Yes, pay day loans and credit cards generally need to establish a judgment, resulting from prosecuting a lawsuit, before they can freeze a bank account.
There are exceptions with other types of creditors, especially with the federal government, such as the IRS.
Creditors and their debt collectors often inform debtors about this type of remedy, which disclosure likely is permitted, since this is their usual remedy after winning a lawsuit.
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With few exceptions, creditors cannot levy a debtor's bank account or other property without first filing a lawsuit, serving the debtor with the suit, and obtaining a judgment and a writ of execution. As my out-of-state collegue noted, there are exceptions for certain debts, such as federal student loans and some taxes. However, credit cards providers and payday lenders must first obtain a judgment.
Note that you may have defenses to these debts, but you can lose them if you do not respond to a lawsuit filed by the creditor. For example, the four-year Pennsylvania Statue of Limitation on debt must be raised in response to the lawsuit. In addition, if the debt has been sold, the creditor may not be able to prove that it owns the debt. However, if you do not respond, the creditor will obtain a default judgment.
As to the payday loan, such high-interest loans are essentially illegal in Pennsylvania, which has a cap on interest rates. Therefore, the payday lenders typically find it difficult or impossible to enforce their predatory loans in a Pennsylvania court. You should speak to an attorney who handles debt matters to review your options, such as debtor defense, debt negotiation, and bankruptcy (if you have significant other debt).
To reach me call 215-248-0989. Harborstone Law Group serves Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, and Bucks Counties in Pennsylvania. Answers to any question on this forum are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship between Harborstone Law Group or its attorneys and you. This type of forum cannot substitute for a consultation with an attorney.Ask a similar question