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Asset Acceptance garnished every peny of my checking account


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I live in Missouri and was trying to read up on Missouri statutes were garnishments are involved. AA has garnished/levied every penny of my checking account.

I am a single mom with two kids to raise and can not afford this. I was not notified of the garnishment and was not provide a form for exemptions. What do I do.... I know they were awarded the judgment by default as I did not appear in court, but I thought some kind of notice would have to be sent to me before the garnishment would/could be enforced, plus I think there is a max % they can take at one time. I know there is some exempt income (IE, Social Security, Child Support, pensions) that can not be garnished and that my bank will not file the exemption on my behalf, I would have to do this, but again with out warning this was going to happen who could I claim any of these exemptions. Now that AA has my money they will not speak to me in regards to this issue. They do not care....

What steps do I need to-do now. I know getting an attorney involved is a good idea, but they took all my money and I can now not afford food let alone a lawyer. Would the state Attorney General take this case or is there a lawyer that would do this pro-bono. I am more upset that they did this so sneaky and from what I have read and understand 1/2 illegal. Please help if you can. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

This is the link to Missouri Statutes on this issue. http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/c525.htm

Thanks,

Mom in need!

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Many attorneys that deal with FDCPA cases do so without charging the client because they get to bill the collector for their fees when they win.

Although AA may have had a judgment, that does not nullify their responsibilities under the FDCPA law. The part I believe they violated was this:

Section 808(6) Taking or threatening to take any nonjudicial action to effect dispossession or disablement of property if --

© the property is exempt by law from such dispossession or disablement.

If any part of the funds they took was beyond the % allowable or included payments from child support, they are in trouble. Also,

Section 807(10) The use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer.

This would apply since they did not send you any exemption forms to fill out and they took action through the bank without following that part of the process, effectively deceiving the bank to your detriment.

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I was not notified of the garnishment and was not provide a form for exemptions.

They will NOT notify you in advance of a bank levy -- who in their right mind would EVER leave money in an account they know will be levied ?? Therefore, they do not notify you nor are they required to. You should have received some notifications regarding exemptions when you got the Summons and Complaint or if you were notified of the default judgment. What you must do NOW is to file an appeal to the levy with the court AND get your exemptions filed ASAP.

What do I do.... I know they were awarded the judgment by default as I did not appear in court,

Why didn't you ?? It is WELL known that ASSet sues on out of statute debts AND that if you fight them they will back down and go away. You LET them have their win and now they have collected.

but I thought some kind of notice would have to be sent to me before the garnishment would/could be enforced,

Only for a WAGE garnishment - NOT for a bank levy.

plus I think there is a max % they can take at one time

Nope, that ONLY applies in a wage garnishment - 25% of your disposable income, what's sitting in your bank accoung is not considered 'wages'.

Now that AA has my money they will not speak to me in regards to this issue. They do not care....

Of course not, did you expect them to ??? They've got your money, and if it was not enough to pay off the judgment, they WILL come back for more.

Would the state Attorney General take this case

No, that is not what the AG's office does. You owe a debt, you didn't pay it, you ignored the court date, and its clearly YOUR problem to deal with. The AG would only get involved if ASSet was doing something very wrong - they're not, they're exercising their legal right to collect a debt.

or is there a lawyer that would do this pro-bono.

Call the state bar association for a legal referral for pro-bono lawyers.

I am more upset that they did this so sneaky

Why is it 'sneaky' ?? They have a judgment against you, and you KNEW that, what did you expect ? That they were going to ask your PERMISSION to collect ?? That's not the way it works. They are NOT required to notify you of a bank levy, its NOT illegal and not 'sneaky'.

and from what I have read and understand 1/2 illegal.

What is 1/2 illegal ?? There is no limit to what they can take out of a bank account, they can take what's in the account to satisfy the debt.

I don't like ASSet and their slimey tactics any more than anyone else, but you DO have to take some personal responsibility for the situation. You HAD your chance to fight them or at least negotiate with them on your court date, instead you chose to blow it off. ASSet is scum, they are underhanded and nasty, but you can't hide and expect they'll just go away or play nice.

File an appeal with the court to and get a hearing date scheduled. Call the court clerk and ask you how you do that AND file your exemptions. If you can't do this alone, find a lawyer, but if you don't act fast , the money WILL be turned over to ASSet and it'll be gone forever.

