Missouri Collection Laws

What rights do creditors have under Missouri law to collect debts from consumers?

I need to learn how a collection agent can get a judgment from me. I live in Missouri.

Read full question
Bill's Answer
4.0
/5.0
(5 Votes)
Bills.com Team
Pro

By

A collection agent or law firm that owns a collection account is a creditor. A creditor has several legal means of collecting a debt. But before the creditor can start, the creditor must go to court to receive a judgment. See the Bills.com resource Served Summons and Complaint to learn more about this process.

The court may decide to grant a judgment to the creditor. A judgment is a declaration by a court that the creditor has the legal right to demand a wage garnishment, a levy on the debtor's bank accounts, and a lien on the debtor's property. A creditor that is granted a judgment is called a "judgment-creditor." Which of these tools the creditor will use depends on the circumstances. We discuss each of these remedies below.

Missouri Wage Garnishment

The most common method used by judgment-creditors to enforce judgments is wage garnishment. A judgment-creditor contacts your employer and requires the employer to deduct a certain portion of your wages each pay period and send the money to the creditor.

n most states, creditors may garnish between 10% and 25% of your wages, with the percentage allowed determined by state law. Garnishment of Social Security benefits or pensions for consumer debt is not allowed under federal law, but may be allowed for child support. See the Bills.com Wage Garnishment article to learn more.

Missouri garnishment rules are found in Missouri Revised Statutes: Section 525. The maximum amount that may be held from a person's weekly wages, after withholdings required by law, is the lesser of: 1) 25% of the wages; 2) 10%, if the person is head of a family and a Missouri resident, or; 3) The amount by which the weekly earnings exceed thirty times the federal minimum hourly wage. Note that child support garnishment may be subject to a higher percentage of deduction.

See the Dept. of Labor's Employment Law Guide - Wage Garnishment and the Dept. of the Treasury's Answers About Garnishments. Municipal and state employees may be garnished.

Generally speaking, 401(k) or other retirement funds are exempt from garnishment. It is advisable to have those funds specifically deposited into a separate bank account if you are concerned about garnishment on those payments.

Levy Bank Accounts

A levy means that the creditor has the right to take whatever money in a debtor's account and apply the funds to the balance of the judgment. Again, the procedure for levying bank accounts, as well as what amount, if any, a debtor can claim as exempt from the levy, is governed by state law. Many states exempt certain amounts and certain types of funds from bank levies, so a debtor should review his or her state's laws to find if a bank account can be levied. In some states levy is called attachment or account garnishment. The names may vary but the concept is the same.

In Missouri, administrative levy is allowed under for recovery of taxes and unpaid child support. Under Missouri Supreme Court Rule 76.07. When Levy Creates Lien a levy creates a lien upon personal property.

If you reside in another state, see the Bills.com Account Levy resource to learn more about the general rules for this remedy.

Lien

A lien is an encumbrance -- a claim -- on a property. For example, if the debtor owns a home, a creditor with a judgment has the right to place a lien on the home, meaning that if the debtor sells or refinance the home, the debtor will be required to pay the judgment out of the proceeds of the sale or refinance. If the amount of the judgment is more than the amount of equity in your home, then the lien may prevent the debtor from selling or refinancing until the debtor can pay off the judgment.

Missouri laws governing liens are found in Missouri Revised Statute Chapter 429, Chapter 430, and Chapter 513. Judgment lien rules are found in Chapter 511, and Missouri Rule 74 -- Judgment Orders and Proceedings Thereon. In Missouri Section 511.360. The lien of a judgment or decree shall extend as well to the real estate acquired after the rendition thereof, as to that which was owned when the judgment or decree was rendered. Such liens shall commence on the day of the rendition of the judgment, and shall continue for ten years. Succinctly, liens are allowed for contractors. Judgments can be enforced as a lien on the defendant's property. Missouri

If you reside in another state, see the Bills.com Liens & How to Resolve Them article to learn more.

Missouri Statutes of Limitations

Each state has its own statute of limitations. Statute of limitations for Missouri are found in Missouri Revised Statute: Chapter 516. The statute of limits for open accounts (credit cards) is 5 years (Section 516.120), and written contracts are 10 years depending on the circumstances (Section 516.110).

A Missouri judgment is valid for 10 years Chapter 511 and can be renewed Rules of Civil Procedure 74.09.

ollection agents violate the FDCPA if they file a debt collection lawsuit against a consumer after the statute of limitation expired (Kimber v. Federal Financial Corp. 668 F.Supp. 1480 (1987) and Basile v. Blatt, Hasenmiller, Liebsker & Moore LLC, 632 F. Supp. 2d 842, 845 (2009)). Unscrupulous collection agents sue in hopes the consumer will not know this rule.

Missouri Payday Loan

See the Bills.com resource Missouri Payday Loan to learn more about the rights consumers in Missouri have regarding payday loans, and options for resolving them.

