Mississippi Collection Laws

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IN THIS ARTICLE:
  • Mississippi's statute of limitations on credit card debt is 3 years.
  • Mississippi allows you to file an objection to a wage or account garnishment.
  • Mississippi does not allow collections after the statute of limitations expires

Mississippi's Rules For Garnishment, Liens, Foreclosure & More

If you owe debt and reside in Mississippi, it’s important to understand your rights and liabilities. It is even more important if a creditor threatens to file a lawsuit against you.

A lender, collection agent or law firm that owns a collection account is a creditor. Mississippi law gives creditors several means of collecting delinquent debt from you.

Before a creditor may use these legal tools in Mississippi, the creditor must go to court to receive a judgment against you. See the Bills.com article to learn more about this process, and how to fight a lawsuit.

A court will hold a hearing after a creditor files a lawsuit. A hearing may result in a judgment awarded to the creditor. A judgment is a court’s declaration the creditor has the legal right to demand:

The laws calls these remedies. A creditor granted a judgment is called a judgment-creditor. Which tool a judgment-creditor may use depends on the circumstances and Mississippi law. We discuss each of these remedies below.

Mississippi Wage Garnishment Rules

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.

Mississippi law limits the amount of money that your creditors can take from your wages to pay a debt. Under federal and Mississippi law, most creditors with judgments can take up to 25% of your wages. Mississippi law prevents creditors from garnishing wages for the first 30 days after a court orders a garnishment.

Some creditors, such as the IRS and state authorities collecting child support, can garnish more than 25%. The state-allowed maximum for child support is 65% (MCA § 85-3-4(3)(b)). The IRS and US Dept. of Education can garnish your wages administratively, which means they can do so without obtaining a judgment against you first.

You may be able to claim an exemption from a garnishment in Mississippi (MCA § 11-35-33 and § 85-3). Mississippi wage garnishment laws are found in MCA § 11-35 and § 85-3-4(2)(a)(i-ii).

Levy Bank Accounts in Mississippi

Mississippi law calls account levy "bank garnishment." A bank garnishment seizes all funds available to the bank as long as it is clear that the funds belong to the consumer and are not Social Security or a similar federal benefit. Your bank or credit union that receives a bank garnishment will freeze the account for 30 days from the date they receive the garnishment.

Some funds deposited in a bank or credit union may be exempt from bank garnishment. For example, residents over the age of 70 may exempt up to $50,000 in any financial account. See for a list of exemptions.

Mississippi Lien

In Mississippi, a judgment lien can be attached to the real estate the debtor owns, including a house, condo, land, or similar kind of property interest. Miussissippi also allow judgment liens on the debtor’s personal property, including jewelry, art, antiques, and other valuables. (See MCA § 11-7-189 to 197 and § 15-1-43)

Liens are subject to Mississippi’s many exemptions. See for a list of exemptions.

A Mississippi judgment lien remains attached to the debtor’s property (even if the property changes hands) for 7 years.

Wisconsin and Mississippi outlaw lawsuits against consumers in cases where those state statutes of limitation have passed. Wisconsin and Mississippi are the only exceptions to the “lawsuits are allowed for original creditors even if the statute of limitations expired” rule.

Mississippi Statute of Limitations

Each state has its own statute of limitations on civil matters. Here are Mississippi’s statutes of limitations for consumer-related issues:

Account/Type Years Statute
Mississippi statutes of limitations. Source: Bills.com
Credit card 3* MCA 15-1-29 & MCA 15-1-31
Spoken contract 3 MCA 15-1-29
Written contract 3 (non-UCC) or 6 (sale of goods under UCC) MCA 75-3-118, 75-2-725, and 15-1-49
Judgment 7 ** (domestic) 3 (foreign) MCA 15-1-43 & MCA 15-1-45
Judgment Lien 7 ** MCA 15-1-47
* See Walter Del Cox, Jr. vs Howard, Weil, Labouisse, Friedrichs, Inc., 619 So.2d 908 (1993). 3 years from the date at which time the items on the account became due and payable.
** Can be renewed by filing suit to renew judgment prior to expiration of 7th year,

The statute of limitation clock starts when the contract is breached. Typically, this means 30 days after the date of the last full payment.

In Mississippi, a creditor loses the right to file a lawsuit upon expiration of the statute of limitations clock. “The completion of the period of limitation prescribed to bar any action shall defeat and extinguish the right as well as the remedy.” MCA § 15-1-3. Furthermore, collection agents violate the federal 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.

If you reside in Mississippi and a collection agent files a lawsuit against you on expired debt, consult with a lawyer immediately because the collection agent is in violation of Mississippi and federal law.

Mississippi Foreclosure

The most common type of foreclosure in Mississippi is non-judicial. This means the foreclosure timeline can be relatively short — 90 days is the minimum in Mississippi.

Mississippi law allows the lender to file a lawsuit to collect any deficiency balance. It must file for judgment within 1 year of foreclosure. If the lender bids at the foreclosure sale, the bid must be reasonable (see MCA § 89-1-305).

