In October 2007 I applied with Mecklenburg County Child Support Enforcement (the state agency) in Charlotte, NC to register an Order of Foreign Support with the Mecklenburg County Court, which changes the jurisdiction of enforcement of my child support order from SC to NC so it could be enforced since my ex husband lives in NC. During that time we were unsuccessful in locating him until May 2008 when I was able to track him down on my own and give his home address to the state agency.
However, in the time it took them to serve him with the order he moved again and we were once again unable to locate him to have the documents served. In June of 2008 I gave the state agency his employment information as well but they were unable to process a wage garnishment at that time since SC still had jurisdiction over my case and the York County, SC court requires the absent parent to appear in court to give consent for wage garnishment before they will garnish wages. They cannot, however, cross state lines to make him appear in court. Their hands were tied until the absent parent could be located and served with this court order in NC.
Because of this, I applied with Supportkids, Inc on July 3, 2008 hoping they would be helpful in locating him so that he could be served with the order to Register an Order of Foreign Support in NC and the state agency or Supportkids, Inc could collect the child support owed to my children. They promised they would locate him and collect payments on my behalf and, in return they would keep a percentage of each child support payment they collect to pay for their services.
I provided Supportkids, Inc with my ex husband's employment information, SS#, cell phone number and last known address and my application was accepted on July 7, 2008. The following day they contacted him and his employer and verified said information. According to their records online, they proceeded to call him again the following day and left a message on his voicemail and again on August 6, 2008.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, the state agency was able to locate him on their own and the order was served on him at his current address on the same day I applied with Supportkids, Inc. I wasn't made aware of this fact until I received a letter in the mail in late August, along with a copy of the court order, notifying myself and the non custodial parent that as of August 8, 2008, an order had been entered against him, jurisdiction had been moved to NC and his wages were subject to garnishment immediately.
This letter also had a copy of the Affidavit of Service which is how I know it was served on July 3rd. On that same day, August 8, 2008, the state agency was finally able to file the wage garnishment because the order was entered in NC and they had the jurisdiction to do so. On August 20, 2008 the first payment was received in the amount of $140.00 by North Carolina Centralized Collections in Raleigh, NC and another payment of $140.00 was received by the same state agency on August 25, 2008. I did not receive either of these payments.
At the end of August I found out that the reason I did not receive those payments is because Supportkids, Inc had intercepted the first payment and applied it to my account with them on August 26, 2008. The following day they applied the other payment I didn't receive to my account with them as well.
I immediately contacted Supportkids, Inc via their client response unit at (512) 437-6001 and explained the situation to the client advocate who took my call and was told that I would need to send any requests for refunds or termination of services to their office in writing via their PO box, fax or email. I complied with this request and sent a letter explaining the situation once again, a copy of the court order which shows the date it was served and the date it was entered into record with the Mecklenburg County courthouse in Charlotte, NC, a letter from my case worker at the state agency in NC detailing their timeline and verifying that they acted on information I had provided to them personally and information they had obtained independently without any assistance from Supportkids, Inc.
I was also informed by the case worker that the state agency never deals with Supportkids, Inc at any time. They do not act on information or requests received from Supportkids, Inc nor do they communicate with them at all. At the request of Supportkids, Inc, I also included a payment history from the state agency showing the payments intercepted by Supportkids, Inc were initially collected by NC Centralized Collections. I then sent all of this to Supportkids, Inc via the US postal service, email and fax to ensure they received it in a timely manner. My account online was updated on September 8, 2008 with a message that they had received my request and would review my case and respond.
During this time they proceed to contact the non-custodial parent twice, harassing him to pay them directly even though his wages were already being garnished each week by the state agency and I had asked Supportkids, Inc to stop calling him since the state agency was handling it and their services were no longer required.
On October 1, 2008, my account online was once again updated to reflect a message stating:
â��After careful review of your case, the terms of the contract for services you have signed and your request to terminate service, we have concluded there is not sufficient cause to cancel your contract. You will receive a notice of this decision in the mail."
