Default Judgments on the Rise. Get Help Today!
From the desk of lead San Francisco debt attorney Alison Cordova, McCarthy Law PLC:
The Huffington Post ran a great article about an issue we are seeing pop up all over the country – debt collectors sue a consumer, but never serve the consumer with the lawsuit paperwork. The debt collector ends up obtaining a default judgment against the consumer (because the consumer was never made aware of the suit). The collector sits on the judgment for a couple years or more. Then, after a couple years, the collector will start to garnish the consumer’s wages or levy their bank accounts. The major problem here: typically after a couple years, the court system will not let a consumer challenge a default judgment EVEN IF they were never served or made aware of the lawsuit. It is a Catch-22. At the point where they discover the judgment, it is too late to do anything about it.
According to the article, the number of debt collection cases filed each year has skyrocketed. On top of that, some studies indicate that less than 2 in 10 consumers show up in court. Unfortunately, it is impossible to track who was never served with the lawsuit in the first place, but I’m guessing that 80% of people are not voluntarily choosing to not defend themselves.
If you have been served with a lawsuit or a debt collector is trying to garnish your wages or file a debt lawsuit for a judgment you know nothing about, contact an attorney who can advise you of your rights and work with the collector and courts to come to a reasonable resolution.