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Kansas Collection Laws

I owe money to a creditor in Kansas. What can the creditor do to try to collect the account from me?

I live in Kansas, and a collection agent is trying to collect a debt from me. What rights are involved?

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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.

Kansas 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.

In 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 or Kansas law (Kansas 60-2308), but may be allowed for child support. See the Bills.com Wage Garnishment article to learn more.

Kansas garnishment rules are found in Kansas Chapter 60 Article 7. In Kansas law, "Garnishment is a procedure whereby the wages, money or intangible property of a person can be seized or attached pursuant to an order of garnishment issued by the court under the conditions set forth in the order." Kansas follows federal limits for garnishment (60-734). 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.

Kansas Wage Garnishment Exemptions

Kansas restricts wage garnishment for collection agents. Under K.S.A. 60-2310(d), "If any person, firm or corporation sells or assigns an account to any person or collecting agency, that person, firm or corporation or their assignees shall not have or be entitled to the benefits of wage garnishment." This exemption does not apply to:

  • Support payments (K.S.A. 39-709 and 39-756 and 42 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.)
  • Taxes receivable (K.S.A. 75-3728b)
  • Debts owed to courts or restitution owed under an order of restitution (K.S.A. 75-719)

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 Kansas, levy law is intertwined with garnishment law. Property can be attached (garnished) in Kansas under Kansas Chapter 60 Article 7. Intangible property, such as accounts receivables, can be garnished (60-732). Funds held by a financial institution can be garnished as well (60-733).

In most states, including Kansas, 401(K) and other retirement funds are exempt from levy/account garnishment (K.S.A. 60-2308). It is advisable to have those funds deposited into a separate bank account to ensure financial accounting if you are concerned about garnishment on those payments.

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.

Kansas laws governing liens are found in Kansas Revised Statute Chapter 58 Article 2. Liens are allowed on real property. Liens are also allowed on building materials, crops, and livestock if the plaintiff is the defendant's supplier. Liens are allowed for labor and materials. Liens are allowed for judgments under Kansas 60-2202 and become a lien on the real property of the judgment debtor.

Succinctly, liens are allowed for contractors and farm suppliers. Judgments can be enforced as a lien on the defendant's real property.

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

Kansas Statutes of Limitations

Statute of Limitations for most Kansas consumer debt issues are found in Chapter 60, Article 5 K.S.A. 60-512.

Account/Type Years Statute
Kansas statutes of limitations. Source: Bills.com
Credit card 3 or 5*  
Spoken contract 3 K.S.A. 60-512(1)
Written contract 5 K.S.A. 60-511(1)
Promissory note 6 K.S.A. 84-3-118
Check 6 K.S.A. 84-3-118
Certified check 3 K.S.A. 84-3-118
Judgment** 5 K.S.A 60-2403a(a)(1)
*Internet commentators argue if the credit card issuer cannot produce a contract signed by the the consumer, Kansas' oral contract statute of limitations applies. We cannot find Kansas case law supporting that argument. Consult with a Kansas lawyer for advice.
**Can be revived if less than 2 years has passed since judgment became dormant. Kansas domestic judgments for child support never become dormant.
Collection 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.

Recommendation

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

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

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

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  • A
    Amy,
    Jun, 2020

    I am being sued by a collection company and have to go to court. I dont know what to do I am the only income in a family of 5 and only make 13 an hour. I'm already about to lose my house. What do i do?

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Jun, 2020

      Amy, I am sorry that you are under such stress. I not a lawyer. I will share some information with the understandingg that I am not giving legal advice.

      You should respond to the paperwork you received, completing it accurately and returning as instructed. Given the fact that you are about to lose your home, I recommend that you speak with a bankruptcy attorney immediately. You should be able to get a free consultation. In fact, due to the size of your family, if you are the sole breadwinner, then you should be able to find free legal help..

      Do a search for "pro bono bankruptcy" and the name of the city in which you live. Find out if there is anything you can do to delay the foreclosure as well as the options for handling the account related to the lawsuite and all other accounts you have that show a a balance.

