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Collection Agency Says They Have Judgment – But It’s Not on My Credit Report

September 18th, 2012 · 1 Comment · I'm being sued!

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: September 17, 2012)

Q. I received a letter in the mail from a collection agency stating they filed a judgement against me. I never recieved a summons to court. When I pulled my credit report the CA was not listed it and there wasn’t a judgement. They threatened to garnish my wages and place a lein/levy on my personal properties. I don’t want to ignore this. I don’t know what to do.

A. Are you sure the judgment was granted? Or are they just filing paperwork to take you to court to get a judgment? On your paperwork, there should be a case number, also called a docket number, as well as the name of the court where your case was filed. You will need this information to find out more about your case.

In many states, case information is available on line. To find out if your court records can be found online, you can google your court or you can call the courthouse to find this information. If your court records are not online, call the court clerk and ask them to fax you a copy of the case. Note: there may be a fee involved in getting a hard copy sent to you.

If there is no summary judgment noted on the case, your case has not yet been decided. The best thing you can do is to file an answer to the court case filing, which is called a complaint. We have extensive documentation on how to answer a complaint in our “I’ve Been Sued” article. Many debt lawsuits by collectors involve the use of robo-signing, in the same way that mortgage foreclosures were infamously improperly documented during one of the many bank scandals of recent years. Such lawsuits are highly beatable by the consumer, and in many cases can be handled without the use of professional help.

If there is a summary judgment, judgment was granted against you. If you were never served, it’s possible you will be able to file for an appeal, also known as filing a motion for vacation of the judgment. We have documentation on how to do this in our “Vacating a Judgment” article.

If there is no record of a court case, the collection agency is bluffing, and this is illegal. Per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they cannot threaten to take a legal action and not follow through. They also cannot misrepresent the status of the debt. It’s up to you whether or not you decide to take legal action against them in this case. If there is actually no case on file, this would be such a blatant violation of the FDCPA that you should have no trouble getting a consumer attorney to take the case for you. Save that letter!

If your case has not had a summary judgment granted, this could be one of the reasons the judgment is not appearing on your credit report. However, even if there was a judgment granted against you, it’s up to the court to supply records to the credit bureaus, and they may have not done this yet.

I would not wait to figure out what is going on with your case. Dealing with court requires prompt responses and you don’t want to let any more time pass.

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