Let debt collectors know their time is up.
Summary: Are you being sued by a debt collector for an old debt? Learn how to use the statute of limitations on debt collection in Montana to win your case.
If you have debt collectors pursuing you in Montana, it is important to attain a general understanding of the statute of limitations on debt collection within the state. Why? Because if the statute of limitations has lapsed on the debt allegedly owed, it means the debt collector is legally prohibited from taking you to court to try and collect on the debt.
Statute of limitations will vary depending on the type of debt owed
Montana, certain debts have various statutes of limitation, as follows:
Montana Statute of Limitations
Deadline in Years
If a debt collector is acting outside the statute of limitations in Montana, you can have the lawsuit dismissed in almost all cases. Note that the statute of limitations clock starts when you last made a transaction on an account, such as using it for a purchase or making a payment.
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Legal actions in Montana
Creditors can pursue any debts that are owed to them. They are allowed to contact you by phone, email, fax, and telegram. However, there are several laws at both the state and federal levels that set forth how a debt collector can operate in a particular state and the types of collection techniques that may be used when attempting to contact consumers.
Improper debt collection tactics in Montana
Below are things that debt collectors cannot do in Montana when they are still acting within the statute of limitations:
- They cannot call you or contact you in any way when you have asked them to stop. They also cannot call when they have been told to not contact you at work.
- The debt collector cannot use intimidating or profane language to you or your friends and relatives about your debts.
- They cannot pretend to be law enforcement to get you to pay debts.
- Attempting to collect on fees and penalties well above the amount owed (i.e. basically padding their pockets for enhanced profit).
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Debt settlement rules
There are many local and federal laws in the US and the state of Montana that govern what companies can do and cannot do regarding debt settlement and negotiation. It can be hard for consumers to understand which companies are legitimate and which ones are scams. You can work with debt settlement companies or attorneys that can get you possibly lower interest rates, debt consolidation, or delayed payments. Some of the ways that these services can help you include:
- Avoiding the high fees that consume much of the money that you save for debt repayment
- Low rates of success in settling debts
- Failing to follow through, which can lead to them not reporting to credit agencies
Montana laws and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
The FDCPA lays out what collection agencies can and cannot do across the US. They are not allowed to tell your employers about your debts. Nor can they try to collect fees that are more than what you owe. They also cannot call you before 8 am or after 9 pm.
If you can show that the debt collection company did any of the above, you may be able to file a counterclaim. If you succeed, you could get the debt collection firm to pay your legal fees and damages.
Other points on responding to debt collectors in Montana
As long as the debt collector is acting within the statute of limitations in Montana, they may eventually file a lawsuit against you. It's important to respond to the lawsuit and not ignore it. If you ignore it, the debt collector wins and they'll probably come after your wages and bank account.
The good news is there are things you can do to fight back. Once you have been served with a lawsuit, you cannot call the Montana debt collector to figure things out; everything needs to go through the court. Here are things you can do in your legal Answer to the lawsuit:
- Do not admit that you owe what they say you owe. Instead, you need to make the debt collector prove that you owe it. Make them prove that you're the person who owes the debt and that you owe the exact amount they claim.
- File the answer with your clerk of court, ideally in-person to ensure it's filed within the time limit.
- Get a stamped copy of your answer from the clerk of court.
- Mail it to the debtor with a return receipt.
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Another way to attack the lawsuit is to question their legal standing to file a suit against you. This is where you can use debt collection practices against them. You see, most debts that aren't paid for a long time get sold to several collection agencies. They may not have all the paperwork they need to prove that you owe the debt and the exact amount.
The burden of proof is on the debt collection company, not on you. If you ask the creditor to produce the paperwork, they may not always be able to do so. If that is the case, the judge may dismiss the lawsuit.
For example, if the debt collector in Montana says you owe $14,000, you should request paperwork that you opened that account and that you owe that amount. The paperwork needs to show that you used the card and owe that much money.
Some debt collectors will simply give up on you when you make them produce paperwork that they don't have easy access to. The idea is to make them have to work hard to sue you. If they do, they may decide to go after easier prey. Make them spend financial resources on going after you, use every legal means at your disposal!
Now that you know more about the statute of limitations and other debt collection information in Montana, you should have a better idea of the next steps. Remember to always take action when a debt collector sues you because you can often come out on top.
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.
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>>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
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