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LadynRed,

I am only 27 years old raising two kids and holding down a full time job where I can not take of work to got to court. If I remember correctly, I sent a written letter (of course I didn't make a copy) to Asset requesting a continuance of the lawsuit and to work out some kind of payment plan. I did not hear back from them. I am not a dead beat and pay my bills every month. I do/did not have the knowledge, time or money to fight this collection agency tooth and nail then or now. I have only had one other collection account in my life and I pay 100.00 a month to get that taken care of.

I am not familiar with Asset nor their reputation. I am not disputing that I owe money and will pay what I can, but to send me a letter on 12/30/2005 stating this is another attempt to collect, then 9 days later take out every penny of my income is not right. I only owe them 315.00 they have taken out twice that amount. I can not see interest, lawyer fees, etc. Plus Missouri only allows 9% interest on written contract, which would have to be a written contract for them to collect on. (IE credit cards, phone bills or any legal agreement you enter into) I fail to see how the FDCPA laws do not apply to me. As Methuss quoted Section 808(6) Taking or threatening to take any nonjudicial action to effect dispossession or disablement of property if -- © the property is exempt by law from such dispossession or disablement. OR better yet Section 807(10) The use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer. I am not trying to get out of paying a debt, I just want to be able to eat....

How did they get my bank information. There are privacy laws that were not followed. If my bank account was public information why is it that some of the numbers are black out on correspondence.

Methuss, thank you so much for your helpful information I will be looking for an attorney to assist me.

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That part of the FDCPA does not apply to post-judgment levies, as I understand it.

However, you should have received some kind of notice prior to teh levy.

What you need to do is bring a motion in the court in which the judgment was entered so you can argue that some of the money is exempt, and to get an order stopping them from trying to attach your account again. It is called a protective order in NYS.

Look for a legal services agency in your area. Here are the MO agencies http://www.mobar.org/member/legalaid.htm. Lawyers that do probonon will work through the agencies. Lastly, check with women's groups to see if they can gove you a referral.

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Thank you all for your great advise. I have contact the Eastern Missouri legal aid department and hope to speak with them about my case.

Again, I want to state I am not trying to get out of paying this debt, but I can not afford to pay it all at once. Thanks again... I will still welcome any advice anyone is willing to give me...

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cleancreditsoon,

I agree with you that AAC are stinkers. They are a distressed debt buyer owned by a group of private investors for the purpose of buying uncollectable debt for pennies on the dollar and then suiung to collect after a while claiming the credit card agreement is still in effect and that they are in the right by continuing to add interest and penalties. That's where they are in the grey area of the law.

In your case, you mentioned that AAC was awarded a judgment against you. You also mentioned you wrote a letter requesting a continuance, but it appears the debt action was not halted and AAC was permitted to win by Default. AAC would not normally be able to do this if they had not first obtained court permission to do so, i.e. the judgment. Also, there is seldom any advance notice because people would drain their accounts. I know I certainly would and without hesitation! If there was no judgment prior to their action, then you may have FDCPA/FTC sanctionable offenses which it doesn't appear you have now because AAC has already sued and won. It would not hurt to speak to an attorney nonetheless because there may be other assertions that could be made in a countersuit should you choose to do that.

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LadynRed,

I am only 27 years old raising two kids and holding down a full time job where I can not take of work to got to court.

That's a poor excuse. Your excuse is you don't know how the litigation procedure works and that intimidated you out of fighting for your rights....

You answer the summons from the same chair you're sitting in now to type this question - you don't do it at court.

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I sent a written letter (of course I didn't make a copy) to Asset requesting a continuance of the lawsuit

And that was a mistake, if you want a continuance you ask THE COURT, not the lawyer suing you. ONLY a judge can grant a continuance. If you received the Summons, it contained instructions on what you should do - whether or not a written Answer was required and how long you had to file it with the court. NOT filing an Answer gets you an automatic LOSE.

I am not a dead beat and pay my bills every month

I never said you were, nor meant to imply such. You clearly have no clue how this game is played and your complete ignorance got you in this situation. That's not meant as a personal attack either. You are far from alone in this country, the greater majority of consumers are completely clueless about collections and the laws both Federal and their own states. NO ONE gets any education on this stuff until the crap hits the fan. Everyone has this 'victim' mentality yet they let scum like ASSet run roughshod over them because they're too afraid to go to court or find excuses why they can't get to court to defend themselves NOR do they educate themselves on HOW to handle it. While I DO understand your position as a young single mother, surely your employer allows you SOME time off to attend to personal business. The court appearance would have likely been less than 2 hours - if that.

