Credit card companies can garnish wages. This means that the companies can deduct the amount of money owed to them from individuals' paychecks until the amount of the judgment, or debt, is satisfied. Typically, wage garnishments occur when credit card companies sue and obtain legal judgments against people. Then the credit card companies find out where individuals work and use the information to get the wages garnished.
As of July 2009, 25 percent of people's wages can be deducted from each paycheck to satisfy the debt, according to the Department of Labor (DoL). Typically, the 25 percent is calculated after all the mandatory deductions are withdrawn from paychecks. For instance, if a person has a judgment of $3,585 and made $400 a week after taxes then the credit card company would receive $100 of their wages until the debt is satisfied.
Credit card companies may attach multiple wage garnishments to people's paychecks. Let's say individuals have more than one credit card company suing and obtaining judgments against them. As long as the first credit card company that garnished the wages doesn't deduct the full 25 percent, others can attach garnishments to paychecks. Thus, if four credit card companies attach garnishments to a person's paycheck then each company receives a portion of the 25 percent.
Many times people fail to legally protest a wage garnishment. To do so, paperwork must with the court to obtain a hearing date where they can present facts about their income. For instance, individuals can show that they need the money set for garnishment to pay their bills. A judge may accept the evidence and set aside the garnishment or keep it in place, according to Nolo. However, if individuals decide not to pursue this avenue, then they can lose their chance to fight a wage garnishment.
Anyone facing a lawsuit from a credit card company should contact an attorney immediately. The attorney can defend individuals against lawsuits. Also, people who already have money judgments against them need to contact an attorney. The lawyer can advise them of debt management options such as bankruptcy individuals can pursue to stop wage garnishments.