12 Mar Is Something Fishy With This Wage Garnishment?
I received this interesting question by a visitor to my Atlanta bankruptcy law web site:
I have a friend who had a vehicle repo almost 7 years ago and there now taking a sum of 25% of his check what can he do and can they wait so long?
Here is my response: First, I think that your friend is not telling you the whole story. The 25% wage garnishment is the result of a judgment, which means that a lawsuit was filed against your friend and that a judge or jury found in favor of the vehicle finance company.
Surprisingly, I regularly hear from people who are sued, but who ignore the lawsuit. If you ignore a lawsuit, eventually a default judgment will be entered and the debt will change from an unsecured classification into a secured classification.
Armed with a judgment lien, the creditor/plaintiff has the right to garnish the defendant’s wages. What I am saying here is that your friend had plenty of notice that his wages were at risk and he chose not to take any action to protect himself.
With regard to the time frame, every State has a statute of limitations for various types of claims. If the statute of limitations is 6 years from the date of the repossession, the car lender can wait until the day before the statute runs to file the lawsuit.
Often claims like repossession deficiencies are bought by debt buyers for pennies on the dollar. It would not surprise me to learn that the plaintiff who sued your friend was not the original car lender, but a debt buyer who bought the note and pursued the available legal remedy.
There are also situations where a debt buyer will file suit on a debt that is stale, i.e. the statute of limitations has run, expecting that the defendant will not respond. This immoral and probably illegal tactic has become more and more common and if your friend thinks that this may be the case in his situation, he should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss.
Jonathan Ginsberg, Esq.
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