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Category: Consumer Protection Law
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I have a credit card bill that I have not paid for almost 5

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I have a credit card bill that I have not paid for almost 5 years. The original balance was about $5,000. Now the credit card company has hired a local attorney to sue me. What should I do next? (I don't have the money to pay off the debt at this point.)

INFOLAWYER :

Hello,

INFOLAWYER :

You want to contact the lawyer and explain your financial situation

INFOLAWYER :

lawyer may ask for some proof

INFOLAWYER :

you may supply it to support it

INFOLAWYER :

then work out a settlement

INFOLAWYER :

most of these lawyers want to end the case quickly and worry about bankruptcy

INFOLAWYER :

so many will give you a cut in balance, and time to pay

INFOLAWYER :

often 1-2 years to pay it off, more if you show real hardship

INFOLAWYER :

You can also ask for proof of debt

INFOLAWYER :

if the lawyer and his client lack it, they cannot collect.

INFOLAWYER :

Is that clear and acceptable?

JACUSTOMER-d4i7n1my- :

yes, thanks.

INFOLAWYER :

Very welcome

INFOLAWYER :

Have a good night

INFOLAWYER :

Kindly click on an excellent rating for the answer.

JACUSTOMER-d4i7n1my- :

I don't see myself having the means to pay for it. I'm working only part time receiving minimum wage. I have 2 kids ages 5 and 6. I'm going to nursing school - 2 years left. So, I'm living below the poverty line.

JACUSTOMER-d4i7n1my- :

But of course I'm still afraid that they may garnish my wages (even though I make very little). Can they do that?

JACUSTOMER-d4i7n1my- :

Also, I heard that after 7 years, the debt will be "off my record" in my credit report. But will the creditor still be able to collect after that? I'm thinking by then, I (hopefully) will get a nursing job and will indeed be in a better position financially.

INFOLAWYER :

If no assets to pay the creditor may write it off as not collectable.

INFOLAWYER :

It cannot collect funds you do not have

INFOLAWYER :

The statute of limitations is 6 years, so after that time a claim may not be pursued in court anymore.

INFOLAWYER :

n Washington, 75 percent of the judgment debtor's income or 40 times the minimum wage (whichever is greater) is exempt from garnishment. That means the judgment creditor only can garnish 25 percent of the judgment debtor's wages at a maximum.

INFOLAWYER :

Bankruptcy is a further option that can discharge the debt.

INFOLAWYER :

I wish you the best.

INFOLAWYER :

Please let me know if the answer is now acceptable

JACUSTOMER-d4i7n1my- :

Thank you for your response. I was served last night with the court paper. It requires me to respond within 20 days. So, at this point, according to the answers I have from you, I am planning to:

JACUSTOMER-d4i7n1my- :

Write up a reply saying that I do want to pay but I don't have money. And explain that: (1) I work part-time and I'm a part-time student. I'm also caring for my two small children alone. (2) I'm currently receiving financial assistance from the state to buy groceries. (3) The only possession I have that is worth any money is my car - a 1997 Toyota Camry with over 200,000 miles on it. But without the car, I cannot work. (4) I have no savings accounts.

JACUSTOMER-d4i7n1my- :

My questions to you are:

JACUSTOMER-d4i7n1my- :

(1) Is my plan a reasonable "defense"? (2) Should I attach any proof of income (W2, bank statements, tax returns) to my reply to the court?

JACUSTOMER-d4i7n1my- :

(3) You said that in WA state, "75% of my income or 40 times the min. wage" is exempt from garnishment. Can you explain a little bit more? For example, on a monthly basis, does it mean 75% of my monthly gross income (without counting state assistance)? In WA, the min. wage is about $9. Does it mean $360 (40 x $9) each month is exempt?

JACUSTOMER-d4i7n1my- :

I look forward to your reply. Thanks.

INFOLAWYER :

1. In the answer you want to generally deny. In phone discussions you can discuss finances

INFOLAWYER :

2. that is 75% of gross income.

INFOLAWYER :

3. that is correct

INFOLAWYER :

given your income, the creditor is not likely to even attempt a wage levy

INFOLAWYER :

and is more likely to work with you

INFOLAWYER :

I wish you the best.

INFOLAWYER :

Is the answer now acceptable?

JACUSTOMER-d4i7n1my- :

Yes. Thank you.

Customer:

I cannot rate your answer - the computer says you have not finished with answering my questions.

INFOLAWYER :

Very welcome

INFOLAWYER :

Please try now, not sure why it didnt work

INFOLAWYER :

Have a great weekend

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