Learn more about Mississippi foreclosure law by reading the state statutes at MCA § 89-1-55 to 89-1-59.

Mississippi Collection Laws Recommendation

Consult with a Mississippi lawyer who is experienced in civil litigation to get precise answers to your questions about liens, levies, garnishment, and foreclosure. If you cannot afford a lawyer, contact or another to find no- or low-cost legal service.

16 Comments
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  • K
    Kay Dougherty,
    Feb, 2020

    Defaulted on a signature loan with a credit union due to hardship. Judgement was filed and garnishment occurred as ordered. Total on loan was not recovered due to limit set by state. Also had auto loan that was paid through completion several years later. Credit union attached auto for remaining total from signature loan and unwilling to make reasonable arrangements after vehicle payoff in 2011. Still holding the title. What can I do?

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Feb, 2020

      Thank you, Kay, for sharing your question. I am not a lawyer so please don't consider this legal advice.

      Many agreements wtih a financial instititution include a "right of offset." If you go delinquent on your account it can affect any other account you have with the same institution. A late car payment can be snagged from a checking account, for example. The withholding of the title is due to the defaulted signature loan. Clearing out what you owe them is the only way I know to get the title released.

  • P
    Pat,
    Feb, 2020

    If my employer receives a garnishment on me, do they have to give me notice before withholding the garnishment? What notice does my employer have to give before withholding the first garnishment.

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Feb, 2020

      I just searched for an authoritative answer specific to Mississippi and can't find the rule that governs notice from the empployer. I do believe they are required to notify you in a timely manner once they receive the garnishment order. 

      My understanding is that the employer should wait 30 days before taking anything from your paycheck, giving you time to appeal or work out another solution. Federal law protects you from punishment by your employer for being garnished (as it can be a pain for them to deal with the paperwork and making sure the amount garnished is proper, etc.) if you have one garnishment, but if a second garnishment hits you, an employer could fire you if it wishes.

      In your position, I would contact the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and ask them what are the requirements for your employer notifying you. If you do that, please report back what you find.

  • G
    Gary,
    Nov, 2019

    I had a loan from a loan company with balance of $1100. The last payment of $130 was deducted from my account August 2019. Each month I would call them and approve them to take this amount. I was not able to pay September and October payments and turned over all my loan accounts to a debt consolidation company. At the end of October the company that I owed the $1100 to hit my bank account for the full $1100. I only had $20 in my account which caused my account to be overdraft. I had not had any contact with the loan company since I advised them that I had turned over my loan to a debt consolidation company. Can they do this

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Nov, 2019

      I am not a lawyer so can't give you legal advise. I will share some comments with the understanding that it is not legal advice.

      A good first step is speaking with the bank. Ask for the bank manager. Say that you don't understand on what authority the withdrawal was attempted.

      Second, check the language in the loan agreement and look for what it says can happen if you are delinqeunt on the loan. It could be you agreement you signed gives the loan company permission to access your account if you are behind. 

      The lender should be able to explain to you why the amount they took from you is proper, when you already made a number of payments.

      After you get these three steps done, if you feel you were wronged, contact your state's Attorney General office and contact the consumer protection division.

  • H
    Hans,
    Nov, 2019

    I had a small motorcycle loan about a decade ago. When my house was foreclosed I told the lender that the bike was a lemon and they could take it from the garage. They never did and got a judgement against me. They renewed that judgement around the 7 year mark. I've been living overseas for many years now. How much longer can this go on???

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Nov, 2019

      Please don't consider this legal advice, as only an attorney can provide that for you. 

      My understanding is that a judgment in MS is good for 7 years, but can be renewed by the judgment-creditor if done prior to the judgment expriring.

      Your fact pattern raises the issue of "tolling." Your move abroad could have stopped the clock from running for the expiration of the judgment, as the judgment-creditor did not have a fair shot at collecting.

      One strategy to employ could be to approach them with an offer to settle the debt for less than you owe. If you go that way, get any agreement in writing, so it is clear that the payment you make clears out the debt entirely and closes the matter permanently.

  • K
    Katrina Davis,
    Nov, 2019

    I received a judgement from my divorce for payment of our former marital home. After 10years I finally got another court order for payment. My ex still gives me problems. Payments late or sent to wrong address. Its a real headache. How can I get payments through the court so I have no more conflict.

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Nov, 2019

      If the debt obligation on which your ex is reneging is one that his responsiblity was made clear in the divorce decree, you should speak with a lawyer. Here is some information I found at the website of Robertson Easterling  Divorce and Family Law's website, "...if the rules created by a judgment are not followed, a request for a citation for contempt is the remedy, and if found to be in willful contempt of court, the offender could go to jail. If a person fails to pay property settlement payments, child support, or alimony, they risk being held in contempt of court upon a proper post judgment filing."

      From what I read, it sounds like your ex is risking jail by not paying. Get a free legal consultation and find out what can be done based on the judgment paperwork you have, what your costs may be, and what you may be able to charge your ex for the costs.

      Please report back and let us know what happens!  Good luck.

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