can debt collectors garnish my bank account if the debt is over 10 years

by deborah
(new york)

can debt collectors garnish my bank account if the debt is over 10 years

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Oct 26, 2010
can debt collectors garnish my bank account if the debt is over 10 years
by: Mary

Thanks for submitting your debt collection question on our Q&A page.

In the case of most types of debts, for a debt collector to garnish your wages, he must first have sued you for the money and won a judgment against you. At that point, the debt collector could enforce the judgement in a variety of ways including garnishing your wages, taking money from your bank account, and/or seizing assets you own. So, if the debt collector already has a judgment against you for the debt, he is in fact legally entitled to enforce it by going after the money in your bank account.

However, if there is no judgment against you for the debt, my information indicates that the statute of limitations on most debts in NYS is 6 years, which means that the debt collector would not be entitled to sue you for your 10 year old debt and therefore not entitled to take the funds in your bank account. A couple caveats however: First, State Legislatures periodically change the statute of limitations on debts, so it's possible that my information is outdated and the statute of limitations on your particular type of debt is longer than 6 years now. Second, there is NO statute of limitations on certain types of debts, like past due tax debt, unpaid federal student loans, past due child support. In other words, if you owe one of these debts, legal action can be pursued against you indefinitely or until you have paid what you owe.

If in fact the statute of limitations on your 10 year old debt is 6 years and the collector is threatening to go after the money in your account, he is violating the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and you may have grounds for legal action.

Therefore, I suggest that you confirm exactly what the statute of limitation is for your debt and find out if you have a case against the collector by contacting a consumer law attorney in your area with experience helping consumers resolve debt collection problems. Find out how to get FREE or low cost legal advice about debt collection from a consumer law attorney here.

Please share what happens with your situation in the comments section for this question. We are very interested in hearing how this turns out for you, and your experience can help others who are struggling with debt collectors.

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