Legal Terms Debt Collection
Here are some legal terms simplified as they relate to debt collection. These terms are purposely oversimplified for general use and understanding.
A Line of Crap:The idea that a Cabinet full of billionaires and bankers will act in the best interest of consumers and their families.
Conditional Confession of Judgment: A term I made up. See judgment. We use conditional confessions of judgments in a win/win settlement, where a consumer enters into a payment plan, usually on a reduced amount, but signs a confession of judgment for the full amount. The collector dismisses the lawsuit without prejudice. The confession of judgment is not filed unless the consumer fails to make payment. In this settlement, the consumer avoids a credit ruining judgment if she pays, the creditor gets paid or gets a judgment without having to litigate. My clients have a very high rate of completing such payment plans. We may be able to negotiate such a settlement for you. In most cases where we are not defending a lawsuit and just settling, no fee is charged unless and until we get an acceptable settlement. Call or E-mail us.
Default: You got sued, served and did nothing. The judge ruled for your creditor without you even putting up a fight. You now have a judgment against you. With few exceptions, you should never default on a collection lawsuit. Bankruptcy or a judgment proof person might be exceptions.
Dismissal With Prejudice: The case is over. It cannot be refiled. If you were sued on a debt, you are out of it.
Dismissal Without Prejudice: The Court case is dismissed, but the creditor could re-file against you. Is used in some settlements. See Conditional Confession of Judgment.
Garnishment: A legal procedure used to take money from a bank account or to take your wages. Definitely not good. Garnishment can result in frozen accounts, checks bouncing with more charges, bills not being paid or a pay check way short of the funds you need to live on. If you are sued, for the love of God call us and avoid this. If you are garnished, we might be able to help, but at that point the collector knows where you work, how much you make and whether you are collectable. There can be defenses to bank garnishments.
Judgment: A court ruling giving a creditor the legal right to a certain amount of your money. A judgment can remain on your credit report for seven years. In Iowa, it can be enforced for 20 years. A judgment can lead to wage or bank garnishments. Many credit card judgments, however, are NOT liens on your homestead even though banks, creditors and title companies would like you to believe that. Call or e-mail us for a free consultation if a lender tells you a credit card or similar judgment has to be paid to sell your home.
Judgment proof: You are broke and have no income or exempt assets or income. Very good actually if you get sued–not so good for paying bills. If you are judgment proof and getting harassed by collectors, give us a call. We can generally get the calls stopped.
Lawsuit abuse: The extremely rare frivolous lawsuit filed by a consumer against a business. The term apparently does not include the thousands of unwarranted lawsuits filed by businesses against consumers. So far, the term does not include the steady stream of lawsuits threatened or filed by President Trump. We don’t have time to file frivolous lawsuits while turning down hundreds of meritorious lawsuits.
Pro se: A person representing himself. In district court debt collection cases, generally not a good idea. A lot better than doing nothing though. Actually, not always.
3:1: The ratio of Financial Industry lobbyists to members of Congress.
0:535: The ratio of your lobbyists to members of Congress
How can they do this to me? There out to be a law against that: See above. Then call us.