On October 2, 2008 I called Supportkids, Inc for an explanation and spoke with Casey, who refused to give me her last name or an operator ID but assured me she is the only Casey who works as a client advocate. I asked Casey to transfer me to the supervisor who denied my request to discontinue their services and was told that the supervisor would tell me the same thing she was going to tell me so I should speak to her instead.
I asked Casey why was the request and evidence I sent not sufficient to close my case with them and she stated that Supportkids, Inc is in fact garnishing the non custodial parent's wages themselves and that's why they wouldn't cancel. I informed her that the wage garnishment was not being handled by Supportkids, Inc but by NC Centralized Collections as I stated in my letter to them. She put me on hold to verify the information she was giving me and came back to inform me that the reason NC Centralized collections were garnishing the wages is because Supportkids, Inc had sent the request to do so on July, 29, 2008 and that's the reason they intercepted the payments and refused to close my case or refund the $280.00 they obtained from NC Centralized Collections.
I tried to explain the situation to her and she then asked me why I applied with Supportkids, Inc on July 3, 2008 if the state agency had already located him and I explained that I wasn't aware of it until the order was entered on August 8, 2008 and the notification was received in the mail in late August. She also asked why the state agency didn't garnish his wages before I applied with Supportkids, Inc if they had already served him with the necessary documentation, to which I replied because they didn't have jurisdiction over the case in NC until that document was served and entered as a judgment in the court in NC, after the mandatory waiting period for the noncustodial parent to respond to the request to transfer it from SC to NC.
She continued to argue that Supportkids, Inc was directly responsible for obtaining payment from the absent parent and refused to close my case. I asked her to transfer me to the supervisor after all and was told that no supervisor was available but I could leave a voicemail. She transferred me to the voicemail and I left a message requesting a call back before the end of business to rectify this situation or I would file a complaint with the necessary authorities. I have not received a call back as of yet.
After leaving the message with Supportkids, Inc, I called the state agency in NC to get the date they sent in the wage garnishment forms and was informed that it was filed on August 8, 2008; the same day the judgment was ordered on the absent parent at the courthouse. I asked if they had received any request from Supportkids, Inc that may have prompted them to do this and was told that they haven't received anything from Supportkids, Inc and was once again informed that even if they did, they would not act on it because they do not deal directly with Supportkids, Inc and they would only process a such a request from myself. I was made aware that the wage garnishment could not possibly have been filed before August 8, 2008 because the court in NC had no jurisdiction to enforce the order from SC until this â��Order to Register Foreign Support" was confirmed by the court on August 8, 2008.
When I signed up with Supportkids, Inc I had every intention of letting them keep the initial payment of $475 for the case development fee and the percentage they would take from each payment for the work they would do in locating the absent parent and collecting support from him. However, it's not fair or ethical for them to keep money they had no part in collecting. I provided them with sufficient evidence to prove that the state agency was able to secure payments on their own but they still refuse to refund the $280 they intercepted from NC Centralized Collections on my behalf or close my case with them.
Each time I call them about this matter I have to wait on hold for at least 15 minutes or more and am treated as if I'm an outright liar and dismissed and ridiculed. After I signed up with them and realized they were intercepting payments they had no right to, I began to research them a little more online; something I wish I had done before ever dealing with them. I found I'm not the only one they are preying on and I'm sure I won't be the last unless some kind of action is taken to regulate and monitor them more effectively. In hindsight, I would have never signed up with them if I had known that they would turn it over to the same state agency I was already working with. I certainly don't see a need to pay an initial fee of $475 and 34% of each payment as a â��payment processing fee" for them to intercept payments from the state agency that the state agency collected on their own, and then forward them on to me.
Supportkids, Inc's claim that the state filed the wage garnishment as a direct result of the request they claim to have sent in July is invalid because there is no way any NC agency could have garnished his wages before the Confirmation to Register Foreign Support Order was registered on August 8, 2008.
Given the fact that the state agency chose August 8, 2008 as the date to file for the wage garnishment, it should be obvious that it was because that's the day the order was finally registered and NOT because of some letter they received from Supportkids, Inc. Even if they had acted on that letter... ask yourself, is a couple of phone calls and a letter to an agency asking them to do something you've already asked them to do yourself really worth $475 upfront and 34% out of EVERYTHING collected after that? I don't think so.