Debt delinquency timeline: what to expect

Stage 5: Court
6 of 7

Trigger: The third-party debt collector is unable to contact you -- the consumer -- and sues.

"You can ignore a lot of people, but you can't ignore the guy who knocks on the door with a judgment," says Ulzheimer.

What to expect: You will receive a summons to appear in court regarding your debt. If the debt collector or creditor receives a judgment, then it may garnish your wages or seize assets such as bank accounts to satisfy the debt.

Your options: If you receive a summons, show up for your court hearing, says Creamer. There, you can dispute the debt. Otherwise, it's an automatic win for the collector, she says.

The judge may also serve as a mediator and create some kind of repayment plan before choosing wage garnishment or the seizure of assets.




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