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Don2
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Hello All..I am new here... :) I would like to relate journaled accounts of a court-ordered garnishment I just experienced.

These details are in regards to a very recent incident involving Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank company and the account I held with them. This account was sold to Midland on or around the years 2000-2001.

Case in Point:

I certainly am 100% disabled...I can prove this with all letters, statements I have secured by the SSA and through my former employer..I have been formally retired on disability by my employer since November 1, 1999, and declared as "100% disabled" by the SSA since March 12, 1999. ALL monies that resided in my checking account with a bank, since the year 2000 have been disability funds, and my former employer's disability pensions.

I am not a married woman. I am single. I have no children. My bank account is a checking account, solely in my name, and my disability funds are not commingled along with any other funds.

On November 3, 2005, early in the afternoon, I went online to check my bank account amount...it was down to $.01 !!...a penny...On Wednesday, November 2, there was in excess of $700.00 in that account!

I scanned the Account Activity option and found these two transactions:

11/03/2005 CASHED CHECK-BRANCH Check XXXXXX $50.00 [later revealed as bank processing fee]

11/03/2005 CASHED CHECK-BRANCH Check XXXXXX $397.67 [actual garnished amount]

I couldn't for the life of me figure out where they came from..My first thought was someone had stolen, or forged something, somehow...I called the bank in a frantic state, and was explained that those two transactions were in fact, garnishments....My ENTIRE bank account credits [deposits] are due to disability pensions/awards...

In my particular state, [Ohio] and most others, disability monies in accounts are EXEMPT from judgements such as credit card companies/collection agencies...The customer service representative from my bank offered the law firm's phone number who had this judgement and I called them. It was in fact a law firm [CCS Group, LLC] representing Midland company [in interest to Direct Merchants Bank] that "ordered" this garnishment. Evidently, the creditors had taken a court judgement out on me and won..[this supposedly took place in April of this year]..I honestly don't remember being informed about a court hearing this past April, or a judgement taken against me...I have found NO copy of this order that took place in my home.

The man I spoke to representing this law firm for the collection agency was very snippy while I explained that he had in fact seized disability funds..he said "prove it"..."prove you're disabled"..."go to court, re-open this case up, and explain to the court that all the money you have is due to a disability"..."I know a LOT of disabled people who pay their bills, so don't hand me that crap."

On November 3rd after discovering the garnishment:

I got busy very quickly, and cancelled ALL EFT transfers and requested snail mail bills from anyone who gets a monthly payment via this bank account..I called the Social Security Administration and next month's check will be arriving via snail mail..I printed out a form for cancelling my Employer's disability pension from direct deposit to this bank. This disability pension will also be arriving via snail mail.

That very same afternoon, I called the Muni courts and inquired about this judgement..I explained I honestly had NO knowledge of this happening. On November, 10th, 2005, I received a copy of this court ordered judgement via regular mail..

On November 14th, I went to the courts to re-open this case..My hearing is set for November 29th, before the Magistrate at 2:00 p.m. ...

I have all statements from the SSA, my former employer, from the bank, SSA stubs, pension stubs providing as much proof as I possibly can that these are in fact disability funds solely residing in this bank account...

November 29th, 2005:

The hearing took place at precisely 2:00 p.m., lasted all of 10 minutes, where the order of garnishment against my bank account was reversed..I can expect full reimbursement of the funds within a 2-2 1/2 week time frame...

Although this is merely a reflection on my part, [as the old cliche' goes: "would-a, could-a, should-a" ], my hindsight is 20-20 vision now relating to this entire incident of mine....

How I wish I had addressed the original creditor with this bill along with an attorney's guidance, as they were definitely wrong by reneging on their agreement by disallowing the disability insurance benefit activation I had on the account balance [they denied it, according to them, due to my doctor's statement not containing the letterhead on his letter, plus my name and length of disability weren't included in his report]..I had not seen the submitted report, therefore cannot counter the claims they made...Oddly enough, this very same doctor's reports and accounts were more than adequate towards the SSA's disability approval and my former employer's disability pension...this insurance option was not provided by an outside source, but through a subsidiary of the credit card bank company...once the "wall" of communications broke down, it seemed futile to continue communications via telephone...

I filed this along with any "non-essential" debts at the time of my hardships...

