I attended a school for medical billing for a week. Never went back. I the bill in the mail but I couldn't afford to pay it. They sue me but I never signed any legal paperwork. Now they are garnishing my wages. Are they allowed to do that? Turns out they are a furniture company?!
They have a judgment. You need to find out if you were properly served. If you were, than yes, they can.
If you were "served" with a summons and did not respond to it, the creditor won the case by default. A court can issued a default judgment if the defendant was given notice of the lawsuit and failed to respond within 30 days. It may be too late now to go back and dispute that you owed a debt to that creditor. Various kinds of debts are enforceable without a signed contract. Some debts arise because the defendant opened an account online or by phone.
Once a creditor has a default judgment, it can collect the judgment by levying the judgment debtor's bank account, by garnishing the judgment debtor's wages, and various other ways. You may be able to file a "Claim of Exemption" to reduce the garnishment amount. You can do that without an attorney (ask the sheriff's office that's carrying out the wage garnishment for Claim of Exemption forms). You might also want to talk to a debt collection defense attorney about whether the creditor followed all the necessary steps in getting the judgment.
This answer is for general information purposes only and is not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is intended or formed by the posting of this answer. Law Office of Lisa J. Espada * San Francisco, CA *
It is not necessary for you to sign anything in order to be validly served with a Summons and Complaint. The person whose signature is required is the Process Server. If the process server is registered with the State of California and if he/she signs a Proof of Service stating that he/she handed the papers to you, or dropped them at your feet, or that he/she handed them to an adult living in your residence, the court will accept that. You will need to review the court file and inspect the Proof of Service. Can you prove that you were someplace lease on the date and time of the purported service? Or that you did not live at the location where you were served by substituted service?
Whether you signed any papers does not determine whether a lawsuit can or cannot be filed against you. If there is some sort of garnishment then there is probably a judgment against you. You can check your county courts records and find out if there is a judgment against you in your name. If it is for a student loan a bankruptcy may be able to temporarily stop the garnishment and allow you some breathing room to work out a plan payment with them. A bankruptcy will also wipe out other debts you may have, which may actually give you more savings at the end of the month to be able to afford necessary living expenses. I suggest consulting with a bankruptcy attorney.
Please note: I am a licensed attorney in California. This response is intended only as general commentary. This response is not legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship.
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