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I have a default judgement from a credit card that's 4 years old now, got a letter from the 3rd. party debt collector saying

Vineland, NJ |
Attorney answers 5

Best Answer

I don't believe they are indicating that they are going to come after actual purchases made on the credit card. In fact, I am fairly certain that they do not even have the necessary information to determine the aforementioned purchases. What I believe they are referencing is that they can have the Sheriff's office come to your residence and make determinations as to the liquidation values of your various personal assets. In advance, they may have sent you an information subpoena to get an idea as to property values. Once liquidated by the Sheriff's office, the proceeds would be disbursed to the 3rd party towards amounts due on the underlying debt. Should a bankruptcy petition be filed, this entire process would be stayed in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. To summarize, I don't believe that any creditor is trying to come after the t-shirt that was purchased, on the credit card, several years ago. However, I am confident that any and all collection efforts will continue until this issue is formally addressed.



I did fill out a information subpoena last year, stating that I have no assets, car, home, job or bank account and along with that letter they did send another letter that says they will levy on personal property. I don't have anything ,I've told them that!

Andrew Brian Finberg

Andrew Brian Finberg


Based on your representations, I would believe that you are virtually judgment proof. They cannot levy on accounts that don't exist and they are not going to utilize excessive time and expense to liquidate items that have no value. I would encourage you to refrain from believing everything that is said by a collection agency. Such companies frequently utilize collection methods that are questionable at best. They are attempting to collect on a debt and may say anything to scare an individual to make payment arrangements.



So what if anything should I do now ? Do I try to go to court to show that I am judgement proof or just leave it alone? Thank you for your time.

Andrew Brian Finberg

Andrew Brian Finberg


The fact that they can't really move on anything will not stop the creditors from attempting to collect on the underlying debt. It has been my experience that they will continue to call and utilize all collection methods. Accordingly, I would highly recommend that you seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Should a bankruptcy be filed, it would stop all collection efforts and allow you to obtain a fresh financial start. In the alternative, you may want to seek counsel from an attorney that could negotiate on the debt. The negative effects of this approach would be possible tax ramifications, paying out monies that you do not have and it will not stop other creditors from collection efforts on remaining debts. This creditor is not acting inappropriately in trying to obtain a judgment. However, should they obtain a judgment, it will have little or no effect as there are no assets to collect against. i would encourage you to address this concern directly as leaving it alone will simply result in this complication coming about again at a later date. I wish you the best of luck with whatever measure you so choose.


Do you owe the debt? What’s your ultimate goal? Are you interested in settling the debt? What collection agency has the account now?

I have built relationships with credit card companies and collection agencies and can often times come to a settlement agreement quicker and at a more favorable rate than a debtor acting on their own.

Information on Avvo should not be construed as legal advice, as each case is different. For information about your specific case, please contact a consumer law attorney, or contact me at


Hi there,

The statute of limitations for a civil court judgment in NJ is 20 years, so yes, they can take action to collect on that debt during that time. It sounds like the judgment was sold to another party, who can collect in this case. The reason for the debt is immaterial at this time, as the court has already issued a judgment. If you're unable to meet your financial obligations, bankruptcy may be an option.

If you would like to discuss your matter further over a free and confidential phone consult, please contact me at your convenience.


Michael J. Duffy
Duffy Law, LLC


Please note: The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on specific facts or circumstances. You should consult an experienced attorney concerning your particular factual situation and any specific legal questions you may have. No attorney-client relationship is created merely through the exchange of information via this web site. Michael J. Duffy will not undertake representation of a client without the client first signing a written retainer and representation agreement.


I agree with both previous answers. If the card was used at the place it was issued ( purchases at Sears with a Sears Card) they may be able to seek the items , however the burden is on them to show you used their card and that you still have the items.

You will need to consult with a consumer protection or bankruptcy lawyer locally at once for private and specific advice on your particular issues.

Many lawyers on this site offer a free consultation and you should find one near you, make an appointment for specific legal counseling, and take all your paperwork and perhaps a written chronological summary.

1. Start keeping a detailed log of all calls and letters and a paper file of all information. Because persistent violations of the FDPCA are punishable by statutory fines and attorney’s fees under federal law, but you need hard evidence.

2. Make a written demand that all further communications from creditors is in writing under 15 USC 1692 (c).
The letter should also contain a dispute of the validity of the charges and include a demand for a complete accounting with signatures, and all contents of their file.
The creditor then has 30 days to reply and they may not take any action until you have been sent the validation. Bear in mind that this may be motivation for the collector to work your account when the file comes to them from the original creditor with new information.

3. Do not give them any personal information because that is how collectors decide on which accounts to recommend suing. Remember they may not tell the truth and will say just about anything to get a payment from you and that payment reaffirms the debt, gives them information about you and your bank and ability to pay.

4. If you are going to make payments use money orders only and not personal checks, wire transfers, money grams, or “check by phone” because if the collector finds a bank account the collector will be more likely recommend a lawsuit to their legal department.

5. All collections are negotiable; the original creditor has given up and is losing up to 50% on the face value already either by splitting any return or selling at a huge discount. In addition, the costs of a lawsuit although discounted still are a factor in the decision to settle with you.

If you are going to settle mark the check “settled-in-full” at the very top back of the check and include a letter explaining you are offering a settlement, keep copies of everything.

6. Get written confirmation of any payment plan the agency will accept before making a payment.

7. Specify in writing that all payments will be applied to principle first.

If you are ready to throw in the towel, go see a local bankruptcy attorney and explore your options for federal protection. The protection will even look back 90 days from filing and get back money taken by the collectors and apply it fairly.

If your debt is with the government like the IRS or a State agency or for Child Support or taxes, the rules will be different and you will need a local lawyer at once.

DO NOT use a paid debt settlement service; most of them are scammers.

I have pasted a link to the FDPCA to help you with your state federal rights;

Washington collection agency complaint form:

Washington statute regulating collection agencies:

Consumer rights in Washington:

Look for a qualified consumer protection attorney for a low cost or free consultation here:

You should read the FDPCA from the links above and become informed about your rights; this will help you and your lawyer.

I hope this information and generic advice is helpful and If you found this helpful, please click the link for a good answer. Thanks.

Good Luck

Only If and until you and I sign an Agreement for Legal Services, I am not your attorney. These answers are provided for informational and/or novelty purposes


You may want to explore bankruptcy as an option to avoid paying this debt. Alternatively, you could try offering the creditor a lump sum discounted payment to settle the account.