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Stopping creditor harassment, wage garnishment in Ohio

Wage garnishment is controlled in each state under state laws. Ohio law allows creditors to garnish wages and bank accounts after the creditor takes certain steps. A creditor must first obtain a judgment on the debt before they can seek wage garnishment. That means the bank, credit card company or other creditor must first sue to collect the debt. Federal law prohibits bill collectors from undertaking certain collection practices that are not fair to consumers.

A debt collection agency in the South is being sued for violating federal laws that are meant to protect consumers. The collection agency was over-aggressive in pursuing a claimed debt. The agency reportedly harassed the consumers. In addition to repeated harassing phone calls, the bill collector reportedly used "harassing, oppressing and abusive" language to coerce the debtor to pay up and falsely implied it could garnish both his and his mother's wages to satisfy the debt.

The plaintiff also accuses the debt collection agency of threatening to take legal action it does not intend to take and of using "unfair and unconscionable" means to try to collect payments.

Financially distressed residents in Cincinnati who are facing creditor harassment or wage garnishment can often find relief though filing for bankruptcy. A chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy petition stops not only the harassing phone calls and garnishment, but all efforts to collect a debt. Once the petition is filed in bankruptcy court, the creditor can only resume collection activities with the express permission of the bankruptcy court.

Whether a creditor even seeks to resume collection activities or whether the court may grant the request is case specific. Cincinnati residents facing financial distress can speak with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to learn what options may be available to achieve debt relief under the bankruptcy code.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Debt collection company sued for threatening wage garnishment," Michelle Keahey, July 25, 2011.

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