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John Griffin Watts
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John Watts’s Answers

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  • How do I prevent foreclosure of my property?

    I was 4 payments behind and I received a letter from AHFA stating my property is in foreclosure. Can I not reinstate my mortgage by making the past due payments? I am in Alabama. I am certain that I can make future payments on time but I don't wan...

    John’s Answer

    Has your house already been foreclosed? If so then your rights are much more limited.

    But if you have not yet been foreclosed, there are a number of options besides filing bankruptcy.

    Basic gist is you ask for "loss mitigation" and since you can make your payments (just not the back ones) then this will increase the chances of you qualifying for loss mitigation.

    We have a free workbook and video series for saving your home from foreclosure in Alabama in the link below.

    Best wishes

    John Watts

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  • Can u get a court judgment to pay a hospital bill off your credit and show it as a debt?

    Trying to get a home but the judgment shows on my credit, and stops loan agent from accepting me.I have been paying on time, just would like it to show as a debit instead of a judgment

    John’s Answer

    The only option would be to have the creditor -- the one that got the judgment -- go with you to the judge and ask that the judgment be vacated. They rarely do this and only after you pay the judgment off.

    So not likely to happen.

    But typically if you show proof of payments then this may take away some of the negative aspects of the judgment as far as your home loan goes.

    Best wishes

    John Watts

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  • What is the staue of limitaion on credit card debt in Alabama ?

    Had a creditor contact me for a credit card I had in 2010

    John’s Answer

    It depends -- we say it is 3 years. Collection lawyers say 6 years.

    There are a variety of issues to consider in how to respond.

    Is it the creditor or a collector who has contacted you?

    What does your credit report show?

    When did you last use the credit card?

    When did you last pay on the credit card?

    I have a discussion of the statute of limitations in the link below for Alabama -- hope that helps you.

    Best wishes

    John Watts

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  • Can i sue a collection agency

    Can i sue a collection agency if i have in a written agreement that if i pay a certain amount that my account will be considered and reported as paid in full but was reported as pain in settlement and they ignore any attempt to correct the issue.

    John’s Answer

    Yes -- assuming the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) applies then it forbids a collector from lying to you.

    What you described is a lie.

    Get with a Georgia lawyer -- Steve Koval in Atlanta is good -- document what has happened and see if you can sue the agency in Federal Court.

    Best wishes

    John Watts

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  • Can a bank foreclose if the mortgage is constantly running 30 days late?.

    I can't make August pmt till September. Then I will be able to make one full pmt each month going forward but will not be able to make up that missed pmt for awhile.

    John’s Answer

    Normally no. The recent changes to federal law RESPA normally require that the mortgage be about 120 days late to foreclose.

    Get with a foreclosure defense lawyer in your state to make sure you understand the federal and state laws that apply to you.

    Best wishes!

    John

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  • How to force the collection agency to correct the wrong reporting?

    I saw a medical debt record from my credit report. I have already paid it and provided a collection agency with a receipt but the collection agency ignored my request and did not reply. How shall I force the collection agency to correct the wrong ...

    John’s Answer

    You can also sue directly under the FDCPA or fair debt collection practices act. This law says it is illegal to do false credit reporting.

    I just filed almost the exact lawsuit in federal court this week.

    Sometimes it is better to dispute under the FCRA but other times suing now is best.

    Get with a consumer protection lawyer in your state to find out what is best for you.

    Sorry having to deal with this type of non sense.

    John

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  • Want a collection agency who calls for someone else to stop calling my nunber

    UPG Collections call my phone atleast 3-4 times a day for someone who doesn't live with me or I know. They won't stop. I have asked and asked.

    John’s Answer

    Get with a consumer protection lawyer in your state who sues debt collectors. A debt collector who keeps calling needs to be sued. That makes them stop more than a letter.

    Best wishes.

    John

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  • If I receive Ssi and Medicaid also 20 hours of home health care assistance can I spend down a settlement amount of money

    No details

    John’s Answer

    I'm not sure of what your exact question is -- tell me if this is what your situation is now....

    1. You received a settlement from a lawsuit
    2. But you are worried that the amount of the settlement (over $2,000) may kick you off of SSI and/or Medicaid?

    If that is what you are facing, then I suggest you get with an elder law or special needs attorney ASAP. There are usually options to still keep settlement money AND your SSI/Medicaid but normally you need to put the settlement money in a "special needs trust" sometimes called a "supplemental needs trust".

    Basically the government says, "OK, you can stay on your benefits, and you can use this money to SUPPLEMENT your current care, but when you die, if there is any money left over, we want to be paid back for the benefits we have given you."

    Very strict requirements on making this happen -- who sets up the trust, the timing of setting up the trust, who can be the trustee (the person who runs the trust), etc.

    Either find a lawyer or have your lawsuit lawyer recommend someone who knows what they are doing -- we see a lot of mistakes made and that can be costly to you.

    Best wishes!

    John Watts

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  • I am in the starting to to get my wages garnish for a car Iet go back 15 years ago What can I do to stop it

    In 1998 I bought a new car. Two years later I got layoff and had to let it go back In 2003 they got a judgement against me now 12 years years later they want to garnish my wages.

    John’s Answer

    If you were served with the lawsuit, then the judgment is valid. 12 years is a bunch of interest -- the judgment is around 4 times the judgment amount with the interest that has been accumulating.

    Here are the options someone in your position typically has:

    1. File bankruptcy (chapter 7) to wipe out the judgment.
    2. File bankruptcy (chapter 13) to pay the judgment off over 3-5 years.
    3. Get a lump sum of money (usually around 50%) to settle the judgment.
    4. Work out a smaller repayment plan than the 25% of your take home pay -- sometimes creditors will do this if you show them the hardship you are under and if they don't see a stable work history.

    I wish I had better options for you but once a valid judgment (that is you were served) is entered, your defenses against the lawsuit go away.

    Best wishes....

    John Watts

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  • Can a creditor garnish you for a car that you voluntarily turned over 11 years ago? How can I stop it?

    I received a letter stating that the creditor had filed a judgment against me back in 2007 in Birmingham, AL which I had no Idea about until this year when I received the letter. The car was turned in because it was a " lemon" and they did not wis...

    John’s Answer

    To garnish you, there must be a judgment. To have a judgment (even a default judgment), you must lose your case. To lose your case, you have to be served.

    That's the key -- were you properly served?

    If so, then you have to live with the judgment and either pay it off or file bankruptcy, etc.

    BUT.

    If you were NOT served, then you can get rid of the judgment. We have done this on judgments over 15 years old -- time doesn't matter, if you can show you were never served.

    When you are not served, that raises constitutional issues as there can be no judgment when no service.

    Get with a lawyer ASAP and find out your options...

    Best wishes

    John Watts
    Birmingham, Alabama

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