What to Do if You Receive a Summons for Unpaid Bills

Receiving a summons can be a very stressful situation!  Here's what you should know about a summons and more importantly, what you need to do about it:

It seems like a week doesn't go by that a prospect or one of our clients receives a SUMMONS.

Most of the time, a SUMMONS is delivered to you at home.  But in some cases, it may be mailed by certified mail or delivered to your place of employment.

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Before I explain what you need to do, you need to know why this is happening and what you can do to prevent it in the future!

When you find yourself in a financial hardship due to any number of reasons, most likely, you just can't afford to keep up with the minimum payments due on your credit accounts.

At first, after the creditor doesn't receive the payment that is due, you will get a statement with a warning (along with extra LATE FEES and added INTEREST) telling you how much you need to send in this month to catch up.

When you can't make that payment (and of course, you can't), you may start getting calls from a representative of the company.

I know you would like to explain your situation and would like to get a "little sympathy", but most of the time, the rep just doesn't care.  

I suggest that you either ignore those calls or if you just can't resist, say something like:

"I'm going through a very hard time and just cannot afford to make any payments at this time.  I plan to get caught up in the near future, but for now,  please stop calling me!"

Don't wait for an answer, just HANG UP.

Most likely, the calls will either stop or slow down and now you'll start getting letters.

These letters may threaten to "charge off" your account and turn it over to a debt collector or to an attorney.

This usually happens after 3-4 months of non payment, but sometimes, they may wait 6 months or more.

But, at some time, they will send these accounts to a collection agency or a law firm that deals mainly with debt collection.

Now, you will start getting calls and letters from them.

You can also put a  stop the calls now (before, the original creditor had the right to call you).

This will explain:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

If your circumstances don't change, and you can't negotiate a repayment or settlement agreement with the collectors, they may decide to start their "legal options" by filing a claim.

Once the claim (legal claim that you owe the debt) a SUMMONS will be delivered or sent to you.

The SUMMONS is going to say something like:

"You must APPEAR and give an ANSWER to this claim."

Without going into a long explanation, this basically just means that if you don't owe the money the PLAINTIFF is CLAIMING, you (the DEFENDANT), must provide PROOF to the court.  

This must be done in a short period of time (usually 20-30 days from the date of delivery) and it must be in "legally correct form" which usually requires an attorney's help.

Most of the time, you (the Defendant), owes the money, so when you don't give an ANSWER to the court, then the the attorney may apply to the court for a date in order to be awarded a JUDGMENT by DEFAULT.

Before this happens, here's what you need to do....

Even if the summons has been delivered, the creditor (plaintiff) may still be willing to accept a SETTLEMENT or a STIPULATED AGREEMENT:

Debt Settlement

Depending on your particular circumstances, you may be able to negotiate a settlement/reduced payment of the balance.

For example, if you are retired and receiving only Social Security or Retirement benefits as your only source of income, these funds are 100% EXEMPT from any levy or garnishment even if a judgment has been awarded!

If you are disabled, and only receiving SSI and/or Disability Benefits, these are also 100% EXEMPT from any levy or garnishment.

There are several other situations where you may have LEVERAGE to negotiate a settlement.

It's not easy, but very possible.  We do this everyday for many of our clients:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

Stipulated Agreement

If you cannot negotiate a settlement, the law firm may apply to the court for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT.  

With this, they can GARNISH YOUR WAGES and/or  FUNDS IN YOUR BANK ACCOUNT!  For most people, this would be devastating.

Many times, a creditor (or attorney for the plaintiff), may be willing to agree to a series of payments to repay the debt instead of garnishment.  Of course, by now, the balance is much more due to interest, fees, court costs, etc.

As long as you meet the terms of the agreement, the attorney will not go forward with a garnishment or bank levy.

As you can see, a SUMMONS is serious and you can't ignore it!

I hope this information has helped, but if you feel like you need more information, then click here:

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

 

 

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Tags: summons, debt collector, stipulated agreement, oregon wage garnishment, Oregon debt collection

Garnishment! Why it Happened and How to Stop!

If you've been slapped with a WAGE GARNISHMENT, you need to know WHY it happened and HOW to put a STOP to it!

A wage garnishment or bank levy/garnishment doesn't just "happen"!  

 

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Before a "writ of garnishment" can be granted to a creditor or debt collector, several things have happened:

When you sign up for a credit card, bank card, or any unsecured account (including medical bills), you have entered into a legal contract with the basic agreement that you will repay the loan at the terms and time frame outlined in the agreement.

