I’ve been getting a lot of calls from people who have just gotten a wage garnishment on a repo’d car that they had completely forgotten about. In most cases, these repos were 20 years ago or MORE! Excuse Me!?! How Does that happen?
The first time I got the call, I was as shocked as the person calling me. Twenty years is a seriously long time, and the worst part of it is that interest (at the contract rate and these don’t tend to be low interest loans) continued to accrue for that entire time.
So, how does that happen? Well, a judgment can be kept alive indefinitely if the creditor is willing to spend the time and money to do it. They have to either have a garnishment issue to a bank or an employer even if they don’t find anything, just issuing it is enough, at least every five years. So, it doesn’t have to go to your bank or your employer. It just has to go to some bank or some employer. The other alternative is to file a Notice of continuation, basically a statement that the creditor still intends to try to collect this judgment, and it needs to remain viable. That is pretty much it. Do that at least every five years for twenty years and then get lucky when you issue that renewing garnishment and it lands at the right bank or the right employer, and all of a sudden my phone is ringing.
Yep, it really does work that way. It used to be that it was rare to see someone trying to collect a judgment for much more than five years. That is changing, and I think it is something our Legislature needs to be looking into changing. Sorry, but a repo or an unpaid credit card in your twenties shouldn’t be able to jump out of nowhere and bite you in your forties.