Wages Incorrectly Garnished

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JWalterWeatherman
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:47 am

Wages Incorrectly Garnished

Post by JWalterWeatherman » Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:41 pm

Hello-

I have an odd situation. My wages were garnished, incorrectly. I worked with my company's payroll department and the 3rd party paycheck company and they admitted there was an error. They are refunding the garnishment ASAP. I've asked for a written letter explaining that this was an error and that my wages should not have been garnished in any way. I'm asking for the letter in case it comes up on any sort of report (credit report?).

Should I be fighting more to try to have this "reversed" instead of just being taken out and then refunded? Is this something bad to have on my "record" or will it be an obvious error that will then disappear and never be a problem again?

Thanks,

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dm200
Posts: 23148
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Wages Incorrectly Garnished

Post by dm200 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:58 pm

JWalterWeatherman wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:41 pm
Hello-
I have an odd situation. My wages were garnished, incorrectly. I worked with my company's payroll department and the 3rd party paycheck company and they admitted there was an error. They are refunding the garnishment ASAP. I've asked for a written letter explaining that this was an error and that my wages should not have been garnished in any way. I'm asking for the letter in case it comes up on any sort of report (credit report?).
Should I be fighting more to try to have this "reversed" instead of just being taken out and then refunded? Is this something bad to have on my "record" or will it be an obvious error that will then disappear and never be a problem again?
Thanks,
You have no idea why you were "selected" for the garnishment?

Any idea about the cause/source of the error?

Did the garnishment/notice indicate where the garnished funds were to be sent? Chances are that garnished funds would go so some kind of collections agency or attorney.

Topic Author
JWalterWeatherman
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:47 am

Re: Wages Incorrectly Garnished

Post by JWalterWeatherman » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:09 pm

dm200 wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:58 pm
You have no idea why you were "selected" for the garnishment?

Any idea about the cause/source of the error?

Did the garnishment/notice indicate where the garnished funds were to be sent? Chances are that garnished funds would go so some kind of collections agency or attorney.
They said that they had 'test data' that accidentally got processed as real data and that there is no court order of any kind. They said the error also included some other employees. So the money isn't going anywhere and is coming back to me.

As a note, I'm not in any debt nor do I have any situation where I would expect my wages to be garnished so I was very surprised when I saw it in my paystub. It was just labeled as "Garnish - Tax". The only notice I received was the line in my paystub.

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dm200
Posts: 23148
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Wages Incorrectly Garnished

Post by dm200 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:16 pm

JWalterWeatherman wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:09 pm
dm200 wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:58 pm
You have no idea why you were "selected" for the garnishment?
Any idea about the cause/source of the error?
Did the garnishment/notice indicate where the garnished funds were to be sent? Chances are that garnished funds would go so some kind of collections agency or attorney.
They said that they had 'test data' that accidentally got processed as real data and that there is no court order of any kind. They said the error also included some other employees. So the money isn't going anywhere and is coming back to me.
As a note, I'm not in any debt nor do I have any situation where I would expect my wages to be garnished so I was very surprised when I saw it in my paystub. It was just labeled as "Garnish - Tax". The only notice I received was the line in my paystub.
Since this all seems to be an internal payroll processing error, then it is probably not something to worry about. if you have not already done so, make sure the applicable department(s) of your employer know of the garnishment error. Many employers regard a garnishment of wages as a negative about an employee. The employer cannot take adverse action for a single such garnishment - but it might trigger something in the future.

Do you personally know any other affected employees? If so, you might compare notes.

Teague
Posts: 1992
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Wages Incorrectly Garnished

Post by Teague » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:24 pm

You mention concern that this could show up on your credit report. I cannot imagine any way that would happen, if that's any reassurance.
Semper Augustus

Sam1
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:24 am

Re: Wages Incorrectly Garnished

Post by Sam1 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:36 pm

Teague wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:24 pm
You mention concern that this could show up on your credit report. I cannot imagine any way that would happen, if that's any reassurance.
I was incorrectly garnished and it DID show up on my credit report even though my credit monitoring service said it would not. Luckily it was easy to solve by having the state write the credit bureau a letter. I was surprised how easy it was actually.

Mine was also a payroll issue. My payroll department entered the incorrect state and a state thought I had lived there. I woke up one day with a large amount of money taken from my bank account by this state. It was a scary experience.

OP, I’d make sure to save any correspondence by making electronic copies.

Teague
Posts: 1992
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Wages Incorrectly Garnished

Post by Teague » Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:25 pm

Sam1 wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:36 pm
Teague wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:24 pm
You mention concern that this could show up on your credit report. I cannot imagine any way that would happen, if that's any reassurance.
I was incorrectly garnished and it DID show up on my credit report even though my credit monitoring service said it would not. Luckily it was easy to solve by having the state write the credit bureau a letter. I was surprised how easy it was actually.