If you don't, the original creditor has the right to:

  • Call you
  • Write you, or...
  • Hire a Debt Collector, or...
  • Retain an attorney to file a claim...bring a lawsuit!
  • Go to court to win a judgment against you
  • Apply for a Writ of Garnishment 

Let's walk through the process leading up to a WAGE GARNISHMENT, and I'll show you how to:

  1. Prevent a judgment
  2. Prevent a garnishment
  3. Stop a garnishment 

I've been helping people deal with credit and debt problems for many years and it still always is a mystery to me when someone calls for help and says,"I had no idea this was going on"!

Well, I suppose that is possible, but most likely, here is what happened:

1.  Something happened in your life that caused you to be unable to keep up with the required payments.  It could have been one or more of these:

  • Loss of employment
  • Divorce or other family problem
  • Death of a spouse or loved one
  • Long illness or disability
  • Barely enough income after retirement

When you are late or unable to pay the minimum payment due, you probably already know, but...

2.  Creditors start calling and writing, trying to find out what is going on.

Unfortunately, the original creditor has the right (remember that agreement with all the FINE PRINT?) to call or contact you by mail, so at this point, you cannot legally stop them.

3.  If the original creditor cannot contact you or you do not talk with them or return their request for a call, then they may place the account with a DEBT COLLECTOR.

The debt collector will start calling, and calling, and calling....very annoying!

But now you have the right to PUT A STOP TO THESE CALLS FROM DEBT COLLECTORS!

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

When your account has been placed with a debt collector, you may have the opportunity to SETTLE THE ACCOUNT BALANCE FOR LESS!

This is called DEBT SETTLEMENT and depending on your circumstances, this can be a very effective method for not only reducing the balance due, but also stop the potential legal process that may begin.

Although dealing with a debt collector can be a very intimidating and frustrating experience, if you feel up to it, you may want to call and see what they are willing to do for you,

If you are uncomfortable doing this, you can get help:

 

4.  If the debt collector cannot get you to set up payments to repay or are not willing to accept a REASONABLE SETTLEMENT, then they may decide to FILE A CLAIM.

Once the Claim is filed, a SUMMONS will be issued.  It usually is delivered in person, but may be sent by registered mail.

As I said earlier, although people will say that they never received a summons, in most cases...

  • They had received it, but just ignored it!
  • Someone in the household signed for it.
  • Someone in the household signed for it if delivered by registered mail.

But even if you really never received or saw the summons, at this point, it may too expensive to fight!  Yes, you could, but most likely you won't.

SO, NOW WHAT????

5.  The summons had stated that you had 20 -30 days to give an "ANSWER".

A legal ANSWER is you legal response to the claim/summons that you do not owe the debt and CAN PROVE IT!

Most people know that they owe the debt and so spending the money to give the ANSWER ( yes, it costs money to FILE AN ANSWER!!!)is a waste of time and money.

6.  Even if you do not file an ANSWER, you can still stop the process by negotiating a STIPULATED AGREEMENT.

Depending on your financial circumstances, the plaintiff (creditor) may agree to a repayment plan rather move forward for a garnishment.

The reasoning is that if you are slapped with a garnishment it may force you to seek bankruptcy protection.  If that happens, they may get little to nothing!

 

7.  But, if the previous procedures fail to prevent the garnishment or you receive noticed from you employer that you will be garnished, you still have options:

  • Call the attorney for the plaintiff and attempt to negotiate a repayment plan in lieu of the garnishment.
  • Seek bankruptcy protection.

Even if you receive the notice of garnishment from your employer, you still may be able to contact the attorney for the plaintiff/creditor and work out a repayment plan.

You will need to be able to show hardship and offer a reasonable payment plan.

But if the plaintiff/creditor refuses, then you may be forced to seek BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION.

Bankruptcy is a drastic option, but is not as bad as you think it is.  

Check with a bankruptcy attorney to get understand your options.

 

Now you know "WHY" the "HOW TO STOP" a garnishment.

But, taking action is still too much for most people.......

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

 

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Tags: Bankruptcy, debt, summons, stipulated agreement, debt settlement help, garnishment

Can I Stop a Wage Garnishment Without Filing Bankruptcy?

Good news! YES, There is a way to stop a wage garnishment WITHOUT bankruptcy!

If you are facing financial difficulty and get behind on your credit card payments, the creditor may choose to seek legal measures to recover the debt.

BUT, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU KNOW:

  • A creditor cannot just decide to garnish your wages
  • A creditor cannot just decide to levy your bank account
  • A creditor cannot take you possession!

A creditor will usually follow the following steps to recover delinquent debts:

  • Calls, calls, calls!  Click here to learn how to STOP THE CALLS
  • Nasty letters with threats of ruining your credit, possible legal action, etc.
  • And then, after about 4-6 months, if they are unsuccessful, they may decide to file a complaint for the debt you owe.

