How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Oklahoma (2020 Guide)

Eva Bacevice

July 23, 2020

Summary: Live in Oklahoma and need help responding to a debt collection lawsuit? You can use SoloSuit to guide Oklahoma residents quickly and easily through the process.

Getting sued is stressful. Getting sued for debt collection is even more stressful because chances are you don't have the money to pay off your debt. Not having enough money coming in is probably the reason you got behind in the first place. This also means that there isn't extra money available to hire an attorney to help you out. So now you're faced with the stress of a lawsuit as well as uncertainty for how to proceed on your own behalf. It can be tempting to want to ignore the entire thing, but you need to fight that impulse. Ignoring a lawsuit will result in only one outcome - the person suing you wins.

The best thing that you can do to protect yourself is to answer the Oklahoma debt collection lawsuit. It may seem intimidating to do this on your own, but in this article we will help walk you through the steps to help make it a little easier. We'll include information specific to Oklahoma, including deadlines and any available forms to help you out.

Table of Contents

Oklahoma Deadline for Answering a Debt Collection Summons

In Oklahoma you have 20 days to file a response with the Court for a debt collection lawsuit. The lawsuit begins when a Summons and Complaint are filed against you. These documents are served on you, either in person or through the mail. You should be able to see the filing date clearly on both documents, along with the accompanying certificate of service. That filing date is when the clock starts ticking, so you need to determine the deadline for your response counting 20 days from that date.

If you fail to respond before that deadline, then the plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit against you) will ask the Court for a default judgment. A default judgment means that the filing party will win based solely on the non-response from the defendant (you.) So if this happens, not only have you lost the case, but the plaintiff (either your creditor or more likely a debt collection agency who purchased the debt from your original creditor) can now use that default judgment order to get a garnishment against your paycheck or back account.

This usually results in money coming out of your paycheck before you even see it, which just makes your financial situation even more precarious. Additionally, you no longer have an opportunity to dispute anything in the lawsuit (like the amount of the debt) or a chance to set up a payment plan that you can reasonably afford. So the stakes are actually even higher than they might originally appear, which is why filing your response within that 20 day time period is the single best thing you can do to protect yourself.

Oklahoma Answer to Summons Forms

You can use SoloSuit to generate your Answer, or you can do it on your own using the instructions below.

Drafting and filing your own response to a debt collection lawsuit isn't as complicated as you might think. While many states offer online forms that you can fill in on the court's website to make the process even easier, Oklahoma does not. Don't let that stop you, however, from having the confidence to file your own response. We will walk you through each step of the structure and contents of your response.

You can also choose to use SoloSuit to assist you through every step of the process to draft a response in the proper format, in a manner that will be quick, easy and accurate. All we need from you is your answers to a few questions online. We can then translate your responses into the necessary format and legalese for the court documents. Additionally, to give you peace of mind, we'll have an attorney review the completed documents to make sure everything is correct. Then SoloSuit will file all the paperwork on your behalf. You don't even need to leave your house!

Answer Filing Fees for Oklahoma

Oklahoma Court Fees

Steps to Respond to a Debt Collection Case in Oklahoma

If you decide to file your own response to a debt collection case in Oklahoma there are a few important things to keep in mind before you get started. First and foremost, make certain that you file your response before the end of the twenty day deadline. Second, you can respond by filing an Answer document or by filing a Motion. This article will focus on the Answer document only. Motions are by their very nature more complex, and best left to legal counsel. An Answer document, by contrast, is pretty straightforward and made up of the steps below:

  1. Create an Answer document
  2. Answer each issue of the complaint
  3. Assert affirmative defenses, if any
  4. File one copy of the Answer document with the court and serve the plaintiff with another copy.

We will now go over each step in detail.

1. Create an Answer Document.

Your first task will be to create an Answer document in the proper format. The good news here is that you can essentially mirror the format of the documents that you received, i.e. the Summons and Complaint.

At the beginning of each document is a section called the caption, which names the court of proper jurisdiction (where the case will be held) right at the top. Figuring out the proper jurisdiction for a court can be complicated as court systems vary for every state, but you don't need to worry about that here, because the job of determining the jurisdiction falls to the plaintiff, not you. You can rely on the court information already provided by the plaintiff.

To create your own caption you will need the following information:

  • The court information - the county, address, type of court, civil case number
  • Your personal information - name, address, phone number, etc.
  • The plaintiff's information - company name and/or their attorney's name, address and phone number

You should make certain to copy the format and spacing from the caption in your Summons and Complaint. Then, instead of listing “Complaint” at the top you should write “Answer to Complaint.”

SoloSuit makes it easy to find the right information.

2. Answer each issue of the Complaint.

The next step in drafting your response is to respond to the allegations in the Complaint. You should respond to each and every allegation separately. You'll probably notice that the allegations are listed out in numbered paragraphs. You should structure your answers the same way, and list your response to each numbered paragraph in a corresponding paragraph starting with the same number. It's simpler than it sounds - for the allegation in paragraph #1, you should write your response in your paragraph #1.