Little did I realize this matter would resurrect itself 5+ years later through another collection agency.

As an afterthought:

The Magistrate presiding over this case was an exceptional man. This man was handicapped. He uses two cane/walker apparatuses to move around. If anyone has a full scope of disabilities, and their profound effects on people, I suspect it was this gentleman..

Of course, I am not implying a disabled individual in a plaintiff/defendant scenario would prejudice his judgements, but, in my view, there was definitely an edge of perception and sensitivity in the manner he conducted each case he had presided over...

[i had arrived at the courthouse at least 45 minutes earlier than I needed to, silently observing the cases prior to mine]

My garnishment matter now concerns the bank I have my checking account with.

I do understand totally that my bank was "in the middle" regarding the court-ordered garnishment.

I have not contacted them in lieu of the reversal of judgement to inform them I've won. I have found, as in the past dealing with customer service representatives, or managers regarding money issues, the bottom line is paying the balance, regardless of the excuses given.

Because of the amounts taken out of this account to satisfy the garnishment, there was no way I could have afforded to bring the balance to a positive status with this month's check without current bills going unpaid.

The post-garnishment fees this account has incurred is growing on a daily basis. I am not certain, but I think after a 30 day period, the account will be closed. [as of 11-30 it is -$443.19 ]

One thing I didn't think to ask the courts about is whether or not the reimbursed monies would be directed back to the bank, or sent to my physical address in form of a check. <sigh>

This entire matter has worn me to a frazzle. I need to remember that the bank's stance is 100% business, whereas mine is 100% personal.

There has to be an amiable mid-way mark we both can reach.

I have no intentions of keeping this bank account active once the reimbursed funds are back in my hands..[or the bank's, for that matter]...

I suspect I am "asking" for trouble by keeping a "garnish tarnished" account alive for all my future banking needs.

I must personally go to the branch this account was opened at to close it.

If, and when I do decide upon which bank I open an account with, I am not going back to doing business as I had. In other words, all monies I receive monthly will not be direct-deposited, residing in a checking account, vulnerable, and subject to garnishment...

Just as this law firm discovered one account, they can, [and most likely will] another..then the nightmare begins all over again for me..

If I must contend with playing "cat and mouse", I'll do it in a way that will keep these collectors busy enough in the following years...

I may have to work a little harder to assure my bills are paid in a timely manner, but this collection agency along with their law firm in tow will have to be a little more relentless in their search as to where any of my funds are sitting to pluck upon again...

IF they do discover any monies..the amounts will be meager enough that would not place me in the same type of hardship that this garnishment had...

And I will make damned sure I win it back...

Thank you for allowing me to vent...

Best Regards;

Don2

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:) Thank you for your welcome, BanditMan...I am glad I discovered this site yesterday..This discussion board seems to have a wealth of helpful advice that is invaluable to anyone who has ever experienced hardships in financial matters, and in need of some guidance...

Best Regards;

Don2

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Guest sifxpert

Don, I just sent you a PM and I suggest you contact me. I see a number of violations here although, I did not read the entire post I simply scanned over because I know this story all too well and it makes me furious!!!

I have an attorney who would sue this agency at no cost to you. Collection agencies purposely do not serve consumers especially on JDB accounts so that you get a judgment and they can sneak into your bank account and take everything without you ever knowing what hit you.

My attorney sues on these types of cases all the time. I am in Cali so if my attorney could not represent you from here I have a friend in columbus who is an attorney who I will ask to take your case on a contingency basis since this is a slam dunk case and these idiots need to get hit with a complaint.

Please contact me to discuss this further.

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I have responded to your PM... :) ...

Thank you for your help and concern, Sifxpert...I have a strong hunch this collection agency will attempt other actions..the court order to reverse the garnished amount did not "null and void" the judgement...

If I ever attempt to open an account with another bank, it will be viewed as simply "money in the bank", not as disability funds that remain exempt from garnishments...

As to whether or not this CA and its sidekick law firm will deem it practical to file additional court orders to mess with any monies of mine they discover in a financial institution is anyone's guess...the burden to prove the monies are exempt will always be upon me...

Oddly enough, my attempts to secure an attorney here in my own city was unproductive..3 law firms turned it down for various reasons, and one out-of-state firm turned it down for lack of interest...