Recommendation

Consult with an Missouri attorney experienced in civil litigation to get precise answers to your questions about liens, levies, and garnishment in Missouri.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

86 Comments

Recent Best
1500 characters remaining
  • 35x35
    May, 2013
    Katrina
    My boyfriend and I share a joint checking account. Yesterday I got my taxes and since he had a garnishment with a credit card they wiped out our checking account and savings. I want to know if since the garnishment was in his name and the tax money they took was in my name, is it legal for them to do this or is there a way to get my money back. We have been told different stories that there is something I can do about it and others including the people who took the money saying there is nothing I can do about it. Is there any legal action I can take to try to get my taxes back since I filed separately from him.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2013
      Bill
      Under all state laws I am aware of, joint accounts have no special protection from creditors who have a valid judgment against one of the account holders. Even in terrible circumstances like you described, a judgment-creditor can ask your bank or credit union to garnish/levy your joint account.

      However, some state legislatures wrote laws exempting a certain amount from account garnishment/levy. You mentioned Missouri. Consult with a Missouri lawyer who has consumer law experience. Ask him or her about Missouri Revised Statute Section 513.430, and if your tax refund fits any of the exemptions listed there, or elsewhere in Missouri law.

      One last thought: Do not expect creditors to offer you accurate or complete legal advice. A Missouri lawyer of your choosing will advise you of your rights and liabilities.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2013
    Deb
    I had a judgement against me and I began paying May 2012. I had a home emergency and told my attorney I would have to miss some payments. He said he would inform the creditor/collection agency. My attorney has since passed away; the collection agency wiped out my checking and savings accounts. They say they cannot speak to me about the account because I have legal counsel...I don't. They told me to prove he is deceased; I sent them the obituary. Now they want me to prove he was a solo attorney (which he was). I can't prove it because he firm was closed. The collection agency won't talk to me.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2013
      Bill
      Call the Missouri Bar Association and explain your situation. It is likely the Bar assumed custody of your lawyer's files when he passed away, and may either have possession of your files or assigned them to another lawyer. Proceed accordingly. If the Bar still has your files, ask the Bar to send the creditor a letter explaining your lawyer died, they possess your file, and that you are not represented to the best of their knowledge.

      As an aside, the collection agent is being pedantic unnecessarily. If you can show your lawyer's dead, and you send the collection agent a statement that promises, "I am not represented by any lawyer," they should drop their objection to speak to you.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2013
    MARIE
    10 days before my insurance started, I came down with the flu. I went to our local convenience clinic only to be turned away due to stomach pain! They informed me I had to go to the emergency room because I could have appendix issues. I told them I had no appendix and was certain it was the stomach flu that had been circulating the area. I had no choice but go to the emergency room. I received 3 bills for that trip. The total was over 4,000.00 I paid off 2 and the last one down to 2,000.00 - I was repeatedly contacted for payment when making payments. I was informed that they would send to collections although I had been making payments. 100-500.00 at a time! I now have a lawsuit pending sue to the 2000.00 outstanding debt. My last payment was made in Feb 2012 for 500.00. Is it possible to be sued for a debt incurred by refusal for treatment from a hospital owned clinic & told to go to the ER for a higher bill? They even gave me an MRI!!! For the stinking flu!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2013
      Bill
      You have two issues, and I'll answer the easier of the two first. Yes, a creditor can file a lawsuit against someone who fails to pay a debt as agreed. See the Bills.com article If I Pay a Small Amount on My Debt, Can I Be Sued? for a discussion if this issue.

      The second issue is the incorrect diagnosis that led to the frighteningly expensive and unnecessary tests to determine your ailment. Of course, you know now you didn't need the tests, you must have had some significant doubt about what ailed you otherwise you would not have gone to the clinic and then followed their advice to visit the ER. What if you did not have the flu, but instead had a significant, life-threatening disease? That must have been in the back of your mind when you followed the clinic's advice.

      I do not wish to sound unsympathetic. Your only option is to consult with a lawyer to discuss a malpractice and fraud case against the clinic and hospital for the mis-diagnosis. The lawyer will discuss your options, including your chances of success. The argument I just mentioned is one the opposing lawyer would make in response to your lawsuit, and it sounds compelling.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2012
    Carolyn
    My in-laws had a credit card that they couldn't pay. The company went to court & got a judgment against them. Now they recieved a letter stating that all money in a checking account was taken to help pay the debt. They are both on Social Security & my father-in-law has a pension check. They have a second checking account at another bank. My mother-in-law is in bad health which is why they cannot pay the credit card. Her medications cost more than her S. S, check. She is on kidney dialysis. Can the creditor garnish their other account? They would file bankruptcy but my house is still in their name. They owned it but I bought it from them. I made payments to them instead of to a bank. What can we do about my house so that it is not taken?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      Bill
      First, consult with a lawyer who has civil litigation or consumer law experience immediately.

      Second, the creditor may have levied the account improperly. See the Bills.com resource May a Creditor Garnish Social Security Benefits? to learn more.