After they file a complaint in your local county courthouse, you will receive a SUMMONS.

DON'T PANIC!!!

The summons will state that you have 20 or 30 days to respond with an "ANSWER". 

An "answer" is what you would present if you feel that you do not owe the debt.

Since you owe the debt (even though the interest rates and fees are ridiculous), the fact is that when you signed up for the card, you agreed to all of the fees. (Remember all that fine print you skipped over?)

Anyway, so after about a month or so after receiving the SUMMONS, if an agreement cannot be reached with the creditor, they may apply for a DEFAULT JUDGMENT.

Once the Default Judgment is awarded to the creditor (plaintiff), then they can apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT.

Each state varies as to how much can be garnished and what income is exempt from garnishment.

In most states, the garnishment is 25% of your net (after taxes) take home pay.  For most people who are already in a financial hardship, this would be terrible!

If you receive income from:

  • Social Security benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Welfare or public assistance
  • Spousal support or child support
  • Public or private pensions
  • Veterans benefits and/or loans
  • Disability proceeds of life insurance policies
  • Cash surrender value of life insurance policies
  • and many others

Click here to get a list of exempt wages in Oregon.

OK, so if you don't meet the exemption requirement and you get a garnishment, here's what you have to do:

Contact the creditor or the creditor's attorney.

In most cases, once you have provided proof (BASIC BUDGET WORKSHEET), you should be able to arrange a STIPULATED AGREEMENT.

In a STIPULATED AGREEMENT, the attorney agrees to STOP THE GARNISHMENT and NOT PROCEED with further legal action as long as you send in the agreed amount each month.

This amount should be less that what the garnishment would have been.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU NEVER MISS AN AGREED PAYMENT!

If you do, they will most likely VOID THE AGREEMENT and start the wage garnishment again and will not be willing to re-negotiate another Stipulated Agreement.

SOUND CONFUSING?  We may be able to help.  Simply CLICK THE LINK BELOW or give us a call at 1-877-492-4109.

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Tags: how to stop a wage garnishment, stipulated agreement, wage garnishment in oregon, wit

How Can You Stop an Oregon Wage Garnishment?

Even though you are behind on your debts, your creditors do not necessarily have the right  to garnish your wages!  An Oregon wage garnishment can be stopped, but you must understand the process.

Once your account is delinquent 150-180 days , and you have received numerous calls and letters, your account will usually be turned over to a collection agency. If, after the collection agency has called you morning noon and night, they may decide to FILE A COMPLAINT.

stop on oregon wage garnishment

After the collection agency files a complaint, you would receive a SUMMONS.  If you have received a SUMMONS, you can read more by clicking here -->>  "I Received a Summons".

Although it can be frightening to have someone knock on your door and serve you with a Summons, try to stay calm.  Most of the time, a STIPULATED AGREEMENT can be negotiated.  When a stipulated agreement is reached, the collections company will agree to accept payments and not apply for a garnishment.

A Stipulated Agreement can help if:

  • You currently receive W-2 income from your employer.
  • You usually keep a substantial amount of money in your bank account.

Why is a Stipulated Agreement better than a Wage Garnishment?

In a wage garnishment, an employer would be forced to deduct an average of 25% of your net take home pay each pay period! For most people, this would prevent them from paying their important bills like the mortgage or rent, food, and utilities.

By accepting a stipulated agreement, your monthly payment should be quite a bit less that the amount you would be garnished.

What types of income CAN'T be garnished?

  • Pension
  • Social Security
  • Unemployment
  • Disability
  • Self-Employment Income (It is very difficult for a wage garnishment to be enforced as most self-employed people take a very small "income" and in most states, this would be exempt from wage garnishment.)

*If you have any income coming in other than those listed above, do not co-mingle the two income sources!  If you deposit your Social Security check into the same account that you deposit your paychecks from a regular job, ALL of the funds would be subject to garnishment.

Can you Stop and Oregon Wage Garnishment and settle the debt for less once you have been served the summons?

YES!  If you have access to funds that equal anywhere from 50% -70% of the balance, you may be able to negotiate a LUMP SUM SETTLEMENT.

However, once the judgment has been awarded, and the Writ of Garnishment has been applied, the collection agencies are not usually willing to take a low settlement.

KEY TAKEAWAY -  THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO  IS TO DO NOTHING!

If talking to your creditors and/or collection agencies frightens you, our professional and experienced Debt Negotiators can help!  Give us a call or click on the link below for more free information.

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Tags: summons, stipulated agreement, oregon wage garnishment