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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 33784
Experience:  Attorney with 15 years experience in various consumer protection areas
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I received a judgment letter in the mail stating I owe money

Customer Question

I received a judgment letter in the mail stating I owe money for an old credit card debt and if I don't pay in 15 days they will garnish my wages.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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I need to ask a few questions before I comment..
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Were you ever actually sued in court by the creditor with them getting a judgment against you?
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Do you recognize the debt and acknowledge it is yours?
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If you haven't been sued in court, when was the last time you made a payment on the debt?
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What is your legal question I can help with tonight?
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
they sued me and got a judgment against me. That's what this letter stated. I looked up the law firm that sued and called them and asked for information on the case. They wouldn't tell me much but said it originated from a credit card I had in 2008 which I did have but don't remember oweing anything on it
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, did they actually reference a case number ***** the letter?

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If so, did you call the court and confirm if it is real or not?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No they did not give me a case number. I had to pry any information I could out of them but they just told me who the debt buyer was, where the debt originated, and a few dates of when some letters were sent out. The letter I received today was from the court but they were not open when I called them
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Ok, if they actually did get a judgment against you for a debt, then there is a 21 year statute of limitations on judgments in Ohio. So if they actually sued you properly and got a judgment, then would still be valid.
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However, if you were never served with a summons and complaint telling you that you were being sued, then either they are lying about having a judgment or they violated your procedural due process rights by failing to properly serve you with any notice of the legal action and got a default.
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If they got a default judgment and you were never served, then you could file a motion to have the judgment vacated based on them never getting good service on you and having no knowledge about the judgment until now.
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The other possibility is that this is simply a scam by the letter writer trying to scare you into paying a debt that doesn't exist.
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So your first step should be to check with the court and verify if it is a legitimate judgment or not.
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If they are saying it is, then your options are to either try to settle the debt with the creditor to avoid the garnishment, or to contact an attorney to assist with filing the motion to vacate the judgment based on them violating your rights to be notified about any legal action and have an opportunity to defend.
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I moved in March to a different city. The law office said they sent me certified mail in February with information but it came back to them "never received". They said that was still good service because it was my fault I didn't pick it up at the post office. I'm not sure what it was but it wasn't a summons. They said they sent the summons on July 16th to my old address through regular mail. The court date was July 30th.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Ok, under the Ohio rules of service, the clerk can send a notice certified mail to your last known address and consider that good service.
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The first notice was likely a demand letter to pay. The second was likely another certified letter with the summons and complaint.
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Did you have a specific legal question that I can help with?
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you think I should pursue vacating the judgment considering those circumstances? Are there any other legal options since they got a default judgment?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Do you think I should pursue vacating the judgment considering those circumstances?""
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If they can prove that notice was sent certified mail, then it probably wouldn't be successful.
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"" Are there any other legal options since they got a default judgment?""
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If they got a judgment July 30, then you would have the right to file a appeal of the judgment against you for 30 days after that. But if the debt actually is yours and was unpaid, then an appeal wouldn't be successful if they proved that in court when they got the default judgment.
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This would continue to run up any attorney fees and other legal costs that would then get added into the judgment that they could collect on if the appeal was unsuccessful.
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So at this point, it would appear that trying to settle the debt with them might be your best option if you could come up with some lump sum to negotiate with. If you told them that you were considering filing bankruptcy, that can give you some leverage to negotiate because they know that they will get nothing if you actually did file.
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And if this is a debt collector, then they likely bought the debt for pennies on the dollar, so might be willing to settle it for much less than the face amount.
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thanks
Barrister
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will they still negotiate after they got a judgment? If I don't pay they will just garnish my wages right?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Sure, they will always negotiate unless it will just take a few months to collect the judgment by garnishing your wages. They can garnish up to 25% of your wages if you don't pay until the debt is paid off.
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So if that would take a couple years to pay off the debt, then they will likely negotiate to settle. If it will only take a few months, then they probably won't settle.
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And they could try to seize bank accounts if they can find any as well and apply any funds in them to the debt.
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thanks
Barrister

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