Illinois Debt, Collections, and Garnishment
February 1, 2010 8:07 AM Subscribe
My friend, who lives in Illinois, just had (or is about to have) her wages garnished by a debt collector. What are her options?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints to Law & Government (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Here's the situation as best as I understand it:
She racked up about $2,400 in medical expenses, and this amount went to a collection agency. The collection agency hired a lawyer, who told her that they'll be garnishing her wages for the full amount, which would leave her seriously screwed on paying other bills, buying gas to get to work, etc. She asked them if she could set up a payment plan, and they agreed to her sending a $100 check to this law firm. Until last week she's been sending $200 checks to get this paid off as quickly as possible.
There's been a lot of stress in her family lately. She's been having to travel across three states to support her dad, who's currently undergoing a successful cancer treatment program. She called the lawyer and said that she's not going to be able to make the $100 payment for January, but that next month, after her paycheck is deposited (I believe she's paid once a month), she can send a $200 check.
The law firm said that she's not living up to her end of the bargain by not sending a $100 check in January (even though she sent a $200 check in December and $200 in November, etc). They told her that they'll now be garnishing her wages for the full remainder of the amount she has yet to pay. I believe she's paid about $1000 of the original $2400, so her next check will have $1400 deducted from it, which is going to set her up for financial instability (which might make her miss more payments, which might spur new collectors, who might....you get the picture).
She owes the money. She's not trying to escape that. What resources does she have available? Do you know if this law firm is acting within the law, and if you don't know, is there a (free, ethical) consumer debt service in Illinois she can turn to? Does she need to lawyer up right away? If so, what kind of lawyer would handle such a situation?