  • K
    Kelly,
    May, 2020

    My daughter has a hospital debt from when she lived in Kansas several years ago. She now lives in another state, got her crap together, and is making good on old debts. Currently her pay check is being garnished. She called the hospital to see if she could make payment arrangements, but they said once it's been turned over to collections, they can no longer help. In the meantime, her sister wants to pay the debt in full to help her out by stopping not only the garnishment, but the ridiculous interest she's being charged. When she called the collection agency to find out the total payoff for the debt, they won't tell her and continue to garnish, with interest. Who can I contact with the State of Kansas to help her resolve this issue? The collection agency is a legal office in Topeka, KS.

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      May, 2020

      Kelly, I am not a lawyer, so the information which I am happy to share with you is not to be taken as legal advice.

      I recommend that your daughter call the collection agent herself, as it was probably a privacy issue why they wouldn't tell her sister the payoff amount. 

      I don't see a reason to take time and effort contacting the Kansas State Government, unless the collection agent won't provide a pay off amount.

  • M
    Meghan,
    May, 2020

    I recently received a random entry of appearance from a debt attorney. They later sent me a copy of a civil judgement from 10/05/2015 that I was not notified of. Now they are trying to collect on that credit card debt after the debt has been charged off and I have had no contact by the original creditor or attorney that filed suit. What are my options on this debt?

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Jul, 2020

      Meghan, I can't give legal advice, as only an attorney can properly do so. Here are a couple of thoughts, with the understanding that I am not giving you legal advice.

      Your options are to contest service of the notice of being sued. It is not an easy route to go, to prove you were not properly served. The charge-off is immaterial to whether you owe the debt and can be sued. It is completely separate and is related to how long the negative account can appear on your report.

  • K
    Krystal Doyle,
    Mar, 2020

    I am a Kansas resident and I was in an accident 10 years ago causing me to lose my license. I did everything I had to do to get my DL back approx 4 years ago. Now I have a garnishment show up at my job for a judgment for over $14,000 with the judgement creditor's name listed as the man I was in the accident with 10 years prior. That man has also been dead since January of 2013. When I contacted the law office the garnishment was sent from to inquire, they are saying that I didn't show up to court 10 years prior ( I was never subpoenaed). They attempted contact last year mailing me out a form to fill out with all my personal info which I refused to do (thinking it was a scam because I had not heard anything about any of this for 10 years). Is this even legal?

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Mar, 2020

      Krystal, you need to speak with a lawyer in Kansas. The process through which you were garnished is the legal process, so it is safe to assume that what was done was legal. However, if it was done properly or not is something you want to have examined by a lawyer. He or she can advise you on the propriety of the deceased's estate asserting its claim at this juncture.

  • L
    Linda Evers,
    Mar, 2020

    I had a bill go to collections in January of 2018 and I made payments through an arrangement for 8 months and paid the debt off in September of 2018. Today, March 10, 2020, the original folks I owed the money to contacted me about the amount due as they were never paid off by the collection company that I had sent the money to. What can I do about the slimy collection company that took my money and never paid my debt? I do have copies of all my transactions and checks with this collection outfit, and I can absolutely prove that I paid the debt in full.

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Mar, 2020

      Linda, without knowing all the facts, it seems premature to label the debt collector as slimy. The error could be with the original creditor (OC). 

      Did the OC hire the collection agency to collect on its behalf? It is possible that the collection agency sent proof to the OC who misplaced or ignored it.

      The first thing I would do is to call the collection agency and let them know that the OC is contacting you and asking for payment and you are confused. See what they say. If they dropped the ball, then they should be responsible for informing the OC that the debt was paid off. Be sure that you are copied on th correspondence.

      If you can't take care of it by calling the collection agency, the contact the OC and supply the record that prove you paid it. It is a bummer you have to spend time addressing this, but it is the wise thing to do to make sure you don't get more calls and recieve pressure to pay on a debt that is already paid.

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