• Consumer Protection Law and Advocacy — Chicago, IL

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Be Wary of Wage Assignments

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It’s important to be wary of wage assignments as they appear in many payday and other short-term loan contracts. Sometimes, they even appear in vehicle purchase contracts.  Many consumers do not realize they are agreeing to wage assignments until after their paychecks show unexpected deductions.  So what is a wage assignment?  A wage assignment is an agreement between you and the company you owe.  If you don’t make the payments you are supposed to make pursuant to your contract, the company can ask your employer to take the money it is due from your paycheck. Check your contract to see if it includes the words “WAGE ASSIGNMENT,” typically in bold-faced, capital letters.

Wage assignments can be embarrassing as you may have to speak to your employer (including representatives in the payroll department) about your debts to resolve the situation.  And properly executed wage assignments can mean hardship for you because your paycheck ends up being smaller.

Legislators recognized the problems with wage assignments and there are very strict laws governing them.  Most importantly, consumers need to know that in Illinois, you have the right to revoke a wage assignment at any time and for any reason.  Also:

If any person wrongfully: (1) serves a notice on an employee or serves a notice which does not conform with the requirements of 740 ILCS 170/2.2, (2) causes a demand to be served for the wages of an employee, or (3) fails to release a demand, he shall be liable to the employee and the employer for statutory damages in the sum of $500 and all actual damages occasioned by such action including reasonable attorney’s fees.

The law provides a remedy and damages if your wages have been improperly assigned so don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance if you think your paycheck is being deducted unfairly or if you need help stopping a wage assignment.