I am not disputing that I owe money and will pay what I can, but to send me a letter on 12/30/2005 stating this is another attempt to collect, then 9 days later take out every penny of my income is not right.

Try to understand this.. there is no such thing as 'its just not right !" when it comes to consumers and collection agencies. They got a judgment against you - they gave you 1 more chance to pay voluntarily. When they got no response, they did what the law allows them to do - they levied your bank account and took what they're owed. Whether or not you feel that's "right" or 'fair", what they did is not illegal - and they don't care about 'fair'.

I only owe them 315.00 they have taken out twice that amount

No, you owe them the balance on the account when it was charged off PLUS however many months/years its been since then in INTEREST - and then the attorney's fees and court costs. The interest does NOT stop when the account gets charged-off by the creditor, it GETS WORSE and continues to accumulate.

The MO interest rate that you quote does NOT apply to a credit card if that's what this debt was. The interest rate they can charge is governed by the state WHERE THE ISSUING BANK is incorporated. That is why most big banks are HQ'd in Delaware or South Dakota, those states have NO USURY LAWS. However, there IS a statutory interest accruing on that judgment and that IS governed by MO law.

The sections of the FDCPA you quote are not relevent to your situation. What ASSet did is enforce a legal judgment, that action is NOT governed by the FDCPA, at least not for this sort of action.

How did they get my bank information. There are privacy laws that were not followed

Unfortunately, getting your bank info is pretty easy for them and there were no privacy laws broken. Ever write a CHECK to the original creditor for a payment ? Did it come from your current bank account ?? Guess what.. they already HAD your bank info. Even if that is not how they got it, they can call around to numerous banks in your area and ask if anyone with your name has an account there. They have your SSN and they have access to your credit reports with all the data there. Once they find the right bank, all they have to do is get the court order and serve it on the bank -- the bank must comply and freeze your account turning the money in it over to the Sheriff.

You DO need a lawyer if you want any hope of getting anywhere, but unless you can exempt all the money in the bank account it's unlikely you'll get any of it back.

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Most states have laws (to protect the banks) that say they freeze twice the amount demanded.

You don't need a bank account number to freeze an account. I routinely sent restraining notices on judgment debtors to every bank in town. The banks must apply it if its customer has an account.

If all you owe is 315, then pay the thing and take this as a learning exercise. I realize its a lot of money for you, but int the grand scheme of things, move on.

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Lessons learned for others in the same boat:

Answer your lawsuit. Sometimes it goes away by just answering. We answered one and they promptly dismiss the case. The page for a general denial is rather easy to type out and file. If you're busy and have children, schedule an hour to do research online and ask for help on forums like this.

2) If you have a default judgment against you close your account and deal with cash.

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The other thing is, and I don't want to sound harsh, and we all know hindsight is 20/20.

Sometimes you don't think you can afford to take time off to go to court - it's really that you CAN'T NOT afford to. Now look how much time and money it is costing you now that all this has happened.

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You are all right. I try to save my sick days or Vacation days for when my children are sick or out of school, but now I find myself in more trouble than it is all worth. Definitely lesson learned... I am hoping that the attorney can find some loop hole and get some of my money back, but I am not holding my breath. I have stopped my direct deposit and even though I can not close this checking account, I will be opening another account only this time it will be a joint account with an none related person. I would like to see them try and garnish a joint account when the second account holder has nothing to-do with the debt. I hope they can anyway....

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cleancreditsoon,

Do you really think it is worth the bother attempting to recover $315 or even double that amount? It could cost you at least $500 to get an attorney to even look at it. It's surprising AAC sued you for such a small sum of money when they don't go after people owing tens of thousands of dollars!

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I will be opening another account only this time it will be a joint account with an none related person. I would like to see them try and garnish a joint account when the second account holder has nothing to-do with the debt.

A common misconception - that a joint account can't be reached. The reality is, if the judgment debtor's name is on an account, the judgment creditor CAN levy that account and take ALL of the money in it, regardless of who's money it is. It is then up to the non-judgment debtor to PROVE what portion of the money in the account was THEIRS and MAYBE they'll get that part back.

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