If Iam being sued for a defaulted credit card, what can happen?

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If Iam being sued for a defaulted credit card, what can happen?

I lost my job 3 years ago and had to default on my credit cards. I am employed again but being paid a much smaller salary. I am almost always in the red each month. My wife was served my papers while I was out of town for work. I cannot afford a lawyer. I read that most of the time they garnish wages or freeze bank accounts. What does seizing my bank account mean? I can barely feed my family now. The original balance was $6500 but now they want $13000 due to interest. Can they take my house? My car? Get me fired from work?

Asked on August 8, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1)  If you are sued and lose and do not pay, the credit card company can take several actions to recover the money.

2) Garnishing wages: the creditor gets a court order allowing them to take a certain percentage of your earnings. In most states, it's up to  25%, but South Carolina bars wage garnishment--it's not allowed.

3) Garnishing bank accounts: this might also be called levying on or executing on a bank account. The creditor gets an order allowing them to take the money in a bank account.

4) Executing on property: it is possible for a creditor to get an order directing the sheriff (or similar law enforcement official) to seize and sell some of your property for the creditor's benefit. Often, real estate is not seized or sold, but instead a lien is put on it.

5) Lien on property: a lien could be put on property (such as a house); the lien doesn't allow the creditor to foreclose, but you can't sell the house without paying the lien.

6) The creditor cannot get  you fired from work as a matter of law. However, remember that if you don't have an employment contract, you are an employee at will who could be fired at will. Theoretically, if your employer decides that having this handing over you makes you a risk somehow (e.g. your performances slips because of stress or distraction; he thinks you're trying to steal or embezzle to pay the debt), he could elect to fire you.

 


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