      Third, regarding your house, talk to your lawyer about your parents filing a quit-claim deed to put the title in your name.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      Carolyn
      Thank you. I will check into it.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    Holly
    I went to court and settled with the company that I owe money to. I called and made arrangements to pay $50/month. I paid it once but I forgot to pay the next month's bill so they have been calling me. I was told my account is default and they want the WHOLE amount. I asked them if they could send me a bill to remind me every month that I owe money and they said NO. If they want money from me, shouldn't they be able to send me a bill. Sounds to me like that is an excuse, so people will forget and they can collect on the whole amount. They also told me that if I gave them a substantial amount they can put the debt on hold temporarily but I can't afford it.
    2 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2012
    Rodney
    Both my elderly parents bought a home free and clear five years ago. They also had living with them my brother and sister who are both on Disability and elderly themselves. Both parents were in nursing homes for a couple of years until their recent passing, mother in 2010 then father in 2011. The state of Missouri paid for their care while in nursing home. They had no estate or savings, only their home. Can the state now come after the house, even though two disabled persons reside there, for we just received a letter stating that they will be looking into a judgement against the home. If they cannot, what happens when my siblings must themselves move to get care? Will we forever have to worry about the state taking the house? Thank you!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      Rodney, you should speak with an attorney to get your questions answered. He or she will be able to examine all the facts, such as the ownership status of the home after your parents' passing, the timing of the state's claims, and what protections exist due to the fact that your siblings are disabled.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Sandy
    I have been granted Innocent Spouse Relief by the IRS. The IRS is auctioning off my and my soon to be ex-husband's personal property, and have already sold 2 houses and a parcel of land. Can I receive half the proceeds from these sales? Thank you in advance, Sandy
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Sandy, any assets that are jointly owned are extremely vulnerable to IRS seizure. They view each of you as having full rights to any jointly held assets. I recommend that you speak to an experienced attorney or Enrolled Agent ASAP. You may also benefit from speaking with your divorce attorney, to discuss whether you can hold your husband responsible for the losses you are suffering due to events that the IRS says you were not responsible for.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Timothy
    I'm 65 and retired. My partner who I have lived with for 20 yrs is also retired. She wants to refinance her house to lower her payment, but is on social security. I'm also on social security. She has perfect credit and has never been late on anything but needs my income to qualify for the loan. I have unpaid irs tax liens from 1993 that are still on my credit reports that have never been removed or dropped off because of time. Now it's 19 yrs later all my other credit is good, How can I get the credit bureaus to remove these? The bank turned down her loan with me on it only because of the liens. wondering what the fastest was is if possible?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      You tax lien should be unenforceable. The Collection Statutory Expiration Date (CSED) on the underlying tax debt that lead to the lien has almost certainly passed (though it could be possible that you waived your right to have the debt expire). Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to discuss the process for having the lien released. You can read about it in the area with the heading "Processing Taxpayer Requests for Lien Release" in Part 5. Collecting Process: Chapter 12. Federal Tax Liens: Section 3. Certificates Relating to Liens and Claims for Damages Under IRC § 7432.

      Once you get official notice from the IRS that the lien is released, then you can contact the credit bureaus to have that reflected on your report. If your credit score is in good order, even if the bureaus are slow to update your report, your official release will be sufficient to prove to a mortgage loan underwriter that the debt no longer exists.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Barbara
    I am 67, widowed, a Missouri resident, and have only Social Security Retirement income. I used a reverse mortgage on my house to pay off mortgage and old debt and repairs and own a 1996 auto with high mileage. A credit collection agency is sueing me for old debt they bought. Can they put a lein on my home under the circimstances of a judgement against me and/or will they accept payments after a judgment?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      A judgment against you lead to a lien on your property, a lien that would be in line behind the reverse mortgage lender. It is definitely possible to negotiate a settlement post-judgment, especially if your income and other assets are not within the creditor's reach.

