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I am sued and my accounts are levied by Target National bank for credit card debt I was unable to pay

Santa Maria, CA |

I had a store credit card with Target in 2005, which they converted to Target Visa around 2007. I was paying my bill on time, but in 2009 I lost my job and then had to file disability. By July 2010, when I got off disability, I found out my debt was transferred to CIR Law Services. My total was now over $4000, most of it due to fees. When I tried to contact CIR, they could not work out a reasonable payment plan, asking for $500 and $1000 payments I could not afford. By now, the debt is over $5000. Yesterday, I checked my bank balance and found out that my accounts have been levied. The money I use to pay my rent, my child support payments and money for bills are gone.Is there any recourse against it, and if not, can they do it more than once? What should I expect? Thank you in advance.

One of the accounts levied is a joint one with my husband. When I tried to contact CIR again and Target National Bank, they kept sending me to each other; also, they said nothing could be changed/stopped because the sheriff has been involved - unless I pay the full amount of debt. I can't do that, obviously. Thank you again.

Attorney Answers 2


Your options to this default judgment are in my blog posting, below. The first step is either file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, which would discharge the lawsuit and probably refund all levied funds, or file with the levying officer a Judicial Council form for claim of exemption and the financial statement form. The forms are linked below and you can prepare them for free at the link, then press print and sign and take enough copies to the levying officer that enforced the levy.

If the funds were directly deposited from an exempt source, such as government assistance, then the bank should not have allowed any money to have been levied, if all of it was from that exempt source. However, now you need to file the exemption forms to get the funds returned, and it will be subject to the judge's review of your financial situation, unless you file bankruptcy.

Robert Stempler (please see DISCLAIMER below)
Twitter: @RStempler

NOTICE: The above statements are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended as legal advice or advice of any sort for a specific case or legal matter. If you do not have a signed attorney-client fee agreement with the Consumer Law Office of Robert Stempler, APC ("the Firm"), then until such written fee agreement is provided and signed by both a prospective client and attorney for a particular case, neither Mr. Stempler nor the Firm will represent you nor will they be your attorney in any matter and you remain responsible for retaining your own attorney and for compliance with any and all deadlines and for any statutes of limitations that may pertain to potential claims. Comments made on a public forum, such as, to not have any confidentiality because others may read them. If you desire a private consultation with Mr. Stempler that is confidential, please go to and submit a free eCase Review. The result portrayed for a client was dependent on the facts of that case. Results will differ if based on different facts. The Firm and Mr. Stempler are a debt relief agency. The Firm and Mr. Stempler help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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Unfortunately your inability to pay your bills isn't a legal defense to a breach of contract claim. They don't have to accept a payment plan that you can actually abide by, and they don't have to be reasonable, they're entitled to enforce the contract you agreed to, including tacking on their late fees and interest. From their perspective, they didn't hold a gun to your head and force you to spend their money and not pay it back.

But they can't just levy your bank account, and accounts you jointly hold with your spouse. To garnish your bank account, your creditor had to sue you and win their lawsuit, get a judgment, and now they're executing on it. If you never got notice of a lawsuit, then they may not have served you properly. Your best bet is to hire a litigator to see if you can "set aside" this judgment and stop the garnishment.


Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.

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Thank you for your answer. I wanted to clarify - is the levy a one-time thing, or is the creditor allowed to come back for "seconds, thirds" etc....? Is my bank account open to that garnishment/levy from now until the balance is paid off? Or is a levy a one-time thing? Thank you again...

Pamela Koslyn

Pamela Koslyn


The Writ that the creditor is executing on is good for 180 days in that county. And then they can get a new one in the same county. And they can keep doing that til they're paid off.

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