HELP! They took money out of my paycheck and I can't pay my rent!
Debt collectors have the right to file a claim for an unpaid account or loan.
Once they have been awarded a judgment, they can apply for a writ of garnishment.
Although the amount of money they can take from your paycheck varies from state-to-state, it is usually about 25% of your net take-home per paycheck until the entire debt is repaid!
For most people, this would spell DISASTER!
It is hard enough paying the bills without losing an additional 25% of your income.
What can you do if you have received a wage garnishment?
Take a few minutes to complete an accurate personal budget that lists your total net income and all of your bills.
Write a brief account of why you are in a financial hardship. Don't be too long or brief and simply state the facts.
Make sure to state that if an alternate agreement to the wage garnishment cannot be set up, then you will have to consult a bankruptcy attorney for protection.
Contact the attorney or collection agency that initiated the claim. They will probably ask for the budget and hardship statement before considering an agreement.
In most cases, they will be willing to work out a Stipulated Agreement, whereby you agree to repay the debt at a monthly amount your budget can reasonably handle.
GET IT IN WRITING! Do not agree to a check-by-phone or any other method of payment without the agreement.
The agreement should specifically state the terms, interest rate (each state sets a maximum rate that can be charged) and the exact dates the payments is due in their office.
Once you have the agreement, make sure that you make your payments on time! Failure to meet the due date will usually void the agreement!
Negotiating agreements and dealing with collectors/attorneys can be very difficult and time consuming. You may find it is worthwhile to consult a qualified debt management company.