      Before you pay a single penny toward the debt, check into the statute of limitations, to see if it's passed. If so, and if the creditor sues you, you can use the SOL as a defense against paying the debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2012
    Michael
    Thanks in advance for the help... I received a small claims judgment for $3,500 vs a contractor who didn't finish the job. I paid to find any accounts for this LLC, and none were found in this state or the adjoining state. What remedy does a consumer have in these situations? It seems these small businesses know it is too hard to collect; not always cost-effective to hire a lawyer to get to them. This is in Missouri, btw.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2012
    Cecilia
    I would like to know how long a auto loan company can collect in the state of Missouri. The loan was originally setup for garnishment in 2003. I only work 10 days a month and the loan company refuses to work with me on payments and what they are taking from my check doesn't cover the fees the lawyer is charging them to file for the garnishments. Thanking you in advance for your assistance.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2012
      Bill
      Once the creditor has a judgment against you, it can be renewed. Check the amounts garnished against the information provided on the page, regarding allowable wage garnishments. Instead of being garnished and not paying off the debt, perhaps you can negotiate a a payment plan.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Toni
      How often can a Missouri judgment be renewed? What if you no longer reside in the state?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      As I read Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 74.09, referenced in the original answer above, a judgment can be renewed an unlimited number of times. However, I caution you by pointing out I am not a Missouri lawyer. Consult with a Missouri lawyer who has civil litigation or consumer law experience for a more authoritative answer, and to learn how a judgment-debtor can oppose a renewal.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2012
    Steve
    Hi Bills.com! I was recently awarded a sizeable judgement for attorney's fees from my wife during our divorce hearing (over $1000). Am I able to file for a garnishment of her wages in order to recover these fees from her employer/paycheck myself (rather than having an attorney do it)? I spent over $12,000 trying to maintain our current situation and would like to get back on track financially. I would prefer to avoid having my divorce attorney handle this, too - and save myself more money. Thanks for any insight!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2012
      Bill
      You are really asking for a summary of a one-semester law school class called "Remedies," and a week or two of Missouri civil procedure. Yes, it is possible for a lay person to file a judgment, but the rules of civil procedure are precise and courts follow them to the letter. What is your time worth? If you are not employed, then head down to your local law library and start studying Missouri's remedies laws. If you are working but have low- or no-income, then consult the Missouri Legal Services Directory to find nearby organizations that provide no-cost legal services.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2011
    Julie
    When I got married last year I was in good financial shape with no debt. My husband apparently had a large amount of unpaid credit card debt from a previous marriage. After we married I put his name on my checking account and a collection company, who had a judgment against him from Illinois emptied my account of 800. I found out the judgement was placed after we were married and is over 8,000.00 I am in the process of buying some additional land to the home I own in my name (purchased before marriage) I assume I need to have him sign a marital waiver to keep his name off to protect this land purchase from a lien? What rights does an innocent spouse have and what is our risk if I do put his name on the deed?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Dec, 2011
      Bill
      Until his debt is resolved, it is prudent to not share assets or bank accounts with him.

      The main risk that you face from placing him on the deed, in my opinion, is that the property could be encumbered by the judgment against him, resulting in a lien on your property, as you suggested. Any assets you own jointly with him can be subject to collection actions that are taken solely against him.

      Regarding the signing of a marital waiver, I recommend that you speak with a lawyer, so you take the proper steps to protect your property and his rights.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Jeanette
    Hi Bills.com - thanks for allowing us to post questions. My father unfortunately died just recently. We found out that his pension has a death benefit, which I believe is either a vested or non-vested annuity. My mother will only be able to live and pay a house payment on this for about 7 years or less and all the while not living but only existing, paying just the necessities. Her monthly funding is cut in half, with increased insurance and medication costs. The house payment is extremely high. I was wondering if the pension lump sum death benefit was exempt from garnishment or levy, because I would like to try to sell the house and get something that she can buy without a mortgage, and was thinking a short sale or taking less might be the only option. I really appreciate your time.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      The timing of the expected events you described concerns me. Take your mother to a lawyer who has wills, trusts, and estate planning experience. He or she will discuss your mother's options for the debt and the annuity. Obviously, I have incomplete facts, but my first reaction is to consider a special needs trust containing the annuity that would be exempt from collections. However, there may be several other better options the lawyer she meets will discuss.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Jennifer
    In Missouri how long can a creditor sell your account to different agencies?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      I am not aware of any specific time-limit that applies to creditors selling old debt. Creditors can keep selling accounts to collection agencies even after the statute of limitations expires. In fact, there are collection agencies that specialize in buying expired debt. They try to trick people into paying something on the debt, bringing a dead debt back to life and reinstating the responsibility to pay.

      Never pay a penny on an old debt, before you determine if the SOL has passed, eliminating your legal obligation to pay the debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Jackie
    How do Missouri Lien laws handle homeowners associations putting liens on someones house? I was recently told I was in violation of a covenant, I corrected the violation, I then received a letter from the HOA's attorney stating that I was still in violation (which was a temporary pool that had been placed on my property for the summer and was taken down when we were told it violated the covenants). We contacted the lawyer and made them aware that the pool had been taken down three weeks prior to the date of their letter. Today, I received another letter, not from the attorney, but from the HOA stating that I was still in violation (the pool is gone!! and has been for over a month) and that they are filing a lien on our property. None of the previous letters had stated that any fines had been assessed, they stated that if the violation was not corrected, fines would occur up to 1200.00 plus interest. The last letter stated that the fines had reached the maximum amount and that they were now filing a lien.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      I recommend that you seek a consultation with an attorney, taking a copy of your HOA agreement and all the correspondence you received. The attorney can advise you about your violating the agreement and its consequences and also whether the HOA association is improperly harassing you, given the fact you removed the pool once you were informed it was a violation.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Jeff
    I live in Missouri and I am head of the household, I have a garnishment of child support. I now also have another garnishment and they are taking another ten percent from my wages... I think they confused as to what the law states .. a total of 10% and not for each garnishment. Can you clarify this for me. because i told them and they wont do anything unless its factually proven. According to the law 10 percentum is the max threshold unless its taxes or child support, but that's still total of all disposable wages and not to be for each garnishment.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      You are correct about the maximum garnishment for the head of a household in MO. You can show your employer Chapter 525, Section 535.030, Subsection 2(c) .

