a debt col­lec­tion attor­ney. Never ignore a law­suit. If you do not respond, every­thing that is stated in the law­suit will be entered in the form of a default judg­ment. This means that you will auto­mat­i­cally owe what­ever the cred­i­tor sued you for. This can then lead to your employer being ordered to gar­nish your wages to pay the judgment.

Your employer and wage gar­nish­ment
Employ­ers are typ­i­cally required to tell the employee about the gar­nish­ment of wages. They typ­i­cally take 25% of your pay each pay period and send it to the court to pay towards the judg­ment amount. This means you will have less to spend for other expenses until the judg­ment is paid in full.

Employ­ers are not legally allowed to fire an employee whose wages are being gar­nished. How­ever, that pro­tec­tion goes away after a 2nd and 3rd judg­ment order has been received. The gar­nish­ment will fol­low you if you decide to change jobs. Cred­i­tors can and will obtain a new court order to gar­nish your wages at the new employer. What you don’t want to do is give your new employer the impres­sion that you are irre­spon­si­ble or untrustworthy.

When you are in this unfor­tu­nate gar­nish­ment sit­u­a­tion, it is vital that you pay off all your debt as quickly as pos­si­ble. Do not put your­self into a posi­tion of being “chased” by cred­i­tors from one employer to another. Your employer will be fully aware of your debt pay­ment sta­tus while wages are being gar­nished, so be sure to make your pay­ments on time every time.

Hir­ing an attor­ney may be in your best inter­est
The bot­tom line is that once you receive a judg­ment for wage gar­nish­ment, you have very few options for stop­ping the process short of pay­ing the debt that you owe. By law, a debt col­lec­tor is required to pro­vide you with lots of lead time to pre­vent a law suit. Once a debt col­lec­tor threat­ens to take you to court to col­lect on your debt, how­ever, it is time for you to talk to an expe­ri­enced attor­ney. An attor­ney can help you through the process and assist you in under­stand­ing which funds are exempt from gar­nish­ment, as well as what your rights are.

Can com­mer­cial col­lec­tors gar­nish your wages?
Com­mer­cial col­lec­tion agen­cies col­lect busi­ness to busi­ness debt. . If you own a busi­ness and are per­son­ally liable for a debt, then you can be named as a defen­dant in a law­suit along with your busi­ness. You are per­son­ally liable if you signed a per­sonal guar­anty or you oper­ate the busi­ness as a pro­pri­etor­ship. Once a judg­ment is issued, the court can order your busi­ness to gar­nish your wages. Not much can feel worse than hav­ing to take money out of your own pay­check due to a court order.

At The Kaplan Group, they not only pur­sue wage gar­nish­ments of busi­ness own­ers, but they ask the court to seize funds in com­pany bank accounts to pay for judg­ments. They always pre­fer to work with the busi­ness to solve the prob­lem with­out going to court, but if they are ignored then the court process is the only option.
The Kaplan Group is a bou­tique col­lec­tion agency spe­cial­iz­ing in large (over $10,000) debt col­lec­tions due from busi­nesses. Founded in 1991, the com­pany has a stel­lar rep­u­ta­tion (A+ rat­ing with the Bet­ter Busi­ness Bureau) and is rec­og­nized as one of the lead­ing col­lec­tion agen­cies for results on large and com­plex mat­ters.