Pennsylvania Collection Laws

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Highlights


  • Wage garnishment is not allowed in Pennsylvania, with three exceptions.
  • The statute of limitations for most consumer debt is 4 years, but a federal court decided otherwise recently.
  • The account levy exemption amount is low -- $300.
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What are my rights and liabilities for debt collection in Pennsylvania?

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 against the debtor that affects 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.

Pennsylvania 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.

There is no wage garnishment in Pennsylvania, with three exceptions. The exceptions are landlord-tenant cases, child-support cases, and federal administrative wage garnishment actions, such as delinquent federal student loans. However, bank levies, which are called bank garnishments in Pennsylvania, are permitted (see below).

Under Pennsylvania law, arrearages in child support payments may result in attachment on wages as set forth in Section 4348 - Title 23 - Domestic Relations, regulated by the Consumer Credit Protection Act. Arrearages in child support payments may also be recovered from lottery winnings as set forth in Section 4308 - Title 23 - Domestic Relations.

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. Some states call levy attachment or garnishment.

In Pennsylvania, a bank account levy is allowed under Section 9607 - Title 13 - Commercial Code, but only after judgment is awarded. Pennsylvania has a $300 statutory exemption for account levy (42 Pa. C.S.A. Section 8123). Marital assets are exempt, and banks must notify the creditor of recurring electronic deposits, such as payroll, Social Security benefits, disability payments, and so on, that might be exempt if the account contains less than $10,000. All garnishments and levies in Pennsylvania must be served by the sheriff.

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

Pennsylvania Lien

A lien is an encumbrance, a claim, against a debtor that affects the debtor’s 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 refinances the home, the debtor will be required to pay the judgment out of the proceeds of the sale or refinance, after satisfying any liens that are in line ahead of one associated with the debt, such as any mortgages on the property. 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.

Under Pennsylvania law, Section 5107 - Title 12 - Commerce And Trade, "If a creditor has obtained a judgment on a claim against the debtor, the creditor, if the court so orders, subject to the limitations of sections 5108 and 5109, may levy execution on the asset transferred or its proceeds. Notwithstanding voidability of a transfer or an obligation under this chapter, a good faith transferee or obligee is entitled, to the extent of the value given the debtor for the transfer or obligation, to: (1) a lien on or a right to retain any interest in the asset transferred.

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

Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations

Each state has its own statute of limitations on judgments. Under Pennsylvania law, the following statute of limitations apply:

For credit card and other forms of consumer debt, most Pennsylvania judges apply a 4 year statute of limitations. In 2012, however, a Pennsylvania federal court created a two-step analysis in determining which statute of limitations applies in cases where the lender is headquartered outside Pennsylvania and has a statute of limitations shorter than Pennsylvania's. The court looked at the choice of law provision in the contract (a credit card agreement) and then looked at the place where payments were to be sent. The court found the failure of the creditor to receive the payment in its state was the injury, triggering that state's statute of limitations (Hamid v. Stock & Grimes, LLP, PICS Case No. 12-1179 [E.D. Pa. June 12, 2012] applying the Pennsylvania Uniform Statute of Limitations on Foreign Claims Act, [42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Section 5521b]).

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.

Pennsylvania Foreclosure

Pennsylvania foreclosure laws can be found in conjunction with the various types of real property such as Planned Communities, Condominiums, and Co-ops. To learn more about the rules surrounding foreclosure in this state, including deficiency balances please refer to Title 68 - Real and Personal Property. Pennsylvania has a deficiency judgment rule as described in Section 8103 - Title 42 - Judiciary And Judicial Procedure. A lender can sue for deficiency within six months after the foreclosure.

Recommendation

Consult with a Pennsylvania state attorney experienced in civil litigation to get precise answers to your questions about liens, levies, and garnishment in Pennsylvania. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can navigate the process yourself by taking advantage of the Pennsylvania court’s self-help resources — for example, you can find general information in the FAQ section, while many of the forms you will need are available for download at the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System forms page. Again, you should find an attorney if possible, but if you cannot, the resources listed should prove helpful.