      You may need to go to court to document that you are the head of the household, however.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Janne
    Last year Midland Funding froze my bank account for 700.00. I was able to file an exemption and get the money returned to my bank account at a later date. Recently I got a letter in the mail notifing me the Midland Funding froze a bank account I no longer bank at and also are garnishing wages from a place where I am no longer employed. I am very confused as to how this would happen if I no longer work or bank at these institutions. This debt is old. What are Missouri statues of limitatins on credit card debt? Is this compamy going to keep looking for me? Can they pursue other accounts while these two garnishments are in place? This is a nightmare.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Rachel
    I received a bill from a collection agency that was for medical services in 2005 and 2009 in 2005 i was a minor and was under my mothers insurance and in 2009 i had medicaid as my insurance because i was pregnant and they covered everything i never had to pay, i tried to get on the collection agencys website and calling and they are saying that the consumer code that is on the letter is no good...isnt there a time limit for how long they can bill you 6 years seems a bit excessive for a medical bill
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      In legal terms, you are asking about a debt's statute of limitations. See the link I just mentioned to learn more.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Michelle
    My bank account 8/9/11 was garnished for a credit card judgment from back on 12/18/2001. The judgment was for 2,556.75. On 4/12/02 they had garnished my checking account for 858.28 and on 8/9/11 they are garnishing it for 4,582.72. Can they do this? When is the statue of limitations up on a judgment or is it? Can they take more than what the court ordered judgment is for?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      A judgment in Missouri lasts for 10 years. I believe it can also be renewed, if done before it expires.

      Yes, debts can be collected for more than the amount of the judgment. Debts continue to accrue interest, even after a judgment is obtained. Given the length of time that has passed since the judgment was issued, it certainly could have grown quite a bit.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Angela
    I divorced and my house foreclosed this year leaving a $25K balance. Collectors are coming after me (I was primary on the loan) and stating that they would like to settle. Problem, I do not have the means to settle nor can I ask anyone to settle. Can they begin garnishing my wages? What about my ex-husband?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Are you and your ex both listed on the loan? I take it that you are, by your saying you were primary on the loan. In that case, both of you are potentially subject to collection, though a creditor can choose to come after only one part, regardless of whether or not that is fair.

      A creditor for a foreclosure deficiency balance cannot garnish your wages or levy your bank account without first suing you and obtaining a judgment against you.

      If you have any kind of a lump sum, you should try to settle the debt. If not, it may be best to speak with a bankruptcy attorney. If you qualify for a Chapter 7 that will discharge your debt, you are not obligated to file. You can choose to or you can use the fact that you qualify as a point of leverage when negotiating with the creditor.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Tracy
    Is there a limit to what credit companies can charge per debt acquired? Say, you have a $2000 credit limit. After spending that $2000 you pay off, in minimum payments over a couple of years, the amount you credited plus their interest. However, since you paid in minimum amounts you were unable to 'clear' the debt and inevitably continued paying until you've seen you've paid $4000 but still have a balance. Then, with roughly $400 left to pay off you fall into uncontrollable unfortunate circumstance and the creditor decides not to work with you but to instead send collectors after you which results in nothing because you are helpless at the time... then, when you can pay again your balance is back at $1800. Two years later, the creditors are trying to hunt you down to demand the full $4500 in debt you've accrued since lapsing payments. I just want to be sure that they are legally able to charge me this amount of money for what I borrowed because it just seems unreasonable and they've not once offered to settle. Please direct me in the right direction or tell me what you know, Bill. It'll be a greatly appreciated either way :)
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      You described the insidious nature of making minimum credit card payments. What is "unreasonable" to you is the effect of compounding a high-interest loan. To learn if your credit card issuer is complying with the Credit CARD Act of 2009 and charging you lawful fees and interest, click on the link I just mentioned.

      It is unclear if the credit card issuer or its collection agent is now attempting to collect the debt. If a collection agent is trying to collect the debt, validate the debt. You may have no liability for the debt if the creditor or collection agent cannot validate the debt.

      If and only if the collection agent validates the debt, then consider your debt resolution options. Go to the Bills.com Debt Coach for a no-cost, no-gimmick, online analysis of your options.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2011
    Mary
    I had a school debt for college in 2003. School sent me a letter stating write off in 2009. I got a call from a collection agency, and the agency ran my credit report, stating i owed and wants money. When I state statue of limitation and write off letter she said the states law is different for school debt and left it there. what is the statue for school debt? It's not a loan by the way.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Consult with an attorney to determine what kind of debt you have. For instance, the statute of limitations in Missouri for a written contract is 10 years. The fact that the debt was charged off has no relation to whether the creditor can file an action against you in your state court.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2011
    pam
    A credit card company is garnishing my wages. They have done this two separate times, one for 6 months and are now trying to do it again for another 6 months. According to my credit report the judgment is due to come off 7/2011. How many times can they re-new the garnishing of my wages? Also can I ask for a verification if I have another judgment that is coming up against me?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2011
      Bill
      A creditor may garnish your wages until you satisfy the judgment or the judgment expires. In many states, judgments can be renewed, so it may be case that the creditor can keep garnishing even after 7/2011.

