George Simons | October 19, 2022
Summary: Being sued for an old debt in Montana? Find out how to answer a summons for debt collection in Alaska with SoloSuit.
When you find out you're being sued for debt collection, you may be feeling overwhelmed and anxious about your financial future. The thought of simply ignoring the lawsuit may be tempting, especially if you are feeling intimidated at the idea of going to court to argue about an unpaid debt. Unfortunately, ignoring the summons will not make it go away. Failing to respond to the summons simply means you are raising the white flag of defeat and handing victory over to the debt collector.
The good news is that responding on your own to a debt collection lawsuit doesn't have to be intimidating, whether you're working with SoloSuit or you decide to arm yourself with more information. This article walks you through the steps to provide your own response to a debt collector's lawsuit in Alaska, including deadline information and forms specific to Alaska.
If a debt collector serves you with a debt summons and complaint in Alaska, you only have 20 days to file your answer and serve the court and plaintiff. Alternatively, you should serve the plaintiff's attorney if the plaintiff has an appointed attorney. If you fail to respond to the summons within the stipulated period, the plaintiff can ask the court to declare default judgment against you.
Do not wait until when it is too late to respond; SoloSuit makes answering a summons for debt collection in Alaska faster and easier.
Suppose you receive a call or letter from a debt collection agency. It is essential to remain calm and remember that state and federal laws protect you as the consumer and prohibit debt collectors from performing unfair collection practices. Keep in mind that you have a right to have the debt in question verified before agreeing to any repayment options.
If a debt collector calls you directly, ask them to confirm their name and the debt collection agency they work for. You should also ask the debt collection representative to confirm the details of the debt, including the total amount, the period within which you incurred the debt, and the name of the original lender.
Ensure you receive a written verification letter containing all the necessary details before making any payments towards settling your debt. At this point, you may also negotiate with the collector for a one-off payment that is lower than the total debt.
Suppose you wish to dispute the debt upon receiving the verification letter or realize that you do not owe the plaintiff any debt. In that case, you can ask the collecting agency, in writing, to only communicate with you through mail or cease contacting you altogether.
It is critical to note that Alaska's law and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) do not discontinue legitimate debts. Therefore, if the collector verifies your debt, the best course of action would be to answer the debt collection summons and negotiate a reasonable repayment plan.
If you do not know how to respond to a debt collection case in Alaska, read on for a step-by-step guide. Alternatively, you can respond via SoloSuit, which makes the entire process faster and easier.
Here are the steps you need to take to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Alaska.
The first step in responding to a debt collection lawsuit in this northwestern state is to create an answer document with the necessary information on the complaint and summons. This information may include:
After creating your answer document by yourself or via SoloSuit, the next step is to respond to each paragraph of the complaint by admitting to the allegations, denying the allegations, or telling the court that there is insufficient information to either admit or deny the particular allegation.
To have a judgment granted in your favor based on an affirmative defense, you need to prove the defense in court. If you can prove your defense during the trial, you may convince the court that you do not owe the plaintiff any debt.
Below are some of the affirmative defenses that may apply to your case in Alaska:
Not your debt: Sometimes, a creditor can sue you for a debt that you do not owe because of an error in their financial records or because of a case of stolen identity. If you believe that the debt in question is not yours and can prove it in court, do not hesitate to state that in your defense.
Incorrect amount: If you made a partial payment or full payment towards settling a debt that a collector is suing for, you could add a wrong debt claim to your affirmative defenses. You may win the case if you can prove to the court that the amount listed by the plaintiff is not the amount you owe.
Unknown plaintiff: In Alaska and other states, you have a right to make a debt collector prove ownership of a debt. Given that most collecting agencies buy debts from creditors, you can argue that you entered into an agreement with a different company or person from the one suing unless they prove they own the debt.
Statute of limitations: It is vital to keep in mind Alaska's Statute of limitations on different debts when adding your affirmative defenses. If the Statute of limitations on the debt has already expired, the plaintiff can no longer sue you for the debt.
Already litigated: If you or another person had a court case that addressed the debt in question, the plaintiff can't summon or sue you for the same debt. When raising the issue of previous litigation as your defense, you should include the case number and filing date. If the last case court was not in Alaska, remember to include the state where the plaintiff filed the case.
Bankruptcy: In most states, including Alaska, a debt collector can't sue you over a debt that was already part of a bankruptcy case. Suppose you are raising bankruptcy as your defense; you should include the court case number and date of filing.
Improper collateral: If your debt summons is about a loan that had collateral, you could argue that the creditor did not give you notice of sale or did not sell the collateral in a commercially viable manner.
