American General Financial / Wage Garnishment
Is it legal for a creditor to have my wages garnished when I was told that as long as I am making payments the wage garnishment would not go into effect? On June 1, 2009 I was served with a summons (Citation Judicial) stating that I was being sued by American General Financial Services, INC. I immediately called American General and spoke to Jessie and asked her why I am being served with court papers, when I am currently making the arranged payments she and I agreed upon. Jessie basically told me that, as long as I am making a payment the wage garnishment would not go into effect. I made majority of the payments for the last year until I went on disability, in June of 2010. I did not make a payment in June and August of 2010, because of financial difficulties. I started payment again when I returned to work in September of 2010. On October 5, 2010 I was served again with court papers stating that my wages will start being garnished. I called Jessie again at American General to ask why my wages would be garnished, and she stated that it was because of the missed payments. I asked her why she did not tell me this when we spoke on the phone? She stated that I did not keep the agreement that we had made. Jessie then passed me off to the Assistant Manger and he said that it was because I was not making the agreed upon amount of $150.00 per month (I made payments between $100.00-$150.00 each month; I have record of each payment). I then explained to him that I was temporarily placed on disability from June 2010 to August 2010. He asked me why I did not file a disability claim policy with them. I told him that I was not informed of that option. Apparently, I have Merit Life policy through American General, which is my disability policy, should I go on disability for any period of time. I asked him why Jessie did not inform me this option when I told her that I was on disability for 10 weeks. He just said, “I did not know why.” I called their Attorney, Michelle, and asked her what I could do about stopping the garnishment. She told me to call the collections department for American General and make arrangements with them. The collection department told me they do not have a record of a case filed against me and to call American General back for further investigation. I called back and spoke to the Assistant Manger again and he stated the same thing to me about the missed payment and not making payments of the agreed upon amount. I asked him why none of the American General Representatives informed me of wage garnishments if I am unable to make the full payment of$ 150.00 each month. He did not really have an answer to that question; he just said that I did not make full payments as agreed upon. I do admit I owe the debt and would like to pay it off; I would just like to know if it is legal the way this is being handled and if I have the right to dispute this judgment. I find it unfair that I received summons in June of 2009 but did not state a date of appearance in court so I never went to court for the judgment. As I stated above Jessie basically told me that as long as I was making payments, “I would be fine.” As far as I can see, the judgment against me was still filed even though I was making payments for the past year. What can I do to get this resolved in my favor?