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  • 35x35
    Apr, 2013
    Jared
    I have a bill that is past due and was sent to a collection agency and I was given two weeks to respond and I can't find the letter to contact them. The two weeks is up today or tomorrow. What's next? What can I do?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2013
      Bill
      If you cannot recall any facts about the name or contact information about the collection agent, you have two options:
      • Call the original creditor and ask for the name of the collection agent it assigned your collection account to.
      • Wait for the collection agent to contact you again.

      A less-reliable third option is to access one of your three credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com to see if the name and telephone number of the collection account in question is listed on that credit report.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2013
    Joe
    First off, I live in Pennsylvania if that makes any difference (I don't know about state laws and the difference between states regarding this matter) In 2002 I defaulted on two credit cars for a combined total of $600 ($300 each). I was young and fully admit it was stupid but I really didn't have the money (plus, I used the cards to actually pay utility bills and rent not frivolous other things). After a few years I started getting calls and some letters from collection agencies so I made a few payments but nowhere near the amount required to erase the debt. The last payment I made was in the summer of 2007 and haven't made one since. Since then I've gotten a few phone calls and letters and each time the debt increases. I've had them call me at work and call the house I grew up in and every time I told them to call me after work hours and do not call my parents house...but that never really stopped them for they continued to call at those times and my parents despite the fact I haven't lived in their house since 1997 and my address was officially changed to my current residence in 2004. I've read before that I have some rights regarding this yet they continued to ignore that...don't know if that matters in my case or not. Anyway, just recently I got a letter from a collection agency that has never contacted me nor have I heard of stating my debt is now an astronomical $1800 (not the original $600) the letter said they reserve the right to file a lawsuit on me to recover the debt and that they can garnish my wages or garnish my bank account. I would just like to know what are my rights regarding this matter as a resident of Pennsylvania? I understand how debt collection works but I think it's absurd for them to charge me 3 times the original debt especially when I've already made several payments in the past. If the debt is lowered to what it originally was ($600) or relatively close to that amount that would be much more manageable for me. Thanks for any advice and answer....
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2013
      Bill
      Reread the article above to understand your rights as a Pennsylvania resident.

      Credit card collection accounts are bought and sold for pennies on the dollar. When the original creditor sold the account with the $600 balance to a broker or collection agent, it did so for about $50. Most states allow collection agents to add a certain amount of annual interest to collection accounts, and without doing the math it appears the collection agents exceeded most states' usury rate by a wide margin.

      Armed with what I just wrote, open a negotiation with the newest collection agent and offer it $100 as a final settlement on the account. It may feign offense at you offering it what might appear to be a small amount. That's part of the game. If it will not negotiate reasonably, then invite it to file a lawsuit against you so that it can try to explain how a $600 debt became an $1,800 debt over the course of 6 years, and how that complies with Pennsylvania's usury law.

      If you find yourself a defendant in a civil lawsuit, consult with a lawyer who has consumer law or civil litigation experience.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2012
    sally
    settled all my debt how long can ca or original debtor report in pa anything i can do to delete sooner
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2012
      Bill
      Sally, your debt will remain on your credit report for 7½ years from the time of your first delinquency. There is not much you can do, at this point, to have the account deleted. It would have been best to try to negotiate a pay for delete at the time you were settling the account.

      You can try the methods that credit repair companies use, by hiring a credit repair firm or trying it on your own.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    Rachel
    I currently live in PA. I owe Sallie Mae almost $50,000 in student loan debt. I used all my forbearance time and cannot afford the monthly payments. I have two sons to take care of. I do work and am barely able to make enough to take care of my household. Are they able to garnish my wages or touch my one of my son's SSi benefit? And if I move to another state does this change?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      In the past, Sallie Mae offered both private and federal student loans. Go to the Sallie Mae Web site, or review your Sallie may loan documents and monthly statements to learn if your loans are private, federal, or both.

      For your private loans, read the Bills.com articles Sallie Mae Forbearance & Deferment and Private Student Loan Default to learn about your options.

      For your federal loans, read the Bills.com article Default on Federal Student Loan to learn your options.

