Over the course of the last six years we have incurred many medical debts. In the middle of the illnesses we filed for bankruptcy thinking our run of bad luck had ended. Didn’t. We both got sick again.

So, we have been fielding phone calls for some time now from collection agencies. It got worse when we could no longer pay our credit card bills and student loans.

Recently, Ron received a notice of intent to levy from a collection agency. UhOh. It was a medical debt of Ron’s from his heart surgery.

Ron filed a claim of exemption since in California social security cannot be levied and that is his entire income. There was a court date set so Ron could prove his claim of exemption.

When he went to court he was told that the state of California had given him more time to prepare his case and didn’t he get a notice from the lawyer that had sued him? Apparently, it was the lawyer’s responsibility to send Ron the notice.

No. He had not.

The new court date was set for 01-08-2008. Ron showed up. The attorney for the collection agency did not. Ron showed the judge his paperwork that was the evidence that he could not pay and that his income was from social security. The judge found in Ron’s favor.

That was on Friday. On Saturday when I checked the mail we had received a letter from the collection agency stating, "I received notice from the court that your claim of exemption has been denied. If you want to avoid any further levies in the future,we will accept a resumption of $100.00 monthly payments. Please use the enclosed envelope to mail a $100.00 payment for January by 1/15/10."

I guess they figured that since they had not informed us of the new court date we would not show up and they would prevail by default.

By my count the collection agency and their lawyer committed fraud twice. Once by not sending Ron the letter informing him of the extention by the state. And the second time by demanding money and stating that the court had found in their favor.

We will be talking to the D.A. on Monday. I wonder how many people are not eating or paying their utility bills because they sent their money to these jerks.

I see this as preparation for the time when we go to court if the banksters want to take our house. The key is to find out all you can and to fight back.

I want to thank my sister who is a paralegal in New Orleans for her advice through this experience. Thanks Sister Woman!