Best Regards;

Don2

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Don2, my father is also disabled on SSD and was garnished not to long ago. Upon being told that he was disabled, and providing proof thereof, the garnishment stopped and the money taken from my fathers bank account was returned. My father was served a summons which he responded to but was never notified of a court date. They obtained a summory judgement against my father and proceeded to garnish his bank account. He too nearly had a heart attack when the over drafts started coming in. A quick call to the bank unearthed the cause and thankfully all of the over draft fees were reversed. The judgement still stands, our attempts to have it vacated have all failed. The court is simply not interested in helping disabled people obtain justice. The judgement in my fathers case is earning 26% interest per year. In ten years it will be over 100k. They have a lean against his house, the only thing he really owns aside from a car.

I would notify the bank that you are disabled and that all of your income is disability income.

He too found it very difficult to find a lawyer. Most are too busy looking for a fast cut of someones accident settelement and don't want to get bogged down helping those who are unable to pay large retainers and fees up front.

Its hard to keep a postive attitude when CA's are calling every other day. I had to help my father to CD and DV the CA's and for the most part, at least those slightly north of stupid, have done as we asked.

Good luck to you.

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Don2, my father is also disabled on SSD and was garnished not to long ago. Upon being told that he was disabled, and providing proof thereof, the garnishment stopped and the money taken from my fathers bank account was returned. My father was served a summons which he responded to but was never notified of a court date. They obtained a summory judgement against my father and proceeded to garnish his bank account. He too nearly had a heart attack when the over drafts started coming in. A quick call to the bank unearthed the cause and thankfully all of the over draft fees were reversed. The judgement still stands, our attempts to have it vacated have all failed. The court is simply not interested in helping disabled people obtain justice. The judgement in my fathers case is earning 26% interest per year. In ten years it will be over 100k. They have a lean against his house, the only thing he really owns aside from a car.

**Dear Sarris...I am so sorry to hear of your father's plight..I certainly can relate to it...he's lucky to have you as a support prop of love and guidance.. :) ...I am not sure that my particular case can be vindicated from a collection agency's judgement by vacating it, but it's worth a try...I will keep the board here updated on my case as necessary...I reside in the state of Ohio, if there's any difference in that fact...by the way, I own no "real property" [real estate]...

I seldom interact with society..I am, for the most part, a recluse..but I have to agree in some respects how disabled individuals are viewed upon and treated in society, as a whole...more often than not, quality of medical attention we receive from care providers suffer...I must wonder if the disability factor weighed any merit with the local law firms in denying my requests for help...I am presently seeking out a doctor who doesn't view me as a "cash cow" for medicare, and my former employer's insurance benefits...**

I would notify the bank that you are disabled and that all of your income is disability income.

**I have called the bank relating this fact, Sarris...once disability funds reside in any financial institution, it is just money..there is no "red flag" of sorts determining otherwise..I would venture that even a Supreme Court would have extreme difficulty in rendering a decision that would:

(A. Address funds residing in a bank that are solely due to disabilities by ordering financial instituions to extend restrictions from judgements such as your father and I experienced.

(B. I am sure I am leaving out vital and pertinent factors, but just to touch a base, imagine the extra work, paperwork, and man hours of labor that banks across the nation would have to go through to address each and every account that was SSA/pension-disability related...

How would banks offset these extra costs?..I can see bank fee rates rising considerably across the board in every customer's account in lieu of that..**

He too found it very difficult to find a lawyer. Most are too busy looking for a fast cut of someones accident settelement and don't want to get bogged down helping those who are unable to pay large retainers and fees up front.

Its hard to keep a postive attitude when CA's are calling every other day. I had to help my father to CD and DV the CA's and for the most part, at least those slightly north of stupid, have done as we asked.

**It certainly is difficult to keep a positive outlook, Sarris...it's especially frightening when going about all this solo..

Although I am not comparing what happened to your father or me to an outright act of burglary, held at gunpoint, but the effects of having been "robbed" of all you have for your well being and livelihood was just as profound in the end...the damages this act did was only excused because the individuals doing it hid behind a corporate veil of legality..

I am glad that you were able to get some of vultures out of the circle on your dad's behalf...**

Best of luck to you, and your father as well, Sarris.. :)

Best Regards;

Don2

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