      You mentioned your son's Social Security benefit. This is not available to the Dept. of Education for two reasons. First, unless your son was the borrower or co-signer, your son does not have liability for your student loan debt. Second, assuming he did have liability, it is unlikely the Dept. of Education could reach this benefit. See the Bills.com resource, Social Security Benefit Garnishment. The no-garnishment-of-Social-Security rule is federal and applies to all states.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2012
    Dave
    My Father in law has a judgment against him in the state of PA. The creditor has issues a form for interrogatories. Does the creditor have the "right" for all his financial information? I have done some reading and I think the sheriff has to order this, but I am not sure.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      Impossible for us to answer without seeing the documents you received. In most instances, a defendant is compelled to answer interrogatories. In this case, your "interrogatories" may be tarted-up questions wrapped in legal veneer you may have no obligation to answer. Take the documents to a lawyer who has consumer law experience in your state. He or she will tell you in an instant if you must answer the questions, and what the consequences are if you do not.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2012
    K.B.
    In 2003 my husband purchased a 4-wheel. It was financed and for the 1st year and a half in error he only carried liability insurance. The bank that we financed through sent us a letter at one point requesting insurance info. We unfortunatly ignored it not realizing our error in insurance coverage..we thought they would have that info. We eventually corrected the insurance coverage due to the insurance company noticing that it was a financed vehicle. We listed the bank as the holder of the title for the 4-wheel. We paid the 4-wheeler off in 2008 but then received a letter from the bank stating we owed them over $5000 more due to forced insurance premiums. These premiums were over $1000 for each year of the loan. Our premium for full coverage was about $80 a year through Progressive. We provided proof of insurance and they refused to reduce amount. They receieved a judgment against my husband in April of 2008. In court my husband came to an agreement with the lady from the bank. They would reduce the amount due to full payment for the year and a half we only carried liability, and a reduced amount of just the difference between full and liability for the other years...and we would not have to pay interest on this amount since it was an insurance premium. He did not sign anything and was told he would receieve something from the bank regarding payment arrangement. We never receieved anything. I guess we should have contacted them but it was a bitter pill to swallow to have to pay this to begin with especially since the premiums were so exorbinate compared to the full coverage premium we paid. Flash forward 4 years and we just recieved a Writ of Revival of the origianl judgement. I have gotten rid of all the paperwork I compiled for this and want to know if I am allowed to request from this bank again all documents of our loan, payments, forced insurance premiums etc. Should we try to have them vacate the debt since there is nothing in writing of the agreement we came to? The paperwork they sent just says to contact them in writing within 20 days to dispute the debt...there is no court dates or anything like that. Do we send something to the law firm or the bank? Lawyer or just suck it up and pay :(???
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      Readers, I welcome your constructive ideas to help KB resolve this issue.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2012
    Jamie
    I am being sued for an unsecured credit card debt that is 3.5 years old. I am scheduled to go to court in 2 weeks and am going to attend & defend myself. If the collection attorney does win will they be able to freeze a bank account that is in both my husband's & my name? The only asset I have is a car. Can they seize that to satisfy the judgment?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      Joint accounts are subject to account levy. The fact that another person's name also appears on an account does not make it immune to levy — if the judgment-debtor's name and tax ID number are on the account it is open to levy. Regarding your question about the vehicle, what you are referring to is called replevin. That is not a remedy available to judgment-creditors for credit card debt, and is reserved for unusual circumstances. The judgment-creditor may be able to place a lien on the vehicle depending on its value.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      dave
      The first question I have is what State you live in? The second thing I would find out is the Statute of limitation in your state for the debt. If the Debt statue has passed this can be a very good defense to win your case. If it is not past then I would not even bother showing up. It will be an automatic win for the plaintiff. What you should have done was send a "Prove the debt" letter. This would have forced them to send all the information about the debt and prove it is indeed yours. You only have that option within 30 days of the debt request.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2012
    Peggy
    How do I go about finding any and all judgements against me. I pulled my credit reports and found the same ONE listed on each of my reports. My bank account was temporarily frozen by a creditor who said they had issued a judgement against my bank account, but when I inquired as to the name of the creditor, it was not the same judgement that I saw on my report. In fact, I was told there were several. How can I find out who they are and what I owe? I live in PA
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      A credit report is a start, but there is no guarantee your credit report will contain complete and accurate information, especially regarding public documents like judgments. Think of a credit report as a really bad newspaper — sometimes the information published is complete and accurate, and sometimes it's not.

