Saturday, December 22, 2007

Threatened with arrest, wage garnishments, or lawsuits?

Brian T. Shaw, Esquire
Admitted in PA & NJ

Learn your rights! Know your rights! Enforce your rights!

Has a debt collector threatened you with arrest, wage garnishment, or a lawsuit? In the United States it is unlawful for a debt collector, while collecting a consumer debt, to threaten to take any action which it does not intend to take or cannot legally take.

For example, you generally cannot be arrested, prosecuted, or imprisoned simply because you are refusing to pay or are unable to pay a consumer debt that a debt collector thinks you owe. Any statement from a debt collector that you are facing or will face arrest, criminal charges, or jail is illegal. Unfortunately, this is a tactic sometimes used by the worst debt collectors.

Similarly, depending on your state and the type of debt, a debt collector or creditor may not have the legal ability to ever garnish your wages although they often falsely threaten to do just that. For instance, in Pennsylvania, wage garnishment is generally only available for child support, some student loans, and some lease agreements. It is not an option for other types of debt including car loans, mortgages, credit cards, personal loans, and most other consumer debts. Other states differ. If you are threatened with wage garnishment, you should determine the law of your state or consult your local consumer rights attorney.

Also keep in mind that it is far too common for debt collectors to pretend that they are calling from a law firm or are affiliated with an attorney. Lawsuits and legal action are often threatened even though the debt collector doesn't intend to sue. If you receive a letter or phone call from an attorney; you should consult an attorney of your own. If the debt being collected is small the chances are that nobody really wants to take the time, trouble, and expense to sue you but they want you to believe that they will so that you open your wallet. Watch out for fake attorneys or attorneys that are not licensed and thus unable to file suit against you in your state.

If you are a resident of Pennsylvania or New Jersey and any of your rights were violated or if you want to find out if your rights were violated, visit for a free, no obligation case evaluation by one of our experienced consumer rights attorneys. For the overwhelming majority of consumers, there is no out-of-pocket attorney’s fees or costs to them. You may be very surprised to find out what a consumer rights attorney can do for you.
If you are a resident of a state other than Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you should visit to find your local consumer rights attorney.

The information in this blog is not intended as legal advice. You must consult with a licensed attorney in your state to obtain legal advice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The link for New Jersey does not work, is there an alternative link?