Mine was also a payroll issue. My payroll department entered the incorrect state and a state thought I had lived there. I woke up one day with a large amount of money taken from my bank account by this state. It was a scary experience.

OP, I’d make sure to save any correspondence by making electronic copies.
Do tell. I'd love to know the rest of that story, if you'd care to share it.
Semper Augustus

Trader Joe
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Wages Incorrectly Garnished

Post by Trader Joe » Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:31 pm

JWalterWeatherman wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:41 pm
Hello-

I have an odd situation. My wages were garnished, incorrectly. I worked with my company's payroll department and the 3rd party paycheck company and they admitted there was an error. They are refunding the garnishment ASAP. I've asked for a written letter explaining that this was an error and that my wages should not have been garnished in any way. I'm asking for the letter in case it comes up on any sort of report (credit report?).

Should I be fighting more to try to have this "reversed" instead of just being taken out and then refunded? Is this something bad to have on my "record" or will it be an obvious error that will then disappear and never be a problem again?

Thanks,
Work closely with your Human Resources department.

Topic Author
JWalterWeatherman
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:47 am

Re: Wages Incorrectly Garnished

Post by JWalterWeatherman » Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:49 pm

Just as a followup for anyone who might be interested- the next day I received a new paystub labeling the money as "Garnish-Refund".

I also received a letter that must have been auto generated before the problem was noticed. It would be the garnishment notice but it was filled in with test data clearly looking nonsensical.

I'm going to wait to see if I get the letter I requested but I'm less worried about it right now.
Thanks for the suggestions and information!

Pete3
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:10 pm

Re: Wages Incorrectly Garnished

Post by Pete3 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:21 am

Sam1 wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:36 pm
Teague wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:24 pm
You mention concern that this could show up on your credit report. I cannot imagine any way that would happen, if that's any reassurance.
I was incorrectly garnished and it DID show up on my credit report even though my credit monitoring service said it would not. Luckily it was easy to solve by having the state write the credit bureau a letter. I was surprised how easy it was actually.

Mine was also a payroll issue. My payroll department entered the incorrect state and a state thought I had lived there. I woke up one day with a large amount of money taken from my bank account by this state. It was a scary experience.

OP, I’d make sure to save any correspondence by making electronic copies.
I think what you are describing is a completely different experience, its sounds like OP's payroll department was testing some new code and caused an internal issue - no one outside of the company would be aware this happened.

In your case, if I understand correctly, your payroll department made a mistake which caused a state government to believe that you owed them money (taxes?) and therefore they initiated garnishment against you. In that case the garnishment was not a test and even if it was caused by a mistake the garnishment itself was not in error and therefore would have been reported.

Sam1
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:24 am

Re: Wages Incorrectly Garnished

Post by Sam1 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:01 pm

Pete3 wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:21 am
Sam1 wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:36 pm
Teague wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:24 pm
You mention concern that this could show up on your credit report. I cannot imagine any way that would happen, if that's any reassurance.
I was incorrectly garnished and it DID show up on my credit report even though my credit monitoring service said it would not. Luckily it was easy to solve by having the state write the credit bureau a letter. I was surprised how easy it was actually.

Mine was also a payroll issue. My payroll department entered the incorrect state and a state thought I had lived there. I woke up one day with a large amount of money taken from my bank account by this state. It was a scary experience.

OP, I’d make sure to save any correspondence by making electronic copies.
I think what you are describing is a completely different experience, its sounds like OP's payroll department was testing some new code and caused an internal issue - no one outside of the company would be aware this happened.

In your case, if I understand correctly, your payroll department made a mistake which caused a state government to believe that you owed them money (taxes?) and therefore they initiated garnishment against you. In that case the garnishment was not a test and even if it was caused by a mistake the garnishment itself was not in error and therefore would have been reported.
Yes, this is correct. The state blamed it on the payroll department but I admit I’m not entirely sure that’s what happened. The state at one point tried to blame it on my employer being headquartered in that state. They stopped saying that was the reason when I asked if the other thousands of employees in other states had their bank accounts garnished.

Regardless, it took a lot of work to clear up. It took the most work to find someone who could help me. I had to have someone high up in the state’s government (basically right below the governor) find someone to help me. I was only able to do this because of some high profile people that I know. The story was almost unbelievable in that it was a large sum of money (approx $20k). I looked into suing for negligence but apparently the state is protected from this? The state said they had sent multiple letters in the mail, but they were mailed to addresses I hadn’t lived at in over 10 years. I found out about the garnishment only because I received an email alert that I had a low balance in my checking account. The various people I spoke with in the state government were completely blown away that this had happened.

What took the least amount of work was clearing it up with the credit agencies. The man who helped me from the state simply wrote a letter on official letterhead and it disappeared off my credit report soon after.

My big lesson was to never have a lot of money in checking. I do not have any sort of overdraft protection. I now keep a minimal amount of assets in my checking account.

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