Question

can a collection agency garnish my check?

I have a outstanding medical bill. the hospital turned it over to a collection agency, they refuse to take the amount I can give them, they called it, "unacceptable". they are saying that they are going to garnish my check if i do not pay half. CAN THEY DO THIS?

4 years ago - 8 answers

Best Answer

Chosen by Asker

NO ONE can get a writ of garnishment of your wages without first taking you to court and suing you for the account.

The debt collector is trying to scare you into paying, you tell them what you can afford to pay each month, never agree to pay more than you can afford. If they agree, mail them a money order for the payment, if they should return your payments, then make sure and keep a file with all copies of the money orders, envelopes, and correspondence, in case you have to go to court.

If they refuse, save the money up in a separate account until you have a lump sum and offer them 25% of the debt to settle the account. If you get a settlement, get everything in writing before you mail them a money order.

4 years ago

Other Answers

Yes, but first they must get a court judgment against you. They will sue you and garnish your check.

by Common Sense - 4 years ago

not unless they take you to court and win a judgement. then if you do not pay judgement then they can ask court to garnish wages.

the short answer is they cannot garnish wages without a court's help.

Next time they call tell them you can no longer offer what you did before. Drop it by 20% and tell them you had other money issues come up. try to create a sense of urgency on their part that your offer cannot be good forever. Your original offer may sound good to them at that point.

by David Z - 4 years ago

That depends on what state you are in. Here in NC it is a non garnish state. Look up laws on this on google.

by Haley - 4 years ago

Honey, according to the Federal Fair Credit Act, they have to take as payment, what you are able to pay. And yes, if you don't pay something, they can go to court, get a judgment and then ask for garnishment, which can be up to 1/4 of your paycheck. Offer them a monthly payment, say this is all you can pay, and if they refuse again, tell them to put it in writing. I believe if you have offered payment and it has been refused, the debt may be cleared. All collection agencies specialize in scaring the crap out of people by telling them they will ruin your credit - true; garnish your paycheck - difficult but true; and generally make life miserable for you. You do have rights, fight back. Tell them they cannot call you at home except between the hours of ? and ? and under no circumstances can they contact you at work, or contact your work place.

I owed a local hospital over $300 for hospital bills not covered by my insurance. I live on Social Security which cannot be garnished. I told them how much I would pay them a month ($10) and they blew a gasket and told me that was unacceptable. I then told them I would pay them $5 a month until they shut up and left me alone. I proceeded to do just that for 3 months, and they came back to me and said, Okay, if $10 is all you can pay, just don't miss a payment. LOL

P.S., I also told them to collect from some of the Mexicans who have babies there free of charge. I know of one couple, illegal immigrants, who have had 3 children born in the U.S., at that hospital, and never paid a dime for any of the kids.

P.P.S. Make sure every contact you have with these people is in writing. Never tell them something over the phone.

by lucee - 4 years ago

With a court order, they sure can.

They are in no way obligated to accept anything less than what is owed. They can choose to, but the more they collect, the more they make.

by the kid - 4 years ago

If they obtain a judgement against you and you are in a state that allows garnishment (all except North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas) they can and most likely will garnish your paycheck. A good way to avoid being sued is to pay as much as you can each month, even if it is only a token amount.

While it is true that they cannot refuse a payment, it is not true that they have to accept whatever you offer as a suitable payment arrangement. I often have debtors that offer something ridiculous like $25 per month on a $5,000 bill. They will accept any payment you make and apply it to your outstanding balance, but that does not mean they will place your account on hold as being in a suitable payment arrangement- they will continue to actively collect on the account until it is PIF (paid in full.) If you do not wish to receive tons of phone calls, send them a cease communication letter stating that all collection activity must be done by mail (not a cease and desist letter, because they will probably just sue you immediately when they get one of those.)

Also, since this is a medical account, a SIF (settlement in full) is not nearly as likely as on a financial account. I am guessing that 25% is most certainly out of the question and you would probably have to come up with at least 75-80% of the bill in a lump sum in order to settle it. This of course depends on how old the bill is and if it has been sold or not.

Source(s)

by Al G - 4 years ago

They first must take you to court and get a judgment against you before they can garnish your wages. Its illegal and a violation of the federal trades commission act to threaten to sue you if they do not intend to do so. Next time they call you let them no you will be recording the conversation, I bet they will behave themselves. If you are in a one party state, you don't have to tell them, just wait until they threaten you, then mention it, I bet they will be quite because they will see their job flash before their eyes. Have you sent the collection agency a debt validation letter, if not I recommend you do, this will buy you some time. Make sure its certified and get a return receipt. Once they receive it they can't contact you until they prove that you owe the debt. Here is a sample letter you can send them.

www.debtconsolidationcare.com/lette...

by Russell - 4 years ago