What Is a Rule 3.740 Collections Defense in California?

George Simons

December 01, 2021

Summary: Are you struggling to find the right defense for your debt collection lawsuit? Learn all about a Rule 3.740 defense in California and see if it will work for you.

You may not know what to do when the debt collector knocks on your door demanding a loan payment. But you're not alone in this; according to a report by Pew Charitable Trusts, the number of Americans sued for not paying their debts has risen in recent years.

The debt collection lawsuit, or what is known as the rule 3.740 collection case, allows debt collectors to sue anyone with a debt of not more than $25,000. The majority of such cases involve credit card debt or money owed from buying property.

The sum stated, which shouldn't be more than $25,000, doesn't include interest or attorney fees. Furthermore, when you're facing a collection lawsuit, it doesn't translate to any of the following:

  • Punitive damages.
  • Tort damages.
  • An action to recover personal or real property.
  • Prejudgment writ of attachment.

After receiving the rule 3.740 collection case letter, here's what to do next.

First of all, don't ignore the letter because it'll make the situation even worse for you. By simply doing nothing about it, it won't make the case go away, nor will the plaintiff forget about the debt.

For this reason, it's advisable to adhere to the following rule 3.740 collections defense strategies.

Make the right defense with SoloSuit and win your case.

Respond to the debt collection lawsuit within 30 days

In California, you have up to 30 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in writing. The rule 3.740 collection case letter will often indicate that you should write a letter to the court as your response.

Failure to do so may result in the court taking punitive legal action against you, which may place you in an even worse financial situation.

Note that the 30 days are inclusive of weekends and court holidays. So, for example, if the last day after the date you're served with a debt collection lawsuit falls on a day when the court is closed, you'll be given one more day when the court reopens to file a response.

SoloSuit can help you create an answer document that meets all the requirements of the state of California within minutes!

How to respond to a Rule 3.740 collections case letter

You'll need to follow a specific procedure when filing a response with the court.

Some rule 3.740 collection case letters may contain a physical fill-in form. If you don't find a physical form attached, you'll need to fill the response form online.

When writing an answer form, you have two options:

  • Deny the claim.
  • Accept the claim but give reasons why you haven't paid the debt.

Alternatively, to make things easier, you can file your answer via SoloSuit. The software provides all the required forms to compile your answer, which is then reviewed by an attorney and submitted to the court and plaintiff.

Use SoloSuit to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in 15 minutes.

Option 1: Deny the Claim

You'll need to fill a general denial form stating that the plaintiff's claims are false. Debt collectors' claims aren't always accurate; you can use this argument to your advantage. For instance, you can inform the court that the debt owed is less than the plaintiff's claim.

If you choose this option, it's advisable to write any affirmative defense you want to present to the court. Below are two commonly used defenses that can help your case:

Running of the Statute of Limitations. You can only use this affirmative defense if the statute of limitation has elapsed. The statute of limitations is a set period that a debt collector can initiate legal proceedings against you. For instance, the statute of limitations for written contracts in California is four years.

If the debt collector fails to bring a claim against you within the statute of limitations, you can request the court to dismiss the case on these grounds.

The Cause of Action Isn't Stated. A debt collection lawsuit ought to state all the necessary elements relating to the case. These elements include:

  • The written or oral contract.
  • Plaintiff's compliance with the contract.
  • Evidence of breach of contract.
  • Damages sustained by the plaintiff due to the defendant's breach of contract.

If the debt collection lawsuit doesn't state one of these elements, you can use this as an affirmative defense. After filing an answer denying the claim, the court can either set a trial date or dismiss the case if the debt collector fails to prosecute the case.

Option 2: Accept the claim but give reasons why you haven't paid the debt

Choosing this option means that the plaintiff's claims are true, but you have valid reasons to explain why you haven't paid the debt just yet. In that case, you'll need to file an answer with the court then serve the plaintiff in person or via mail.

After that, you'll need to file proof of service that serves as evidence that you indeed responded to the court in time and served the plaintiff. However, when you use SoloSuit, you don't have to worry about serving your response to the other parties. Instead, the software does that automatically on your behalf.

Avoid bankruptcy by responding to debt collectors fast with SoloSuit.

File for bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy will stop the creditor from taking further legal action against you. You'll need to contact a local bankruptcy attorney to help you with this.

If you're being sued for not paying your credit card bills or other loan payments, it's important to address the situation as soon as possible. Failure to do so may worsen the situation.

Using SoloSuit is one of the easiest ways to respond to a debt collection lawsuit. The software prepares and files your answer document in three easy steps, saving you the trouble of not responding to a debt collection lawsuit in time and correctly.

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


Get Started


>>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

How to answer a summons for debt collection in your state

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

Guides on how to beat every debt collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.

Win against credit card companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get answers to these FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendant's Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouse's Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

Does Student Debt Die With You?

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

How Long Does a Judgment Last?

Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

You're Drowning in Debt — Here's How to Swim

Help! I'm Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Here's What to Do

How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

How to Stop a Garnishment

Debt Eraser Review

Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?

Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?

How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?

How Long Does a Judgement Last?

​​How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?

How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court