      Consult with a lawyer who has civil litigation or consumer law experience. He or she will need to conduct research to uncover your judgments.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    James
    Here are the facts ... I am still looking for an answer. 1. My wife and I are currently under a sales agreement, for the purchase of our home, from a family member who owns the property outright (does not owe on it) 2. I am getting a new mortgage loan, to purchase the house we are living in now, and buying, under the sales agreement. 3. When the title search was completed, a notice of judgment was found in my name. 4. Title company said that the judgment lien will be removed when the final title is issued, as it is in my name alone and does not include my wife. Tenancy by the entirety ... or something like that. Question 1: Will this judgment lien come back on, once the sale transaction is completed? Question 2: If this does come back on, can we sell the house or refinance it at a later time, with this judgment, only in the name of one spouse and not both? Thanks. James.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2011
      Bill
      I can't give you legal advice, James. Only an attorney can properly do so. I will share a few non-legal opinions with you.

      It is my experience that lenders require all judgments against any borrower listed on the application to be paid off or the loan will not close. I would check with the lender, as opposed to hearing what the Title Co. has to say about this.

      If you are somehow able to close the loan with the judgment, it is my opinion that the presence of the judgment would be an encumberance to a future sale or refinance.

      If you require further clarification, please consult with an attorney.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    JAMES
    My Wife and I are buying a home, from a family member, under a sales agreement. It is filed with the court. As part of the process to secure a loan in my name alone, I am in the process of a home loan. It came to light, that there is a notice of judgment, in my name. It was found during the title search. Now the home is in both mine and my wifes name and as I understand it, is covered under the Tenancy In Its Entirety law. My questions are: - The abstract/title company is saying that the new title, when issued, will have this notice of judgment removed as it does not apply. I am curious, as to the legal reasoning for that? Is that because of the Tenancy thing? - I was aware there was a creditor that was not paid and that they did win a judgment but they never provided a writ to me, indicating a judgment was filed. Now, I know it was. Is this legal, on the part of the creditor to take this step and not inform me? If we were to refinance down the road, and this judgment lien is still there, will I be able to refinance? From what I have read, the Tenancy in its Entirety remains until death of the debtor or divorce. Please help ... Looking for some answers. J.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      If I understand the facts of your question correctly, a creditor filed a personal judgment against you, which came to light when you applied for a loan. I doubt the judgment appeared during the title search of the property you are buying. The judgment would not encumber a property you previously did not own.

      It is more likely that the judgment appeared when the lender's underwriting department pulled your credit report and discovered the judgment in the public records section of your credit report. I doubt the future interest you chose for the title of the property has anything to do with the old judgment.

      Consult with a lawyer in your state who has property law experience to learn if my guesses here are accurate.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      James
      I was informed by the title company, that it is listed under the title, for the house I am purchasing via a new home loan, that we are living in under a sales agreement. So, it is under the home I am purchasing because we already have that sales agreement filed at the court. It was done that way, so we could claim the mortgage interest. With all of the being said, the title company is removing the listing, because it is in one spouses name. Not both ... As the house is currently in both spouses name.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Glenn
      I have a buyer in same situation and worried it will hold up sale. Do you have the name and number of your title company I'd like to speak to them about this as I believe you are perfectly safe from existing or future debts or judgments only in one spouse's name, it's unique to Pennsylvania.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    allison
    Is a debt from October 2004 to UGI, collectable now? A debt collection agency has just begun to contact me over a supposed balance from that year.I have no reccolection and not much in the way of records anymore from that time. I think I paid all of my debts when I sold that house and moved away. They are not showing up on my credit report. Thank-you
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      Let us look at the facts and terms you shared in your message, and others that were implied:
      • Time and Credit Reports. Seven years is how long most derogatory items can appear on a consumer's credit report file. The seven-year rule has nothing to do with charge off. It does not determine whether the debt is collectible. It also has nothing to do with a state's statute of limitations. See the Bills.com resource Fair Credit Reporting Act to learn more about what can appear on a credit report and for how long.
      • Charge-off / write-off. An accounting term that means a creditor has moved an account from its current-accounts book to its general ledger as a bad debt. It does not mean the account is canceled, forgiven, or extinguished. See the Bills.com resource Charge Off for a more complete discussion of this oft-misunderstood phrase.
      • Statute of Limitations. Just because a statute of limitations has passed does not mean a creditor may not collect a debt, except in Wisconsin. The passing of a statute of limitations gives a defendant in a lawsuit an affirmative defense, and nothing more. See Statute of Limitations to learn more.

