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Can I Be Sued and My Wages Garnished if I Make $70 a Week? – Karylan


“Dear Steve,

I am 24 yrs old living at home with my mom and might be getting sued by capital one. I work at a grocery store about 8 hrs a week sometimes not even that. I have had no luck finding a stable job, i might have to quit the one i have becuase i don’t have a car. I make about $70 a wk if i work all 8 hrs.

If i am sued can they garnish my wages where i make so little money?


Dear Karylan,

There are two different view on this. First, while it is highly unlikely that you would be sued, I have seen it happen before. And when I asked the creditor why? Their response was that while the person might not have anything of value or income right now, they probably will in the future. I have seen people sued by creditors for just a few hundred dollars.

I asked my lawyer friend to respond to you as well. Here is what she had to say:

“Don’t panic! The debt collectors’ threats to sue you are very likely to be just that: Threats on which they have no intention of acting. Threatening to sue and garnish wages or place liens are how collectors scare folks into paying when they can’t afford to pay. Debt collectors are often paid based on their collections so they tend to say whatever they think will motivate you to pay. Here are some facts:

  • It is not worth a creditor’s time to sue on small debts. They would have to spend more in legal fees than it’s worth to them. And just suing on a debt and winning doesn’t mean they can collect. Your situation right now makes you “judgment proof” meaning that you have no real assets and collection of a judgment against you would be something most creditors wouldn’t want to pursue.
  • No one can garnish your wages or place a lien on your property without first getting a judgment against you for the debt. A judgment is only obtained after you have 30 days to respond to the written civil (not criminal!) complaint. This complaint will be mailed to you and will have the court’s name at the top, along with the caption showing the name of the creditor “vs” or “v.” you. It won’t look like normal correspondence from the creditor. Even after your 30 days to respond (or any extension you receive) passes, the creditor still has to file more court documents and you will get a copy of all of them.
  • If you live in one of the 46 states that allows wage garnishment, then after all of the proper legal papers have been filed, it is possible for you to be garnished. But in your case, I do not think this will happen, I think they are trying to scare you into borrowing money from your family or friends to pay the debt. While we all want to pay our just debts, your financial situation at the moment doesn’t allow for that.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of these threats to sue are empty threats and nothing will happen without your knowledge so long as you get your mail. Therefore, I’d advise you to simply wait and see. After all, you need to save for a vehicle in order to get a better paying job.

In the meantime, visit the FTC’s website and read your rights under Federal Fair Debt Collection law so you can protect yourself. When this collector goes away, be prepared for another one to take it’s place– bad debts are sold and resold, another reason to learn all of your legal rights. Good luck and hang in there!”

So there you go, two slightly different points of view.

I think in the end all you can do is keep living your life and not worry so much about what MIGHT happen.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

READ  A Company Says They WIll Sue Me Over a Decade Old Capital One Debt. - Cheryl

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • What if you are living a life where you do NOT promptly receive your mail? It can be as much as 6 weeks from the date sent that I see or receive my mail. Due to the fact I live in a variety of temporary housing situations and actually have residence in 2 or 3 states (depending on how you want to count it). I have a number of creditors after me, and cannot afford the time to answer there phone calls while I am at work (plus I have caught a couple of them lying to me on the phone) so I have asked that all the creditors email or postal mail me. They are happy to send their automated emails, but never anything where I can actually negotiate with a person, and the postal mail is so slow that I am afraid I will be sued and have a judgment against me before I can respond. Any sort of wage garnishment will cost me any of the jobs I am working and I have little assets except the land I hope to retire to (I owe no creditor or lien on this property, and I REALLY want to keep it that way. )
    Is there any suggestions for how I can make certain that the creditors/courts give me enough time to respond to written correspondence?
    Is there any way I can use this mobility to my advantage when I go to try to negotiate with my creditors?

    • Unfortunately, no. The amount of time to respond is set by law and not by creditors. What you might want to consider is using a virtual mailbox where your mail will be scanned and forwarded to you by email.

      • Thanks, that isn’t a bad idea actually as I work most often with IT projects I usually have some sort of electronic access, I am just concerned about costs.

  • Hi, My wife has been in debt settlement program for about a year in half she has now recieved documents from the courts saying chase is going to garnish her wages now she is not going to afford to pay the settlement company or pay the garnish wages what do we do next ? what can the settlement company do for us?

  • Hi, My wife has been in debt settlement program for about a year in half she has now recieved documents from the courts saying chase is going to garnish her wages now she is not going to afford to pay the settlement company or pay the garnish wages what do we do next ? what can the settlement company do for us?

  • One more thing, try to live in a state where they don’t garnish wages. Then set up a trust fund in your kids name and appoint yourself as the trustee so you can establish a bank account. That ought to keep you “judgment proof” from those shysters. And whatever you do, never use Capital One. Just Google those shysters and see all the heartache they’ve caused thousands of people. Even the $300 credit cards became thousands at judgment time. Try to pay them off if you can. It’s the best thing to do.

  • Capital One is probably the only creditor I’ve aware of that does sue for a very small amount. I’d try to pay it off. In the long run you’d be better off. It also depends on what state you live in. They don’t garnish paychecks in certain states, but you don’t need the hassle. Capital One does sue for very small amounts because once they tack on all their fees, it becomes a very substantial amount. They’re shysters! Don’t use them!

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