Mississippi Collection Laws

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Bills.com TeamAug 8, 2014
Key Takeaways:
  • 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 Served Summons and Complaint 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 MCA § 85-3-1 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 MCA § 85-3-1 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/TypeYearsStatute
Credit card3*MCA 15-1-29 & MCA 15-1-31
Spoken contract3MCA 15-1-29
Written contract3 (non-UCC) or 6 (sale of goods under UCC)MCA 75-3-118, 75-2-725, and 15-1-49
Judgment7 ** (domestic) 3 (foreign)MCA 15-1-43 & MCA 15-1-45
Judgment Lien7 **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,

Mississippi statutes of limitations. Source: Bills.com

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 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.

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 Mississippi Legal Services or another Mississippi pro bono program to find no- or low-cost legal service.

29 Comments

RRenee, Mar, 2021

Does a creditor have to file suit in county where debtor lives in Mississippi

JJoshua Abreu-Rosa, Aug, 2021

Hello Renee.

Thank you for reaching out to us today. Please, do not take my answer to be legal advice as I am not an attorney. Only attorneys can offer legal advice. 

According to the FDCPA, the suit must take place in the proper jurisdiction and venue, or county and state court. This helps ensure that Defendants are physically and financially able to attend court hearings and that Plaintiffs cannot choose the state where the law most favors them. 

To get an even more accurate response I encourage you to speak with a Mississippi Lawyer to provide consultation.

Regards, Josh

DDeborah sauls, Feb, 2021

A collection agency filed a claim against me in a county I don't live in and have not lived in for 22 years also I am judgement proof according to legal aid lawyer because I am on ssdi which is my only income and I own limited exempt property can't afford lawyer what should I do

JJoshua Abreu-Rosa, Aug, 2021

Hello Deborah. 

Thank you for reaching out. Please, do not take my answer to be legal advice as I am not an attorney. Only attorneys can offer legal advice. 

I do not have a lot of details that are critical to support my response. I am assuming you live in Mississippi?

If a collector is reaching out to you confirm the statute of limitation. Generally, the SSI has protected income depending on the state. However, if the claim is valid, the collector could seek other ways to obtain the owed amount. 

Have you spoken to an attorney? If not, they may have precise answers to better inform you. 

Regards, Josh 

SStacey, Jan, 2021

My wife just called me and told me a woman delivered papers, (not in an enclosed envelope) to our home. It appears that it is an old credit card debt from Capitol One. The account was closed due to non payment in 2015, I think. The woman did not enter our home but showed extreme interest in a travel trailer parked in our driveway. She did not identify herself nor for whom she was delivering the paperwork. The debt looks to be about $3500.00. Should I be worried? Statue of limitations in MS is 3yrs. I previously attempted to make arrangements with the creditor (Cap1) unsuccessfully. Can they go after my wife's truck?

JJoshua Abreu-Rosa, Aug, 2021

Hello Stacey, 

Thank you for reaching out. Please, do not take my answer to be legal advice as I am not an attorney. Only attorneys can offer legal advice. 

The document you received was described as an old credit card debt from Captial One. If Capital One is preparing litigation, they are not subjected to the Statue of Limitations like a collector. They can pursue litigation however long as necessary. Some states are different. Speak to an attorney to receive accurate consultation.

However, if Capital One sold your debt and a third-party collector is pursuing litigation. You should respond quickly to the court to cease the collector's litigation. Do not assume they will catch that. Once you receive a judgment it's difficult to stop it. 

The court can grant a judgment and give the collector rights to garnish wages, levy bank accounts, and put a lien on the property. These are called remedies according to the article. 


Regards, Josh

MMike, Dec, 2020

My mother is 75, owns her home, and is likely to default, due to can't work anymore, on credit card debt, to one company, in the amount of (approx.), $18,000. (Discover). She is still paying $50.00 a month, although this is not the minimum. They are, apparently, accepting this amount. At least, for now. Can they attach a lien against her home, if they seek, and receive, a default judgment? Could this be avoided, if her home is deeded over to me? Is there a time restriction on this transfer?

BBetsalel Cohen, Dec, 2020

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

While it is possible that a credit card company might legally be able to place a lien on a home, that is not common practice. If you want to transfer the title, then speak to a local attorney.

If your mother has debt problems, has she looked at various debt consolidation solutions? 

DDanielle, Oct, 2020

If there is a judgment against you that was issued in 1991 (it doesn't show that it was renewed) and it pops up on a title search for a Real Estate application, am I (the creditor) required to pay it off or since it's expired it's null and void? Thank you

DDaniel Cohen, Oct, 2020

Danielle, you wrote that you are the creditor, but I think you meant that you are the debtor against whom a judgment was issued in 1991. I am not sure what kind of Real Estate application you wish to submit. If you are looking to refinance your current mortgage, sell the property, or change how the title is listed, you will have to show that the lien was satisfied or no longer enforceable. 

A good first step is to contact the Clerk's Office at the County Court in which the judgment was entered. If you don't get a clear path from the clerk, you should consult with an attorney.