Can a collection agency garnish your wages without notice?
4 attorney answers
I agree with the prior answers, and will expand a little: if this is a garnishment for a federal student loan, they don't even have to sue you for a judgment before starting wage garnishment.
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Obtain a copy of the Writ of Execution from your payroll department. Do an online search on local court website for case information.
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I agree with Attorney Smoot. Notice that it is your "last known address"..they do NOT have to hunt you down. If bankruptcy is an option, you might want to explore that now also as that will stop a garnishment.
If there is a judgment against you, the collection agency can have a writ of garnishment issued and served on your employer without advance notice. However, they are required to serve you with a copy of the writ, a notice regarding your rights, and other documents by certified mail sent to your current or last-known address "on or before the date of service of the writ on the garnishee." RCW 6.27.130. So basically if they mail notice of the garnishment to you on the same day they serve the writ, they have given you proper notice even if you don't receive the notice in the mail for a few days. Or if you've moved and the mailed it to your last-known address, you may never receive it. (In that case, you should be aware that there are some deadlines for filing objections to the garnishment or claiming exemptions and review the garnishment statute or consult an attorney if you think the writ was wrongfully issued so you don't miss a deadline). But if they didn't mail the notice documents to you as required by the statute, or if the underlying judgment is invalid for some reason, you could object to the garnishment. You'd probably need an attorney to look into the matter to determine whether notice was properly provided or if you have any other defenses to the garnishment or underlying judgment.
This answer does not constitute legal advice or the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.