      A collection agent working on a debt older than a state's statute of limitations may contact the consumer to attempt to collect an ancient debt (except in Wisconsin). It can even file a lawsuit against the consumer. However, the consumer has an affirmative defense if there is such a lawsuit.

      The 7-year clock does not reset when the consumer makes a payment or settles the debt. There is no reason, from a credit score perspective, to pay debt older than 7 years in age. If the creditor files an action — a lawsuit — against you, you may have an affirmative defense if your state's statute of limitations has passed.

      My advice? Validate the debt.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    B J
    Are private loans from before 2005 enforceable to collect in PA?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      I assume what you are asking is, "If the statute of limitations on a consumer loan has passed, can the creditor file an action against the debtor?" In all jurisdictions but Wisconsin, the answer is "yes." The debtor/defendant has the right to raise a statute of limitations affirmative defense. A court will not raise this defense on behalf of the defendant. If the defendant raises this defense, and the court accepts it, the court will dismiss the case.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Elizabeth
    So I have been going through my husband's credit report, but they only have a 24 month payment history. How do I obtain the payment history prior to that to see if the statute of limitations has passed without contacting the company and admitting that the debt is mine? I live in Pennsylvania and the statute of limitations is 4 years. What do I do after the time has passed? Who do I contact, what do I send, and how do I get it off of the credit report? Also, can you attempt to validate a debt when there is a judgement already in place especially if this is the first contact the company has made with or? Or is it too late at that point? Thanks for all of the help. You have no idea how you have eased my worries so far in the process!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      I suspect there are significant facts in your situation that you did not share, which makes me reluctant to offer an opinion on your situation.

      Regarding the judgment, consult with a lawyer in your state who has civil litigation experience. The defendant should have received notice of the lawsuit. If the consumer's first notice of a judgment is its appearance on a credit report, then the plaintiff did not follow state or federal civil procedure rules.

      Regarding the state statute of limitations and the appearance of a derogatory on a credit report, the two have no relationship to each other. The FCRA, a federal law, controls the behavior of the consumer credit reporting agencies. Under the FCRA, most derogatories can appear on a credit report for 7½ years after the date of first delinquency. Judgments and bankruptcies can appear for 10 years. The 7½-year rule has no relationship to a state's statute of limitations on a consumer debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Beth
    I have been served a civil complaint by Capital One Bank date filed 09/12/11 for a judgment against me in the amount of roughly $4,300 on a credit card debt. I Live in Pennsylvania and the credit card was opened in 09/08/2005. I am unemployed and now living on social security. . can I have my social security income garnished? Can they still collect or is the statute of limitations up? Is it 4 years from the opening of the agreement in PA? Can they garnish funds that my husband may earn that are in a joint checking account?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      I can't give you legal advice, but will share some thoughts with you.

      The statute of limitations does not begin when you open the account, but starts running either from the time of your first delinquency or when a creditor sends you letter demanding the full payment of your account, depending on the terms of your credit card agreement. If it has been more than four years since you defaulted on your agreement, you likely can use the SOL as a defense and the court will not hold you responsible for the debt. If the creditor already obtained a judgment, before the SOL ran out, then the four year SOL for credit card debt in PA does not apply.

      If there is a judgment against you for a credit card debt, your Social Security benefit may not be garnished, but any bank account with your name on it can be levied.

      Consulting with an attorney and reviewing all the paperwork you received is a prudent step.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    lee
    HI, I am a landlord with a judgement against former tenants for failure to pay rent etc. I am in the process of filing a writ of execution to try and recover some of that judgement. I was wondering what is the best and CORRECT legal way to garnish wages? In the writ I included where he works and lives but the Sherriff suggested it may not be the correct way of going about it? Is it possible to place a lein on his property also?? Any help would be appreciated. thanks
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Consult with a lawyer who has experience in your state's laws of remedies. In most states, the rules for executing a wage garnishment, account levy, or lien are exact and rigid, and any misstep could scuttle your judgment.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Kelly
    I received a court notice that I am being sued by credit card collector. I wanted to know if they can place a lien on my home after a judgement is made if I am unable to pay...or will the statue of limitations apply? The debt was opened in 11/08 and I just got the notice.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Yes, a lien can be filed, after a judgment is entered against you.

