Many of my bankruptcy clients were at some point sued by a credit card company. These lawsuits often go unanswered and result in large judgements. Judgements then turn into wage garnishments. Here are a few interesting facts about Credit Card Lawsuits in Sacramento.
1. You Don’t Need to be Personally Served
People tend to move around. Credit card companies know this. When they go to serve you with a collection lawsuit, they aren’t required to go to the ends of the earth to find you.
Generally, you must be personally served with a lawsuit. However, there are certain rules that allow a lawsuit to move forward despite non-service of the plaintiff. This is why “ducking” service is not always effective.
If you later discover that you were sued and never received a copy of the summons and complaint, there still might be time to unwind the judgement. This process is not easy and it can be expensive. Given the amount of the judgement against you, it may make sense to try to set aside the default. Definitely talk to a lawyer.
2. Judgements are Negotiable!
I like to say that everything in life is negotiable. This is even true of a judgement. Credit card companies and their collection agents will try to tell you that they will not negotiate on a judgement. This is absolutely not true.
If bankruptcy is not a good option for you, try to negotiate the judgement down. Creditors are receptive to offfers, especially if you can make a lump-sum offer to pay off the account.
If you do reach an agreement with a creditor, ensure that you get it in writing. Some unscrupulous collectors will bait you into paying less than full value, and then turn around and ask for more. If you need help making sure your offer is binding, contact an attorney.
2. Judgements Last Forever
A money judgement in California is good for ten years. Judgements also accrue interest at the statutory rate of 10% per year. At the end of ten years, a judgement creditor can apply to the court to renew the judgement. The renewed judgement will be good for ten years, and so on.
As you can see, judgements just don’t go away on their own. They can literally last forever as long as the creditor takes appropriate action. Don’t just ignore a judgement. Tackle the issue now before it gets worse down the road.
I help people in the Sacramento area resolve judgements and other debt issues. Bankruptcy may be an option for you. Please call my office at (916) 333-2222 to discuss bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options to resolve your judgements.