      Once a debt has reached judgment status, I don't see the point in verification.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2011
    pam
    A credit card debt collector has called and told me in my state, Missouri, that they can have the sheriff come and get my furniture and sell it. Is this correct? They're unable to garnish my wages, as I collect social security. I have no home, car, savings, etc. and live in tiny rented apartment. My furniture is all old and not of much value. Thank you for your reply.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2011
      Bill
      I am not aware of any legal remedy like the one you described that fits your circumstances. However, if you were a rancher and stole some of your neighbor's cattle, the law of replevin allows the neighbor to ask the court for the sheriff to come onto your ranch and herd the cattle back on the neighbor's property. However, you mentioned your furniture is old, and therefore it is unlikely you used the credit card to buy the furniture, so the replevin remedy does not apply here.

      Consult with a Missouri lawyer regarding this question. If the collection agent is lying, file a complaint with the FTC. This may not stop the collection agent lying to you, but if enough consumers complain about this collection agent, the FTC will launch an investigation the collection agent will regret.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2011
    Terry
    Howdy Mr. Bill, Missouri resident, 100% Disabled Veteran, and Collect Soc Security Disabity. We have a single bedroom home which we have been trying to sell for 3 years. We moved out because our family became larger. Currently we are about 6 months behind in payments for the older home. We are trying to do a Short Sale, but nobody is buying it. The collection agency says they might have to forclose on the home and tell me that Missouri is a right to collect state. What can they do to us? We highly depend on my Disability payments. Thank You Much, Have a Good Missouri Day!!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      See the Bills.com resource Missouri Collection Laws to learn more about your rights and liabilities as a Missouri resident.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2011
    Lisa
    can a vehicle with a bank lein on it which is greater than the value of the vehicle be taken in a garnishment order by the court. and also who is liable to pay off the lein with the bank
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      The amount of the lien is irrelevant. The relevant two numbers are 1) the vehicle exemption amount in your state, and 2) the present fair market value of the vehicle.

      If (and I am picking these two numbers out of the air) your state's vehicle exemption is $2,000, and the market value of your vehicle is $1,700, then the vehicle is exempt from seizure. However, if your state's vehicle exemption amount is $3,000 (again, I am making up that number) and your vehicle is worth $10,000, then a judgment-creditor may have the ability (depending on your state's laws) to demand the sheriff seize and then sell the vehicle.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Grace
      Today I received a call from a collection co. They asked for Grace W--- I have not used that name in 14 years. Would they be able to damage my credit report or collect anything? When I answered the phone I told them no such person lived here. Which is true. I have no idea what the debt maybe, my 1st husband filed bankruptcy after divorce & is deceased.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      You seem surprised by the call. You may be dealing with a fake debt collector. Read the resource I just mentioned to learn how to deal with this issue.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    stephanie
    i recieved a call from a guy stating that he's scheduled to come out and serve me papers which i asked what is this about he said the envolope was sealed so he gave me a 800 to call reguarding the matter so i called and inquired the guy stated that us bank is tryin to sue for a account that i had back in 2003 which this is the first time being aware of this which i still havent been served with the papers yet but 8yrs and this is just surfing which i had no knowdge that there was even a issue the account had a zero balance which are they even able to do anything which the guy stated is was for breech of contract isn;t this past the statue of limitations fro the state of missouri?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      It is unclear to me if Missouri Section 516.110 (10 years) or 516.120 (5 years) applies to a bank account. Consult with a Missouri lawyer who has experience with consumer law to learn which statute applies in your case.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    Shane
    Can a collector put a lien on property in the state of Missouri if the owner of the property is not the owner of the debt and is not listed as a guarantor. The owner of the debt listed the property as an address only when requesting credit.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      Given the facts you presented, the answer to your question is absolutely not. The user of a mailing address has no meaning or equivalence to that address' ownership. If it were the case that a creditor could place a lien on the debtor's address, then every US Post Office with PO boxes would be inundated with liens, and apartment buildings would topple from the weight of all of the liens filed against them. The person who threatened to file a lien on the debtor's mailing address is either uninformed or a dimwitted liar.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    Terry
    A credit card company garnished my friends wages. They have done this two seperate times, one for 6 months, and one for three months, and are now trying to do it again for 3 months. How many times can they keep garnishing his wages? Why do they stop and then restart it?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      Does not make sense to me either. If I was an attorney working for a judgment creditor, I would recommend to my client that it garnish all that it could while it could because no job is certain and the judgment-debtor could leave that job or become a 1099 contractor, or during the time of non-garnishment, another judgment-creditor could swoop in and start garnishing the debtor's wages. There is no legal or business reason I can imagine for starting and stopping, starting and stopping a garnishment.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    Dan
    I live in Missouri and have recently had a 25% garnishment (from a collection agency, over a credit card debt) put on my wages. From what I understand, I can get this garnishment reduced to 10% if I am the head of my household. How do I find out whether I qualify for that status? If I do qualify, what steps must I take to get my garnishment reduced? I have contacted my county's sheriff. They said they only handle bank garnishments and that I needed to contact my employer's payroll department and inform them that I am head of my household. My employer's payroll department said they knew of no way they could change the amount being deducted.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      The Missouri law is clear: "The maximum part of the aggregate earnings of any individual for any workweek, after the deduction from those earnings of any amounts required by law to be withheld, which is subjected to garnishment may not exceed (a) twenty-five percentum, or, (b) the amount by which his aggregate earnings for that week, after the deduction from those earnings of any amounts required to be withheld by law, exceed thirty times the federal minimum hourly wage prescribed by section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 in effect at the time the earnings are payable, or, (c) if the employee is the head of a family and a resident of this state, ten percentum, whichever is less."

