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?
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.
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.
|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|
|Certified check||3||K.S.A. 84-3-118|
|*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.|
Kansas statutes of limitations. Source: Bills.com
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.
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.
If you are struggling with debt, you are not alone. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Quarter Q4 2022 was $16.91 trillion. Student loan debt was $1.60 trillion and credit card debt was $0.99 trillion.
A significant percentage of people in the US are struggling with monthly payments and about 26% of households in the United States have debt in collections. According to data gathered by Urban.org from a sample of credit reports, the median debt in collections is $1,739. Credit card debt is prevalent and 3% have delinquent or derogatory card debt. The median debt in collections is $422.
Each state has its rate of delinquency and share of debts in collections. For example, in Kansas credit card delinquency rate was 3%, and the median credit card debt was $445.
Avoiding collections isn’t always possible. A sudden loss of employment, death in the family, or sickness can lead to financial hardship. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with debt including an aggressive payment plan, debt consolidation loan, or a negotiated settlement.
I just received a letter stating that I was going to be garnished but nothing else. After some research I found that it was from a check that had bounced in 2006. So same case #. I was garnished at an old job for this debt in 2011-2012. I received a letter from the plaintiff attorney that it was in full and was released in 2012. Another laser is sending me the same case# saying I owe $2500 for this. Of course I don’t know how to get the letter from the plaintiffs previous attorney and I have a new job with a new company now. Any help? Thank you. They plaintiffs attorney is also saying I made a payment to them in 2019 and 2020 which isn’t true.
Cindy, please do not take anything I share as legal advice, which only an attorney can give.
Who sent you the letter? If it came from the party trying to collect, it could be a scam. Parties being garnished usually find out from their payroll department, not directly from the judgment-creditor.
Given the time that has lapsed, it appears to me that the creditor would have to revive the judgment. I recommend contacting the Clerk's Office at the County Court where the judgment was issued and trying to determine if a revival was attempted. You can also see if there is any record of the debt being satisfied.
Please report back on what you find out. If you don't find a solution we can strategize further.
I have a debt in Kansas thats 16 years old and now they have garnish my check after I email asking if I can make payments and no response.
Tammy, I don't have enough information to understand your situation. What kind of debt is it? What was the language you used in your email? What prompted you to contact them? When did they sue you? When did your employer tell you that your pay would be garnished?
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?
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.