May 07, 2021
Summary: Are you being sued by Oportun Inc? Not sure what to do next? Find out how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit from Oportun Inc and win in court.
Oportun Inc. is one of the top filers of debt lawsuits in the United States. In California, for example, Oportun filed 30,000 collection lawsuits in 20 of the 58 counties in 2019 and 14,000 during the first half of 2020.
Oportun Inc is notorious for using litigious debt collection practices because it's the easiest way to secure monetary judgments against borrowers. Also, Oportun's high-interest rates and tendency to refinance loans to vulnerable groups cause many people to default.
If you find yourself being sued by Oportun, you may think all hope is lost. Keep reading to find out how you can win your Oportun lawsuit.
Oportun was established in 2005 by James Gutierrez, a grandson of a Mexican immigrant. It was initially named Progreso Financiero and was founded to help people of Latino descent access financial services. James spent the next few years securing funding by convincing investors that he'd successfully lend to people with negligible credit histories and modest incomes using a scoring system.
The premise was that analyzing a borrower's unique attributes would help determine the applicant's likelihood to repay a loan. James left the company in 2012, handing it over to Vazquez, who rebranded the company to Oportun. At the time of his departure, James secured funding from major players, including Greylock and Madrone Capital.
Under Vazquez, the company expanded operations to 10 more states and offered auto loans too. To date, the company has disbursed more than 3.9 million loans valued at $9 billion and had nearly 800,000 active consumers.
Oportun does not disclose fees and interest rates charged on loans, which vary by state. However, reports from California's Department of Business Oversight show Oportun charges anywhere from 40 to 69.99% APRs on loans of less than $2500. The company also claims it sets decreasing interest rates on refinanced loans. Despite its growing active customer count, it continues to sue many borrowers who have defaulted payments.
The high-interest rates on loans can add up quickly and place borrowers in a position to default if they can't get caught up in time. Keep reading to learn how you can beat this payday lender in court.
If you think Oportun won't sue you for small debt amounts, think again. A majority of Oportun's lawsuits comprise small loan amounts. For example, in Dallas and Harris counties, court records show borrowers were sued for claims of $1400 and below in 2019. Typically, payday lenders file lawsuits hoping you won't respond to the suit, so a default judgment is entered against you.
Such judgment entitles the lender to garnish your wages or attach a lien to property like cars, houses, and bank accounts. When served with a lawsuit, file your answer to the complaint before the deadline set in the summons. Also, show up for any court dates and ask for proof that you owe the debt. When you draft your answer to the complaint, you will want to include any relevant defenses to fight the lawsuit.
Debtors are entitled to protection from abusive debt collection tactics. This means Oportun should not harass or threaten you in an attempt to collect a debt. You can beat them at their game by demonstrating how the lender has violated FDCPA (Fair Debt Collections Practices Act) regulations, which prohibits them from:
You can file a countersuit showing Oportun violated FDCPA regulations in a state or federal court. However, you must sue the lender within one year from the date the alleged violation occurs; otherwise, this defense won't hold.
Federal law limits APR rates to 36% on payday loans advanced to military families. According to the Military Lending Act, the rule was enacted to prevent lenders from shackling military officers overseas.
If Oportun charged you higher interest rates, this gives you a solid defense against them. You can dispute the lawsuit on the grounds that the amount charged isn't correct and file a countersuit against the lender.
While it's not worth filing bankruptcy over a small debt, it may be your last resort if your unsecured debts amount to half or more of your income. This option is viable if you file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 91 days after applying for the payday loan.
If not, the law will assume you were thinking about filing for bankruptcy before or when taking out the loan. According to federal law, you have committed fraud, which may lead to imprisonment. You also lose any solid defense you can use against Oportun.
Note, while bankruptcy may be a sound defense against a payday lender like Oportun, Oportun may object to the discharge of the debt. For example, if the company believes you borrowed cash without planning to pay it back, Oportun may object to a bankruptcy charge.
Sometimes payday lenders associate with Native American tribes to avoid state laws. Such lenders don't need to comply with state laws because they're entitled to sovereign immunity. Under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, a tribe can't be sued by a governmental authority, state, or private party unless the tribe consents.
As such, it's easy for a payday lender to join a Native American tribe and begin to offer loans over the internet. Such a lender ignores any state interest-rate caps restrictions on payday lending in the pretext of sovereign immunity.
This practice is illegal. In this case, Oportun primarily focuses on Latino residents and charges exorbitant interest rates.
You can use one or more defenses to argue your case against Oportun. Falling behind on a high-interest debt happens more often than you may think. If you find yourself being sued by Oportun, don't lose hope. Consider hiring a lawyer to represent you or using our services to fight back.
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.
"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
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.