      The SOL in PA is four years for credit card debt, a written contract, or a verbal contract, so your debt has not reached the SOL.

      At least your wages are safe from a garnishment, as PA law exempts your wages from levy for this kind of debt. Your bank account, however, can be levied.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Trish
    we are getting ready to move to PA, if a judgement is entered in MO can they still levy accts/collect from us in PA?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Tough, fact-specific question to answer without knowing more. In general, if a judgment is rendered in State A against a State B resident, the plaintiff must file the judgment in State B, and follow the State B rules for remedies, which include wage garnishment, account levies, and liens.

      Consult with a lawyer in your new state of residence to learn if the judgment-creditor needs to follow your new state's remedies rules. My guess, note that word choice, is yes, but your safest course of action is to learn a more precise answer from someone licensed to practice law in your new state.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2011
    Mike
    Credit card company says they are going to sue me and I expect to have judgement placed against me if they really sue. No way I can pay bill. My checking account has only a pension direct deposited to it and I know they can not freeze that. I have begun working again and want to know what to due about my paycheck. I saw that it can be direct deposited to a credit card type card. Works like visa. Walmart moneycard is one. Can a creditor freeze this type of account?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2011
      Bill
      If the account is identified with your Social Security number, then I know of no reason why a judgment-creditor cannot ask a court for a levy (sometimes called an account garnishment) of that account.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2011
    chris
    I was served a civil suit 4 days ago. the original debt was approx. 10k when i stopped paying in July 2008. I called for a settlement in Sept 2009 and they wanted 7k (could not afford that) The debt was then sold to another party Nov 2009 and then to a different company March 2010. The company that bought the debt in March 2010 are now the ones suing me for almost 18K!!! they state in the suit interest continues to accrue at 29.99% per annum. My questions are: 1) What is the legal max they can charge me for interest in the state of PA? 2) they also attached my original card holder agreement and it states. "if you default by failing to make a payment, we may increase the annual percentage rate to a rate of 23.99% -- how can they be charging me 29.99% then? 3) Is there anything i can do about what i consider to be excessive interest? I called today for a settlement number, they want 80% of the total balance due, somewhere in the vicinity of 14K. (that is totally impossible for me to come up with in a lump sum) Not to mention i know these place buy your debt for pennies on the dollar. Any direction you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I had other cards I made reasonable settlements with and this is the LAST one!! Thank goodness!! Also keep in mind that when i stopped paying on the original balance, they had already got me for tons of interest charges over the years. i had only stopped paying because I could no longer keep up after my spouse became disabled.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      Here are brief and incomplete answers to your questions. Consult with a Pennsylvania lawyer for a more precise answer to your questions, and for reasons you will see below.
      1. The usury limit for debts less than $50,000 in Pennsylvania is 6%. The 29% interest you are being charged is almost certainly illegal under Pennsylvania law.
      2. I am uncertain if a Pennsylvania resident can contract for an interest rate higher than than the state usury rate.
      3. Consult with a lawyer who has consumer law experience about this matter.

      If you cannot afford a lawyer, call your county bar association and ask for the name of the organization in your area that provides low- and no-income people no-cost legal services. Make an appointment with that organization and bring all of the documents regarding the debt to your meeting. The lawyer you meet will advise you accordingly.

      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      chris
      Thank you very much for your direction, it is very much appreciated. I had not heard of usury limits before this (although I assumed there was some sort of law regarding allowable/reasonable interest)and will be finding an attorney to consult first thing Monday. Thanks again!
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2011
    heather
    Hello. I received a notice today that my bank account is being attached. According to the paperwork i received i owe 867 dollars. Will they take the money immediately? what happens next? Should i return the paperwork
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      In general, funds are held at the bank for a period of time, often 21 days, before being sent to the judgment-creditor. Once the bank levy hits, it is difficult to stop the funds from being taken. If your sole source of income is Social Security or veteran's benefits, new federal provisions may protect up to two months worth of benefits in your account, if you have the funds deposited directly.