In Alaska, a creditor must provide written notice of the sale of your collateral in a reasonable time before selling the collateral, usually ten days. This notice of sale must contain the following information.
In Alaska, you can serve the plaintiff your answer by hand delivery or mail. To do this, you will make two copies of your answer form.
Give one copy to the plaintiff's attorney and keep the other copy for future reference. If the plaintiff does not have an attorney, you can serve them directly. Ensure that you write down when and how you served the plaintiff in the bottom section of your original answer form, also known as the ‘Certificate of Service section.'
File your original answer and Counterclaim in court within the stipulated 20 days of being served the summons. Remember that courts in Alaska close at noon on Fridays. Therefore, if your answer form is due on a weekend or holiday, the due date will be pushed to the next day the court is open.
You should file your answer form in the court location where the plaintiff filed the complaint. The plaintiff usually indicates this location on the summons. Also, to avoid too much paperwork and uncertainty when responding to a debt collections summons, you can simply submit your answer via SoloSuit.
The Alaska Fair Trade Practice and Consumer Protection Act and The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from using deceptive and unfair practices when collecting a debt. Unfortunately, even though these laws are meant to protect you as the consumer, they do not forgive any valid debt that you may have accrued.
Some of the regulations set in place by these acts include:
Debt collectors cannot threaten violence, use abrasive language or call you repeatedly with the intent to annoy or harass you.
Debt collectors cannot make deceptive or misleading statements when collecting a debt. Examples of such statements include:
The FDCPA prohibits a debt collector from contacting third parties regarding your debt. If you have informed the collector and shared your attorney's contact information, the collector should contact you through your attorney.
These laws also limit the time and place a debt collector can contact you about a debt. Based on this limitation, a collector cannot contact you at your workplace or call you before 8.00 am or after 9.00 pm.
Under Alaska's debt collection regulations, a collector cannot continue to contact you after you have asked them, in writing, to stop. They can only do so to notify you of a specific action, such as initiating a lawsuit against you.
Alaska identifies as a protector of individual rights, and therefore, has more exemptions embodied in the "Alaska Exemptions Act", than most states. This Act details the categories of income exempted from garnishing.
The types of wages exempt from garnishment in Alaska include:
Subject to the exempted wages, Alaska allows a collector to garnish a maximum of 25 percent of your disposable income if they win the case against you. If you owe several debts, not all the debt collectors will be able to garnish your income.
In this context, disposable incoming refers to the total personal incoming minus personal current taxes.
Alaska Statute of Limitations
Deadline in Years
Before responding to a debt collection summons, you must check the debt's Statute of Limitations. Repaying a debt whose Statute of Limitations has already expired could effectively restart the Statute of Limitations - afresh.
Even though the Statute of Limitations does not erase the debt, it does turn it into a "time-barred debt." With such a debt, a collector may still follow up on the repayment. However, they cannot legally sue you.
Some creditors may still call and send you letters even when the Statute of Limitations on debt already expired.
If a debt collector attempts to collect a payment on a time-barred debt, you can write a letter asking the agency to stop contacting you. You may also need to consult an attorney if a creditor sues you after the Statute of Limitations has expired.
There are plenty of options you can consider to tackle your debt without hiring a credit counselor or taking out another loan. Here are some great examples:
Consolidating your debt: If you have borrowed money from different sources, it may not be easy to keep track of all the required monthly payments. It is, therefore, easy to fall behind on some expenses. Consolidating your debt by taking out a new loan to cover all your debts will leave you with only one lender and a single monthly payment.
Refinancing your loan: Refinancing is an excellent way to get a loan with better repayment terms and lower interest rates. But you can only refinance your loan if your credit score has improved from the time you incurred your debt.
It is easy for a debt situation to escalate from bad to worse. If you find yourself in an overwhelming debt crisis, bear in mind that debt relief organizations and nonprofits are ready to help you.
For instance, a nationwide firm like Money Management International, specializing in debt counseling services, can review your debt and help you get back on track.
You can also reach out to the Northern Justice Project, a privately-held law firm that takes on consumer protection matters and pro-bono work.
Being in debt shouldn't make you lose hope in life. With the right resources, it is possible to manage your debt situation. As described in the article, taking the required steps in responding to a debt summon, including asserting affirmative defenses and filing your answer on time, are some of the few actions that will help you fix this problem.
You should also bear in mind that SoloSuit offers an easy, legal and effective way to respond to a summons for debt collection in Alaska.
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.