Avoid a Default Judgment
Fight a Collection Agency in Court
When sued for a debt, fight a collection agency in court to avoid a default judgment that can result in wage garnishment, bank account garnishment and credit damage.
Any individual with unpaid debts may be at risk of a lawsuit by a collection agency. Fortunately, consumers do not need an attorney to successfully defend themselves against a debt collector in court.
How a Default Judgment Works
A default judgment simply means that a plaintiff in a lawsuit wins by default. This occurs most often when the defendant does not appear in court. A defendant who appears in court and loses the case has a judgment levied against him, but not a default judgment.
In most debt lawsuit cases, the collection agency will file a formal lawsuit with the court in the debtor's county of residence. A summons is then delivered to the defendant. If the defendant does not reply to the summons within the given time frame, the judge accepts the word of the plaintiff as the truth and signs off on the judgment.
Even in cases where the debt in question is clearly outside of the state’s statute of limitations, unless the debtor replies to the summons or shows up in court to make this known to the judge, the out of statute debt will still result in a default judgment.
Reasons to Avoid a Default Judgment
A default judgment can severely injure a consumer’s financial future and should be avoided at all costs. Some of the consequences of a default judgment are:
•A judgment can cause a credit score to drop by 100 points or more, depending on how good the individual’s credit was before the ruling.
•A judgment is limited to a 7 year reporting period, but is renewable. This means it can linger on a credit report up to 20 years in some states.
•Wage garnishment is a common result of a judgment.
•A judgment may cause an individual to pay higher interest rates on loans and lines of credit for as long as it appears in the consumer’s credit file.
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