As a business owner or manager, it can be difficult to see your clients’ payments begin to stall and the number of delinquent accounts increase. If you’ve exhausted your internal collection strategies to no avail and have been met with underwhelming results from using a collection agency, seeking a debt collection attorney may be your best course of action.
The collections attorneys at Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace will explore every option for obtaining what your company owes. We will create a strategy to minimize your losses and reach a resolution quickly. Our commercial litigators are prepared to take your case to court to obtain compensation. Contact Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace to learn more about our collection action services.
Pennsylvania Debt Collection Laws
When a debtor owes an individual or business debt, the debtor is called a creditor. Under Pennsylvania law, creditors have several legal options for collecting their debt. Before a creditor can begin the debt collection process, he or she will need to petition the appropriate court for a judgment.
After serving a summons and complaint, the creditor and debtor will appear in court and make their cases. The court may grant the creditor a judgment. A judgment is a declaration by the court that the creditor has a legal right to demand payment through one of the following means:
- A wage garnishment
- A levy on the debtor’s bank accounts
- A lien against the debtor that affects the debtor’s property
When a creditor is granted a judgment, he or she is called a “judgment-creditor.”
Wage Garnishment in Pennsylvania
The most common method judgment-creditors use to collect debts is wage garnishment. The judgment creditor can contact the creditor’s employer and legally require the employer to deduct a specific percentage of his or her wages each pay period and send the money to the creditor. Wage garnishment is allowed in the following cases in Pennsylvania:
- Landlord-tenant cases
- Child-support cases
- Federal administrative wage garnishment actions, such as delinquent federal student loans
Additionally, bank levies, which are referred to as bank garnishments in Pennsylvania are permitted.
Levying The Bank Accounts of Debtors
A levy means the creditor has the legal right to take whatever money is in the debtor’s bank account. The creditor can apply the funds to the balance of the judgment. Pennsylvania laws govern the procedure for levying a debtor’s bank accounts and the amount, if any, the debtor can be exempt from the levy. In Pennsylvania, bank account levies are governed by 42 Pa. C.S.A. Section 8123, which provides a $300 statutory exemption.
Marital assets are exempt from being levied. Additionally, banks are required to notify the creditor of any recurring electronic deposits, such as Social Security benefits, disability payments, and payroll that may be exempt if the account contains less than $10,000. In Pennsylvania, the sheriff is responsible for serving all garnishments and levies.
Collecting a Debt Through a Lien
A lien is a claim, called an encumbrance, against a debtor that affects the debtor’s property. If the debtor owns a home, a creditor who has obtained a judgment can place a lien on the home. If the debtor sells or refinances the home, the debtor will be required to pay the judgment out of the proceeds of the sale or refinance. If the amount of the judgment is higher than the amount of equity in your home, the lien may prevent the debtor from selling or refinancing until the debtor can pay the judgment off.
The Benefits of Working with a Debt Collection Attorney
Not every debt collection situation is the same. The debt collection attorneys at Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace will work with you to create a personalized debt collection approach that fits your individualized situation. Our experienced debt collection attorneys will gauge the strength of your position and help you make informed decisions about your debt collection strategy. When a debt collection attorney represents you, debtors may take your demand for payment more seriously than a collection agency calling them.
A demand letter from a debt collection attorney may be all you need to collect the outstanding debt successfully. However, if it becomes necessary to take the matter to court, a reputable collection attorney can be an invaluable ally. A thorough and well-laid-out point-by-point argument from an attorney can help you receive a favorable judgment and recover the amount you’re owed along with additional damages.
Debt Collection Defense Attorney in Pittsburgh
Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace represents clients facing debt collection actions. Our Pittsburgh attorneys have successfully defended claims for unpaid credit card debts, auto loans, mortgage debt, student loans, claims on co-signers, and other debt collection cases. If you’ve received threats of wage garnishment, foreclosure, or losing your home, it’s important to take decisive action.
The longer you wait to speak to a debt collection attorney, the more complex your case could become. Even if you legitimately owe one or more debts, debt collectors must abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Suppose your rights have been violated by debt collectors calling you throughout the night, showing up at your work, or engaging in other unlawful debt collection practices. In that case, we are prepared to help you stop the collection actions and hold them accountable.
Discuss Your Case with a Pennsylvania Debt Collection Attorney
If you have been unable to collect on a debt you’re owed as an individual or on behalf of your business, Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace is here to help. We will help you develop a strategy for recovering the debt you’re owed as quickly and affordably as possible. You only have limited time to pursue a debt collection action in Pennsylvania. We also represent creditors in collection actions. Contact the Pittsburgh collection action attorneys to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more.