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Question: I received summons in July 2013 in a case seeking collection of a debt. It said I had 30 days to answer. I called the lawyer and agreed to make payments. I have done so regularly. Today I received a summons seeking to garnish my wages. If I have been making regular payments which they have accepted how can they garnish my wages?

Answer: This is a common problem. Calling up the agency and agreeing to payments does not by itself prevent entry of a judgment. If you want to avoid entry of a judgment you need to appear in court. Often, if a payment plan is agreed to the judge will either dismiss the case without prejudice, subject to reinstatement if you don’t pay, or continue it. Any agreement a person makes with a debt collector should specifically cover whether a judgment will be entered or not, and should be confirmed in writing.

You need to file a motion to vacate the judgment under section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure on the ground that you were deceived into allowing the entry of the judgment.

This sort of practice often violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Consult an attorney such as ourselves who practices in that area.

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