      I suggest you show the law to your payroll department. The law is viewable at an official Missouri government Web site in Section 525.030, part 2.

      If your employer still won't make the required change, try contacting the Missouri Department of Labor. The Division of Labor Standards, Wage and Hour Section, can be reached at: 3315 W. Truman Boulevard, Room 205 PO Box 449 Jefferson City, MO 65102-0449 Phone: (573) 751-3403 Fax: (573) 751-3721 E-mail: laborstandards@labor.mo.gov
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2011
    george
    what is the missouri statuete of limitations on a judgement for a cell phone bill. i just got word that i owe 2000 dollars from a bill back in 2001. just found out about it today.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2011
      Bill
      Consult with a Missouri lawyer experienced in civil litigation to learn if Section 516.110 in Chapter 516 applies to cell phone contracts in Missouri.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Ron
      I have a question, we live in Missouri, my wife had signed a payment agreement while at court for a civil case. Several months later, I lost my job, and due to circumstances beyond our control, were unable to make the payments. When we stopped, the collection firm took two years to decide to place a lien (or is it a levy?) against my wife's bank account. This was done with no contact in two years from the collectors. Also, the bank will not allow my funds that are deposited to be accessed, and told us 100% of our bank account will be sent to the collection agent on May 18th, effectively making us broke for over 4 weeks with zero money. The bank says their hands are tied. My wife is certain the original bill has past the statute of limitations when the collection agent took us to court the original time. Is there any way to ask the judge if we can have the debt validated? What steps should we take?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Bill
      Statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that must be raised in a timely manner at trial. Once the trial ends, the window for using a statute of limitations defense closes. You mentioned Missouri. I am not a Missouri lawyer, and it may be possible under your state's law to raise a statute of limitations defense on appeal, but I would place long odds on that being true. Still, it is worth your while to investigate that option.

      Consult with a Missouri lawyer who has experience in consumer law. You mentioned your bank account is frozen. Call your county bar association and ask for the name of the local organization that provides no-cost people in your area who have low or no income. Make and appointment with that organization and bring all of your documents relating to the debt and account freeze to your meeting. The lawyer you meet will advise you accordingly.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2011
    Amy
    I was wondering what to do with some old debt. I have some credit card and other debt that is from 7-8 years ago. It is all still on my credit report and I am not sure if I should pay any of it. I have gotten a few letters lately with settlement offers but I'm afraid how it will affect me. In your opinion, should I apy off the old debt or just wait for it to "fall off"? I was also wondering about the 2nd and 3rd party collectors. If the original debt falls off after 7 and a half year, what about the people that purchased that debt within all those years? When that debt "falls off", will all the creditor that purchased that same debt be taken off my credit report too?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      Under the FCRA, a federal law, a derogatory item on a consumer's credit report must be removed 7½ years after the date of first delinquency. The 7½-year rule applies to data supplied by original creditors and all subsequent third-party collection agents to consumer credit reporting agencies. Unscrupulous collection agent will violate the FCRA and re-age debt in an attempt to pressure consumers into paying a debt.

      Just because a debt no longer appears on a credit report does not mean the debt is no longer collectable in state courts. If credit card debt has a longer statute of limitations than 7½ years, then there is still a risk the creditor may sue you for breach of contract, win, and use the resulting judgment to garnish your wages, levy your bank accounts, or place a judgment lien on your personal or real property. Also, once a statute of limitations is reached on a debt, collection agents still have the right to collect the debt privately.