For every allegation you can use one of the below three answer choices. Think of this as answering “just the facts.” It's ok to admit to things that are true, such as factual information that is correct, like your name or account number. Answering these in the affirmative (by stating “admit”) will not hurt your case. You don't have to deny every allegation to win the lawsuit. You can if you like, but realistically you only need to win on one issue.

  1. Admit
  2. Deny
  3. Unable to Admit or Deny for lack of information

You should certainly put “deny” for any allegations that are not true. For instance, if the plaintiff said you refused to pay and that is not the case, you can simply list “deny.” You also have the opportunity to admit or deny “with explanation” if you think there are relevant facts to disclose to the Court. The final response is appropriate in cases where you don't have the ability to verify if something is true or false, for example details about the plaintiff company.

SoloSuit makes it simple to respond the right way.

3. Assert affirmative defenses.

This next section might even be a little fun. This is where you get to fight back, using affirmative defenses. Affirmative defenses are any reason that you can assert which shows that the plaintiff does not have a case. You can find a complete list of all of the available affirmative defenses available in the Oklahoma Statutes, Title 12 Civil Procedure §12-2008(C.) You are entitled to use any and all affirmative defenses that apply to your circumstances.

We will go over some of the more common affirmative defenses below. Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list. Please also note that, however true it may be, the inability to pay is not an affirmative defense.

  • Payment: This one is pretty straightforward. If you already paid the debt in question, they can't ask you to pay it again. This comes up fairly frequently because usually debt collection lawsuits aren't being brought by your original creditor. Rather, the plaintiff is a third-party debt collection agency who purchased the debt from your original creditor, usually in a large bundle of debts. This debt collection company makes money by trying to collect on all the debts, usually without doing a lot of research into each individual debt. Remember our discussion above about default judgments? If the plaintiff can intimidate someone into not responding to a lawsuit and get a default judgment, they don't need to prove anything further. Whereas if they have to look closer at each individual debt, it's possible that you already paid it or came to another agreement with your original creditor.
  • Accord and satisfaction: This is the legal terminology for any agreement that is made between two parties where less than the full amount owed will be accepted in full satisfaction of the total debt. So if you made an agreement like this with your original creditor that the debt buyer didn't find, you can again prove that you no longer owe the debt. Make certain to attach any proof you have of such an agreement, such as emails or canceled checks, to your response.
  • The debt was already discharged in a bankruptcy. If you previously filed a bankruptcy case which included this debt, and that bankruptcy was discharged, then no one can try to collect the debt through the legal system.
  • Statute of limitations has expired. A statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline for legal action in various matters. We will discuss the Oklahoma statute of limitations on debt collection in more detail later in this article.

With SoloSuit you can make the right affirmative defenses the right way.

After you've exhausted your affirmative defenses you can also assert any counterclaims that you might have against the plaintiff. Counterclaims would most likely arise if the plaintiff violated any Oklahoma debt collection laws. Oklahoma follows the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Oklahoma further enacted it's own version of an Oklahoma fair debt collection practices act in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 7-101of Title 14A,which is titled the Uniform Consumer Credit Code -Fair Debt Collection Practices. It's important to keep in mind, however, that counterclaims can get complicated very quickly. If you believe you have a reasonable counterclaim against the plaintiff it would be best to get legal assistance to pursue it.

4. File the answer with the court and serve the plaintiff.

Your final step is to file your Answer with the Court. Confirm that you are within the 20 day deadline and then make sure to do the following:

  • Print at least two copies of your Answer
  • Mail one copy to the court
  • Mail the other copy to the plaintiff's attorney.

It's never a bad idea to make an extra copy of your Answer for your records which could be helpful at your hearing.

SoloSuit files for you.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


Start My Answer


>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Statute of Limitations on debt collection is five years for written contracts, promissory notes (mortgages), and credit cards. This five year debt collection restriction in Oklahoma includes most typical debt collection areas like medical debt, credit cards and auto loans. Both oral contracts and open contracts have the shorter statute of limitations of three years. Once the time period is passed, then your creditor can no longer pursue repayment through the Court system.

Oklahoma Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Oral

3

Written

5/span>

Mortgage

5/span>

Open

3

Credit Card

5

Judgment

3


Source: Findlaw



You can find legal aid organizations in every state that offer free services to residents who could not otherwise afford them. In Oklahoma you can look into the following:

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma

Oklahoma Free Legal Answer

Oklahoma Lawyers for America's Heros Program

Oklahoma Indian Legal Services

Oklahoma Court Locations

Oklahoma Court Locations

Key Takeaways

In short, here's a quick review on how to answer a summons for debt collection in Oklahoma.

  • Remember your response deadline is 20 days
  • Use SoloSuit or draft your own Answer.

Follow these three steps:

  1. Answer each issue in the complaint.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses
  3. File and serve the Answer

Good Luck!

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection Guides for Other States

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.