I received a distressing comment from a reader the other day on my post defining a Default Judgment. Amanda wrote,
I have a question there is a judgment against me for not paying a credit card bill. I was enrolled with a co. called REDACTED they were supposed to help me settle my debts but never did. they told me to ignore letters and phone calls so I did.
Now I have been served and finally they have put a default judgment on me. I received notice of this about 3 months ago and I have not done anything what is your advice. I am really afraid of being arrested or having my wages taken from me.
I have very little knowledge of credit card debt settlement companies. However, from the knowledge that I do have about them they are split into two very different camps. You have the good companies which are usually non-profit and don’t lie to you about “erasing” credit card debt that you legitimately owe. I have a buddy that works for one of these good companies, and he has told me that people don’t want to work with the good companies.
People want to work with the bad companies, the ones that tell you to ignore letters and phone calls because it makes you feel good to forget about the looming problems. These bad companies usually make you pay an up front fee and tell you to ignore letters.
Maybe I will spend the time to research the different types another time, for Amanda’s purposes we must move on!
Amanda’s second HORRIBLE mistake is that she ignored legal papers. NEVER DO THIS. EVER.
What to Do if There is Already a Default Judgment
A default judgment is just as good as a regular judgment, so depending where you live this means the judgment-creditor can take that judgment and garnish wages, freeze accounts, etc. So if you know of a default judgment you have to act quickly. Every day you delay is just another day the judgment-creditor (regardless of whether you believe they appropriately obtained the judgment) has to try and collect on that default judgment. The way I see it is you have two options.
You have two options. The first is simple, you get an attorney. An attorney versed in civil practice will should know how to vacate the judgment. The second option is head down to the Court where the judgment was obtained and beg a clerk for some help. Neither option will make you feel good but sometimes you have to be an adult.
In New York, to vacate a default judgment you must write a motion which proves two things:
- You had a good excuse why you didn’t show up to Court and
- You have a viable defense
A good excuse is something like you never got served with proper papers not I had a hair appointment. A viable defense is something along the lines of its not my debt, not you didn’t understand the credit card agreement. I don’t know every State’s procedure, so you will have to research your particular state and then head down to Court (option two) or hire a local attorney (option one).
Nothing written should be construed as legal advice, as we don’t have any sort of attorney client relationship, rather the post should serve as a starting point of what to do when you find out there is a judgment against you and the language needed to explain your situation to someone.