      Collection agents buy some debt for pennies on the dollar. If the settlement offer you received is for 10 or 15 cents on the dollar, consider the offer against future hassle you may receive years down the road from this or other collection agents collecting the debt. If you have a high tolerance for collection agents calling at all hours, or if the agent does not accept 10 or 15 cents of the dollar, then reject the offer and wait until the debt is sold to another collection agent who may be more willing to deal. Remember to validate the debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2011
    brian
    I am about to move to Missouri and get married. I need to know if my wife-to-be will become responsible for the debts that i already possess?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      Missouri is not a community property state, so there is no marital community to assume the liability for spousal debt. However, I hasten to say I am not a Missouri attorney, and my understanding of Missouri law is limited. Therefore, I am incompetent to offer you legal advice about your rights and liabilities in Missouri. Consult with a lawyer in Missouri who has experience in family law. Discuss the question you raised here, and whether you should consider a prenuptial agreement.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2011
    Joanne
    How do I have a charge off removed from my credit report? The statute of limitations has passed, so do I need to deal directly with the creditor or can I go through the reporting agencies?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2011
      Bill
      The rules for credit reports are set by federal law -- the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Statutes of limitation for the collection of debt are set by state laws. The two have no connection to each other, except in Wisconsin. The fact that a debt has passed Missouri's statute of limitations has no bearing on the FCRA's seven-year rule for reporting a derogatory entry on a credit report.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2010
    I received a letter from a 2nd, or maybe even 3rd party collection agency on an unpaid debt from 2003. They are offering me a 10% payoff (less than $100). Sounds like a great deal. However, this "offer" states that my "credit report will not be updated if the federal reporting period has expired". If I understand things correctly, the debt phased out by MO law in 2008, and Federal law this year (depending on my last payment being made in 2003). What would be the benefit of paying them anything at this point? Other than paying something on an unpaid debt, of course. Perhaps I misunderstanding the federal reporting period notation? It seems to me that they would accept payment, but not report it at all. Being that this has expired, should I write to the credit reporting agencies and ask that they remove the debt according to Fair Credit Reporting Act?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2010
      Bill
      Missouri statute of limitations is separate and independent from the FCRA, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is a federal law. Under the FCRA, derogatory entries on your credit report must be removed 7½ years after the date of first delinquency. The Missouri statute of limitations, which a time limitation on when a creditor can use the court system without limit to obtain a judgment on a credit card debt, is 5 years. The two rules have no connection to each other.

      A creditor can still sue you to obtain a judgment even though the statute of limitations has passed. However, if you raise a statute of limitations defense in a timely manner, the court will dismiss the case.

      Ask for a debt validation. If the collection agent cannot validate the debt, then it must remove the debt from the credit reporting agencies and may not attempt to collect the debt.
      1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2010
    H
    I have 2 hospital bills totaling over $8000. I just got married in July 2010. My husband and I are needing to know if they can take from his bank account (I'm not on his account anywhere)? We have separate bank accounts at different banks.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2010
      Bill
      I will assume that because you wrote this question on the Missouri Collections Laws page, you and your new spouse reside in Missouri. If you do not, then my answer may not apply to you. If you incurred the debt before marriage, and your now-spouse was not the guarantor the debt is your liability alone. If you incurred the debt after marriage, then your spouse probably has no liability because Missouri is not a community property state and in Missouri the doctrine of necessaries applies only after the debtor is deceased, unless the spouse is the guarantor. Consult with a Missouri attorney (or if you reside in another state, a local attorney) and get a precise answer.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2010
    legal
    I was called by a company representing a furniture rent to town company saying that they have filled for legal charges of possession of stolen property, I paid until they stop servicing my Washer even thought it was still under contract. Can they legally press these charges in MO
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2010
      Bill
      I doubt the rent-to-own company has a criminal case against you. It certainly has a civil case. Reopen negotiations to resolve the matter and get a functioning appliance.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2010
    Jason
    It has recently been explained to me that it is illegal for an attorney to garnish funds from a join account. The judgment originated from a motion to modify for an increase of child support, whereas the Judge awarded a portion of attorney fees. The Judgment was for me and me alone. The attorney then garnished those said fees from my join account. The co-user of the account has no attachment to the garnishment. Is it legal for the attorney to do this?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2010
      Bill
      In some states it is not permitted to garnish/levy/attach a joint account. In others it is perfectly legal. I do not know how Missouri, which is what I assume is the state law you are interested in, answers your question. If your question concerns Missouri, consult with a Missouri attorney who has experience in civil litigation or consumer law for a precise answer to your question. If you reside in another state, then consult with an attorney in your state.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2010
    Bill
    Appear at the hearing and explain your situation to the court. You may be held in contempt if you do not appear, which will compound your problem. However, if you appear and the court is sympathetic to your situation, the court may not allow a judgment against you. That is a long-shot, but you have nothing to lose by appearing and a possible bench warrant if you do not.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2010
    Jessica
    I'm a Missouri Resident, head of household (single mother)with no job in sight. I have two bank accounts with less than ten dollars in each. I have been summoned to court for credit card debt that is from four years ago. Because I have no job, no money, and no property of value. What else can they do? What can I do for that matter? I feel like I have no options.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2010
    Bill
    Acquaint yourself with Missouri Section 525.030, and in particular part 2 of that section (cited above). A head of household can be garnished an aggregate amount that is no greater than 10% of their weekly income. However, if your income is low, then it may be less. Consult with an attorney or legal aid organization in your state. An attorney will be able to review your income and the garnishment orders in detail. Garnishments, as a general rule, are intricate and are easy to file incorrectly.
    1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2010
    Shelly
    I am a Missouri resident, and just received my 2nd garnishment order. I am head of household, so they can only take 10%. Does that mean 10% for each or 10% total?
    0 Votes