It's 6:29am on a Thursday morning and I'm finally getting around to doing a proper treatment of this case. The facts are pretty straightforward, but it's the holding (which irritatingly makes sense) that is the real kick in the marbles for consumer rights lawyers and advocates. So here we go.
The first option is both the easiest and the most difficult. If you have the money to simple pay the judgment, you can stop the garnishment almost immediately by paying the full balance owed. In reality, 99% of people who have judgments against them are not in a position to pay the judgment immediately. If you can't pay the judgment immediately (and let's be honest—most people can't pay a large judgment with spare cash), there may be other options.
You don't have to panic.
Student loans have become an iron anchor the size of the titanic around the ankles of many young (and middle-aged) people in the United States today. Many of these folks are being sued for private student loan debt. It’s a scary thought, being sued for tens of thousands of dollars for loans taken out when you were much younger and had no real way of knowing what the cost would actually be. I'm going to give those folks a little information about student loan lawsuits, the players, and how an attorney (like me) can help you.
The acronym "FDCPA" stands for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It's a federal law that governs how debt collectors deal with consumers. As a consumer lawyer, I sue debt collectors under the FDCPA. This post will give a little insight into how an FDCPA lawsuit happens. And for giggles, I'll write it in the narrative form.
If you have ever had the misfortune of dealing with a bad debt collector, you know that they can sometimes behave like they are untouchable. They go out of their way to make hard-working people who can’t pay their debts feel like dirt. They think they are untouchable because they rarely get challenged.
First of all, don't panic. You need to be thinking clearly because what you decide to do next will have a major impact on a number of things. The first thing you should do? Write down who served you, how you were served, and where it happened. If you were served personally, write down what the person looked like. If you found the papers on your porch, write down exactly where, how they were held together, and the address where they were left. If you found them in the mail, save the envelope.
Ah, Midland Funding. Any lawyer working with people to resolve debt issues has run across Midland Funding. I wish I could say nice things, but that's just not in the cards.
Midland Funding is a debt buyer that purchases mountains of debt from credit card companies at extremely low rates and tries to collect that debt from people who have never heard of or done business with Midland Funding.
If you're reading this, you have probably received a Summons and Complaint from someone you've never heard of called the "National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 20XX- X". I would bet almost any amount of money that you have never done business with anyone named the "National Collegiate Student Loan Trust".
But I would bet that you had a private student loan. What you're looking at is the result of "securitization" of that loan.
There were once two people who had a lot of credit card debt. Let's call them Jane and Ingrid. Both Jane and Ingrid went to college for four years and had a hard time finding a job after. They used credit cards to buy groceries and other things, not because they were spending all of their money on fun things, but because they had no other choice. After a few months, Jane and Ingrid each came down with a bad case of pneumonia and had to spend some time in the hospital. The bills piled up.
Your phone ringing every day from the same number. You usually don’t pick it up because you know that it’s a debt collector. Every once in awhile, you answer the phone to confirm your suspicions. One of three things happens: the voice on the other end is recorded, there is a long pause before your are connected to someone, or the person at the other end immediately starts in with their spiel. You might receive 5 to 10 calls per day. They call while you are getting ready for work, while you are driving to work, on your lunch break, and after you get home for the night. They are persistent, you have to give them that.