Debit Collection

by xochitl

Hi I live in California and I have a debit collector trying to collect on an old back acct. It's been 3 plus years old this debit. I had said would start making payments 10/16/09 but I have having second thoughts. I was told if I missed or did not make a payment that it would be sent to the Attorney for wage garnishment. So what should I do?

Please e-mail me at (email address deleted for security reasons).

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Sep 29, 2009
Collection on an old account
by: Mary Reed

Dear Xochitl:
I recommend that you consult with a consumer law attorney who has experience resolving matters related to debt collection right away and that you not have any additional conversations with the debt collector who contacted you.

Among other things, the attorney will want to know exactly when you first missed on a payment on the debt you owe because of something called the statute of limitations. That statute determines the number of years a debt collector is entitled to sue a consumer for a past due debt, something the debt collector in your situation would have to do in order to begin garnishing your wages.

In California the statue of limitations can range from 2-4 years depending on the nature of a debt. However, if the statute of limitations on a particular debt has expired and the consumer agrees that she owes it, as you did by telling the debt collector that you would begin paying on it debt in October, the statute of limitations associated with that debt will begin all over again which means that the debt collector will be entitled to ask the court for permission to garnish your wages. The attorney can also advise you about your options depending on whether or not the statue of limitations applies in your situation.

If you decide to consult with a consumer law attorney, I highly recommend Robert Brennan who is located in the Los Angeles area. He has years of experience helping consumers with their debt collection problems. His phone number is 818-249-5291 and his web site is

You should also consider purchasing a copy of the California edition of Debt Collection Answers, which Bob, Gerri Detweiler and I wrote together. The book clearly explains your rights and legal options under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and California's own debt collection law.

Good luck!

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