Before obtaining a court judgment, a bill collector generally has only oneway of getting paid: demand payment. This is done with calls and letters. However, once the collector (or creditor) sues you and gets a judgment, the law allows it to take further steps to collect the debt. If you have a job, the collector may try to garnish up to 25% of your net wages. The collector may also try to seize bank or other deposit accounts you have. If you own real property, the collector may record a lien against it, which will have to be paid when you sell or refinance your property. Even if you're not currently working or have no property, the judgment won't disappear. Court judgments can last up to 20 years, and in many cases, can be renewed for years beyond that.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.