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updated 9/9/2020

Are there protections in place for credit card debts, car loans, or other consumer debts because of the COVID-19?

There are no blanket protections in place, but many creditors and lenders are willing to work with people right now on a case by case basis.

I cannot afford to pay my credit card bill. Can I be put in jail over this debt?

No. You will not face criminal consequences for missing credit card payments. Failure to pay child support and failure to pay taxes are some of the only debts that may result in jailing

Can my home be taken over debts that I owe?

Sometimes, but there are often ways to prevent this.  The creditor must first go through the court process and receive a judgment for money against you.  North Carolina and Federal law allow debtors to keep certain assets depending on a number of different factors.  If you are a homeowner and have a judgment against you, you should contact Pisgah Legal Services or another legal service provider to discuss your options.

 Can my social security or other government benefits be garnished?

Generally, social security benefits are exempt from garnishment unless the debt is the result of child support, unpaid taxes, federal student loans and a few other limited circumstances.

Can my income that is NOT social security or another government benefit be garnished?

Generally wages cannot be garnished in North Carolina to pay consumer debts. Your creditor will need to file a lawsuit against you before taking any action to get money from you. If you are served with a lawsuit please contact Pisgah Legal Services for help.

Can my credit card company take money from my bank account if I miss a payment?

Generally a credit card company cannot access your checking or savings accounts to cover a missed payment. This may be different if you have a credit card and checking account through the same bank.

What should I do if I want a creditor to stop contacting me?

The law limits the ways in which a creditor is allowed to contact you.  If you are receiving calls and/or letters that you would like to stop, you can send the creditor a letter demanding that they cease contacting you.  You should consider sending this letter certified to confirm receipt.  You should keep a copy of the letter.  If you are represented by an attorney, you should inform the creditor that an attorney is handling your case.  Sending a cease and desist letter to a creditor will not stop a creditor from filing a lawsuit against you.

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The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact Pisgah Legal Services or a private attorney if you need to speak with an attorney regarding your specific situation. You can apply online for Pisgah Legal at www.pisgahlegal.org/free-legal-assistance or call 1-800-489-6144.