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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.

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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.

Receiving Calls from Debt Collectors?

Receiving collection calls is unpleasant, whether from the original creditor or from collection agency. Call 800-998-7497 to speak with a Money Coach and discuss what to say and not to say in a phone call with a debt collector, and also what kind of financial plan you need to avoid this happening again.

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.

Learn the Limits of a Wage Garnishment
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 law, but may be allowed for child support. See the Bills.com Wage Garnishment article to learn more.
Know Your Rights - Stop Unscrupulous Debt Collectors
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.

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

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  • L
    Linda Krauss,
    Aug, 2020

    What does it mean to be judgement proof in Missouri?

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Sep, 2020

      Linda, judgment proof is not a formal legal description, but is a way of describing an individual who, at the present time, has assets and income out of the reach of creditors who possess a judgment. Because in each state the income and assets that are exempt from collection, beyond the reach of a judgment creditor, what makes one "judgment proof" in one state is not the same as in another. To be clear, being "judgment proof" does not prevent a creditor from suing you or a court from granting a judgment against you.

      In the Show Me State, my understanding of the collection laws (and I am not a lawyer and not giving you legal advice) is that these are the current limits that protect you from creditor collections: 8,000 in home equity, $1,000 in vehicle equity,$1,250 in a bank account, and 75% of your income. Some sources of income are protected and income below a certain level is protected. If you had no assets that a creditor could reach, then you are currently judgment proof. That could change in a day, were you to inherit money win the lottery, strike oil on property you own and have rights to the oil, or find $30,000 in a bag on the street and get it after no one claims it.

  • R
    Ricky Scritchfi...,
    Nov, 2019

    Hello I have received a judgement against me in October 2019 for a credit card debt. In do not hold a checking account in my name. However I do have my disability check deposited electronically into my wife's bank account. The account is in her name only. I understand they can not garnish disabily. But can they still attach the bank account in my wife's name? She does work and that is where her paycheck is deposited electronically

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Nov, 2019

      I am not an attorney, so I can't give legal advice. I will share some thoughts, with the understanding that it is not legal advice.

      If your wife is not responsbile for the debt and your name is not on the account, I don't see how a judgment creditor could access that account. It is my opinion that her funds are safe.

  • T
    tonya,
    Oct, 2019

    first of all I would like to say a debt program sounded good I did that me and my husband with Morgan dextor program paid $295 a month four years which total out to be $14160 my debt was a little over 24,470 at the time we took this out nothing was paid Morgan dextor filed bankruptcy,So they got to keep are money and now the debts are put back on us and the sad think about this can't find a lawyer out there that will help,So going with a debt program I would not ever do that again trust they call me everyday like freedom debt looked them up and surer they are being sued ,I looked Morgan dextor they was soon but I was never notified about them being soon ,so again I would like to no where $14,160 went that I made that my debts was paid either ,sad that the government can't make these people give your money back just let's them file bankruptcy so they can change there name and do the same thing again under a new name makes me wonder if are government is in good with help place like this.so if some one can help me i would like to hear from someone please and thank you.because of this cant even get a loan to pay to fix my credit.

  • MG
    Mark,
    Oct, 2018

    I have recently started a Debt Management Program through a consumer credit counseling agency. However, I have one creditor with whom I had fallen less than two months behind with them before the Program was set in place. They have accepted the terms of the Program, and are therefore receiving full, monthly payments from the agency as per the agreement. However, they are also threatening legal action if I do not eliminate the past due amount. My question is two-fold: 1) Can they initiate legal action while I am making regular, full payments; and 2) Isn't any amount paid to the finance company get applied to the oldest past due amount, thereby keeping me in a continual state of 45 days past due, rather than be applied to the current month, thereby allowing the past due amount to continue to grow in age?

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Oct, 2018

      I recommend starting by contacting the Consumer Credit Counseling Service you engaged and sharing the correspondence from the creditor that threatens legal action. I believe that the matter is an instance of miscommunication and will get straightened out easily. My guess is that the department that sent the letter to you wasn't aware that the account is now part of a Debt Management Program. 

  • ,
    Jun, 2018

    I live in MO and I am being taken to court by a third party collection agency for a credit card debt that happened in 2011. I told the agency I couldn't pay anything. I have to go to court this week. I did some research and it stated that in MO a company couldn't collect on a debt older than 5 years, well we are on year number 7. I can't afford a lawyer and legal aid says I make too much money. I'm paying on 2 old credit card debts already plus other bills. Any advise?

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Jun, 2018

      I can't give legal advice, as only an attorney may properly do so. I will share a few thoughts with you, with the understanding that you don't consider it legal advice.

      The statute of limitations (SOL) on credit card debt in Missouri is five years. The clock starts running on the SOL at the date of default, giving the creditor or any collection agency that properly assumes the debt, five years to file suit. There are actions that can reset the clock, giving the creditor five years from that event, such as if you made a payment on the debt after the date of default.

      Acknowledging that the debt is yours, even if you say you can't pay can, in some states, reset the SOL clock or stop it from running. Most states, including Missouri, require a written acknowledgment, but in some states even a verbal acknowledgment can making an agreement to pay the debt. 

      There are also actions a debtor can take that stops the five-year clock from running. For example, if you defaulted on a debt and then went abroad, hoping to lay low until the SOL expired, the creditor could claim that your absence should make it so the SOL clock was on hold.

      With your stated inability to get professional legal advice, the best option remaining is to go to court and argue that the SOL on debt applies. If you don't show up and make that defense, no one else will. The judge is not going to, even if  SOL actually does apply.

      Lastly, in the unfortunate even that the SOL doesn't apply and a judgment is entered against you, familiarize yourself with the collection laws in Missouri. A judgment in Missouri can result in a wage garnishment of 25% of your income, after certain mandatory deductions are taken. Obviously, that big a hit can wreak havoc on your ability to pay your normal bills and to maintain the payments you are making to the other creditors. If a judgment is entered against you, speak with a bankruptcy attorney. You may make too much to qualify for a Chapter 7, but a Chapter 13 may result in a payment that is burdensome but less severe than the amount that can be garnished.

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