Mississippi Collection Laws

Highlights

  • 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
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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.

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  • AB
    Jun, 2019
    Andrea

    I received a letter in the mail and I wrote back and agreed to pay $25 a monthly until it was paid out. That was in April. Today, I received a judgment against me for the bill. In the letter I stated I would make the payment and I attached the first payment. They have have been depositing the check each month. I want to know my legal ground.

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    • 35x35
      Jun, 2019
      Daniel

      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.

      A collection agent can cash your check and proceed to sue you, too. I don't think that the acceptance of the payment meant that they agreed to take less than they were saying you needed to pay (whether a monthly sum larger than $25 or a lump sum payment).

      I don't think you have grounds to challenge the judgment successfully on the basis of the collection agent accepting the payment, though I suppose it is possible that the language you wrote on the letter bound them to something. That would be something you would need to speak about with a lawyer.

      Were you served paperwork about the lawsuit? If they had your address to send correspondence and did not serve you proper notice, you could possibly get the judgment set aside on that basis, though they could refile and sue you again.

      Mississippi has tough collection laws, from a consumer's point of view. The state allows the maximum amount to be taken from your paycheck according to federal law (25% of your pay after allowing for certain deductions like state and federal taxes and social security) and no money in a bank account with your name is safe from a bank levy.

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