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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 116737
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Can a collection agency freeze your checking/savings account

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Can a collection agency freeze your checking/savings account or get a judgement against you without you being notified of the options of paying the bill first? One of my bills went to a collection agency, and the lady handling the case says she was in a position to make a judgement on the bill, such as wage garnishment or freezing my bank accounts. I offered to pay the bill by the end of the month, but she did not want to accept that. I was always under the impression that in order to do something like this it had to go to the courts first with your knowledge...I was not aware that a collection agency could do this. I told her this, and that she could do what she had to do since she did not want to work with me on this matter. She then proceeded to work with me on a payment plan.....but I'm am just asking for future reference, does a collection agency have this right? Hopefully, the person living in my house will get a job in the next 2 or 3 months and this won't happen again, but if it does I want to know what to be prepared for.
Only once a judgment has been obtained from the court, the creditor can seize bank accounts without notice to the debtor. The bank receives the seizure notice and freezes the accounts and then notifies the account holder who has to go to the court to file an objection to the seizure to try to get the accounts released. The creditor needs to first file suit and serve you a copy of the summons and complaint and give you an opportunity to answer, so they cannot get a judgment without notice to you first (although many creditors lie about service and obtain default judgments and then you have to go to court and prove you were not served to get the judgment vacated). But they cannot just seize your accounts without a judgment from the court and if a collector tries to tell you they can you can tell them that threats of that nature are a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and if they continue to make them you will sue for violations and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Okay, so far you have been a big help....but are you saying that they can actually obtain a judgement to freeze one's accounts without that person's knowledge? That is really scary, how can they get this done if the person has no knowledge of this going on, and has not been served with any papers of the matter?
Yes, many of these credit collection agencies are unscrupulous and they will fake proof of service or claim they tried service and they did not have a valid address and could not locate you or some lame excuse just to get a default judgment and the first you learn of it is when your account is frozen or you are served a garnishment notice and then you have to go to court prove you were never served and get the judgment vacated.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

One more thing...okay, so the collection agency is unscrupulous and they fake things, but I always thought the local police or sheriff departments served the papers to a person to appear in court for an unpaid can the collection agency falsify this information, especially in a small town where the judge and all police know exactly where they can find whoever they are looking for?

Not necessarily. They do not have to use the police or sheriff for service, they can use their own process servers. But the fact they did not go to the sheriff for service when they claimed they could not locate you would be a part of your grounds for vacating the default.
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