      I see no additioinal harm that will come to you by returning the paperwork.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2011
    Patti
    Hi,Im from Pennsylvania.My boyfriend is being sued by a career training school called Driver Solutions in Indiana(I believe its a private school because he didnt have to get federal student loans). Before we received the summons, I tried to negotiate payment with the school,but they refuse to make a payment arrangement that we can afford. So I called the school today about the summons to ask for a continuence because the summons stated that I was suppose to contact the party filing the claim. Anyway, I talked to them, and I was told that I have to call the court to try to get the date changed,but I was also told that I will most likely not able to get the date changed.We only have a few days before the court date, and we cannot afford to travel out there,and I dont think we have enough time to get an attorney.Isnt there a law that allows you a continuence? Also would they be able to garnish his wages? Is there a way we can counter sue for travel expenses and lost wages if we went out there? Please help. Thank you for your time.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      Courts will always encourage parties to settle their dispute privately before a case comes to trial.

      Consult with a lawyer either in your state or in the state of the trial immediately to learn how to file a continuance.

      Regarding wage garnishment, that depends on the state where the judgment-debtor resides. If the judgment-debtor resides in Pennsylvania, see the Bills.com resource Pennsylvania Collection Laws to learn more.

      Regarding a counter-suit, the defendant would need a cause of action — a legal reason to sue — against the plaintiff. This may be an allegation that the school did not provide the training it promised, or it overstated the ability for its graduates to find employment, and so on. A lawyer will help you determine if the student has a cause of action against the school.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2011
    Samuel
    In 2009 we relocated from our townhouse (purchase money came from BAC 1st, and Chase 2nd) in VA to PA (due to jobs). We purchased a PA residence in 2009. After some time in PA the monthly expenses became untenable and we stopped paying the VA mortage. Several attempts were made to short sell the property (currently underwater 30%) but were met with resistance by chase. They would not release the lien until we paid them 30% money we simply do not have. The property remains in pre-foreclosure limbo with no sale date. This has been the situation for 18 months. I would like to understand better our potential exposure. Several questions come to mind: 1) can chase pursue in PA (domesticate the case) prior to an actual foreclosure sale, or must they wait? 2) What exactly can happen in the worst case scenario to: PA house, autos, and bank accounts? We have approx $10K in equity in PA residence. Does not seem worth it for a creditor to attempt to collect by this method. Autos are equally not that valuable. It seems like the biggest recourse would be to levy a pa bank account. If this happens can we open up other accounts or must the debt be settled? I understand that PA does not allow wage garnishment but really, what's the difference in PA does allow an account levy where employer direct deposits are made? This seems far worse than a percentage garnished. Lastly, chase (through 3rd party agency) has offered a 30% settlement but we don't have the cash to settle. Any insight would be appreciated. Thank you, Sam
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Bill
      My first and last thought regarding your questions is a recommendation you consult with a Pennsylvania lawyer who has experience in consumer law. He or she can review your situation in detail and give you precise advice.

      Regarding domestication, until there is a foreclosure of the Virginia property, there is nothing to domesticate in Pennsylvania.

      Regarding the "what's the worst that can happen?" question, I tried to outline the basics to that question in my original answer above. You are correct in your thought that by hop-scotching between new banks and credit unions, you can outrun a creditor with a judgment for a long time.

      Talk to a Pennsylvania lawyer to learn if you qualify for bankruptcy. Learn if you qualify for Chapter 7, the costs, and how much creditors such as Chase would get if you filed for a Chapter 7. Use that information in your negotiations with Chase, and explain you can scrape together $3,000 (I made that number up) but that if they pursue you in Pennsylvania for the deficiency balance you will pull the trigger on a Chapter 7. I commend you for taking the long view, but Chase may never pursue the deficiency balance.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      dave
      I think they can only Levy an account with more then 1200 bucks in it. You can probably split your direct deposit between multiple bank accounts and out run them. But they need to get a judgment first. I wonder if they just put a lien on your current. That is what I would try to do if I were the lender. Can't escape that one.
      0 Votes