Interviewer: When you’re working with a client, what will happen to the wages that are currently being garnished?
Andrew Campbell: When you say garnished, do you mean that they agreed to pay to the debt settlement company?
Interviewer: Either way: the ones that they agree or there’s a situation where it wasn’t agreed they’re being garnished, like maybe through their income tax returns or through their job that they’re getting paid. What happens during that time frame by the time you’re working with them? What’s going to happen?
Andrew Campbell: You’re right. The consumer usually calls me after they’ve been sued because they procrastinated or they haven’t deal with it immediately. If they’re getting garnished, that means they’ve already been sued, which means pretty much that we can’t fight over that debt.
We can’t defend the debt because once you get a judgment against somebody, unless it’s within a fairly short period of time or unless there’s some kind of fraud of going on, you can’t go in and fight on that debt anymore. You’re just going to have to deal with it.
If you’re being garnished, at least in Michigan, you can always file an installment payment request – a motion with the court – and you can ask the court to reduce the garnishment.
You have to show the court your budget and your expenses. You have to show the court that your expenses are reasonable and that that’s all you can pay, and what you’re paying under the garnishment order is a lot higher than that.
That’s with regard to the garnishment. If in fact a client calls me and says, “Yeah, I’m being garnished to owe and I’m really angry because I had an agreement with this debt settlement company and they settled three or four of my debts but this debt was number eight and they sued me and now creditors numbers six, seven, and nine are preparing to sue me. Can you help me?”
The first thing I’m going to do is figure out, “Okay, show me your contract for the debt settlement company and let me take a look at it.” It’s one of the very few laws in Michigan that allows punitive damages.