Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Pennsylvania

Live in Pa, default judgment was entered against me on 5/31/07, by a consumer loan company (furniture loan that i could not pay off), the address listed on judgment was old from NJ even though my current address was listed on purchase documents, so due to forwarding delays i did not get any notice about any hearing etc., my last name is misspelled as well. Amount 2,932.And now after more than 5 years on 9/24/12 they filed writ of revival. I got served 11/26/12. I am a stay at home mom, and my husband's small business suffered tremendous losses with hurricane Sandy, we can't get back on our feet, it was bad before too, now worse, in my name i own only 2001 minivan and nothing else and of course the furniture is there, if they want it.

How should I respond, do they need to fix my last name, I question the whole interest, why they where quiet for over 5 years (around 1,000$) and now they want interest for that time, it is not fair, also there is no mention of interest on default judgment signed by judge only on the recording of the judgment entered on 10/1/2007 signed by prothonotary. Which judgment prevails, default or the recorded/entered one. It is under my name, if I am married can they come after my husband, we have joined account personally and I am not on papers for his business, I am just an added user for one business account.

Asked on 12/09/12, 7:41 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

You ask a lot questions. Judgments, once entered, never ever go away. There is always interest on judgments (in PA, they earn interest at the statutory rate of 6% per year; the interest accrues on a daily basis). The judgments can be enforced on real property for 5 years and renewed for additional 5 year periods. They can be enforced against personal property for 20 years.

It does not matter whether "its fair" for the creditor to collect interest. Legally, they are entitled to every penny. And don't complain about things that are not "fair." Lots of stuff in life is not fair. You accept what is but how you deal with it is up to you. You can resolve it - by paying or filing bankruptcy. Or you can do nothing if you are judgment proof. So how you deal with it is up to you. But never complain that its not fair.

The revival is just so the judgment can continue to be enforced against real property. I have not seen the documents, but from what you relate, maybe it would make more sense not to respond and correct the information. What would you state? The judgment is going to be revived. If its in a wrong or different name, maybe it will not even be listed on your credit report so I am not sure that I would hasten to correct this.

Your husband is not liable for your debts. However, it concerns me that you have your name on bank accounts. Get your name off there now. No joint accounts with anyone for as long as the judgment remains unpaid.

You need to think about getting this judgment resolved some way. Maybe, if you and your husband have other debts, just file bankruptcy and get this judgment wiped out. Or, if you are fairly judgment proof and take steps to see that nothing is ever in your name, you may try settling the debt once you are back on your feet financially.

Once you have 30% of whatever the judgment is at the time you are ready to settle, try offering that and see if they will agree. If they say no, keep saving until you have 40% and try again. If they say no, go up to 50%. Eventually, they will say yes. If you settle for any amount less than 100%, get a settlement letter. The settlement letter should specify how much you owe, what they will settle for, where it will be paid, to whom and that once your funds are received the judgment will be marked as satisfied. Keep a copy of your payment and the settlement letter forever. Followup if they do not send the satisfaction 30 days after you send your payment.

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Answered on 12/09/12, 9:58 pm
Matthew Nahrgang Nahrgang & Associates, P.C.

I agree with Ms. Hunter and would be happy to advise you on a free initial basis regarding your options. That can be by phone or in person at your convenience.

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Answered on 12/11/12, 10:15 am

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