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

George Simons

May 13, 2020

Summary: Live in Oregon and need help responding to a debt collection lawsuit? Our automated service guides Oregonians through the process.

Why do people take an instant dislike to debt collectors? To save time later.

Getting sued by debt collectors is no one's favorite pastime. But, in this article we will try to ease the pain and make the process of responding to the lawsuit a little bit easier. We will show you how to answer a summons for debt collection in Oregon.

Before we begin, rest assured: you can fight and win your debt collection lawsuit.

Below, you'll find helpful topics on how to answer a summons for debt collection in the Beaver State.

  • Deadlines
  • Answer Forms
  • Steps to Respond to a debt collection case in Oregon
  • Oregon Legal Aid Organizations
  • Oregon Court Locations
  • Takeaways

Oregon Deadline for Answering a Debt Collection Summons

Here are the deadlines for answering a debt collection summons in Oregon

  • 30 days
  • 14 days – if you are sued in small claims court

When you get sued for a debt in Oregon, you normally only have 30 days to respond or you automatically lose your case. If you are sued in small claims court you only have 14 days to respond. We'll show you some ways to respond below. With SoloSuit, you can generate your response in 15 minutes and we'll have an attorney review it and even file it for you.

Oregon Answer to Summons Templates

To respond to your debt collection lawsuit, you need to make an Answer document that responds to the Summons and Complaint you received. SoloSuit helps you do this for free. Oregon courts also provide some helpful forms. Here are some helpful forms:

Use one of these forms to create your response to the debt collection lawsuit. You can also take a look at these other forms provided by Oregon Courts. Oregon also provides an eFiling option, but we didn't think it was easy to use.

Answer Filing Fees for Oregon

Oregon courts charge a filing fee to file your Answer with them. I know, it's pretty messed up: you get sued for a debt and you have to pay a fee just to respond, even if you don't owe the debt. If you wanted to sound like a lawyer you'd say, “that's unconscionable!” But pay you must. Here is how the fees break down.

Small Claims Filing Fee*
Amount in Controversy Filing Fee
Less than $2,500 $57
$2,500–$10,000 $102
Civil Cases Filing Fee**
Amount in Controversy Filing Fee
Less than $10,000 $170
$10,000–$50,000 $283
$50,000–$1M $594
*Lawsuits under $10,000, generally.

**Claims over $10,000, any amount of counterclaim, or requesting a jury trial

Source: Oregon Judicial Department Fee Schedule

Oregon has some of the highest filing fees in the country. Looks like the courts need to do a little more yoga and chill out.

Let's consider an example to see how to use this table. Tim is sued for $1000 in small claims court in Oregon. Since the amount in controversy, $1,000, is less than $2,500, Tim needs to pay the $57 filing fee.

With SoloSuit, we'll take care of paying your filing fees for you.

Steps to Respond to a Debt Collection Case in Oregon

A lawsuit begins when you receive the Complaint and Summons. In most states, these documents needed to be handed personally to someone at your home. However, these documents are frequently delivered incorrectly, a process called “sewer service.” Once you receive the Complaint and Summons, your clock starts ticking and you need to respond or you will lose your case.

To respond, you need to create an Answer document.

There are four steps to responding to a debt collection lawsuit.

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

Let's check out each step.

1. Create an Answer Document.

The first step to responding to a debt collection lawsuit is creating your answer document.

First, you must gather the information listed on the Complaint and Summons and add it to your Answer. This includes

  • Personal information: address, name, etc.
  • Plaintiff information: the attorney suing you, the company suing, etc.
  • Court information: the name of the court the case is in, the state, the address of the court, etc.
  • Case information: the case number, index number, or civil number, the amount of the lawsuit, etc.

This information is called “styling” by the courts. You must add it properly to your Answer document. Once you have created your Answer document and added this information steps two and three help you flesh out your Answer.

2. Respond to each issue of the Complaint.

Next, you need to respond to every paragraph of the Complaint. The Complaint includes several numbered paragraphs that lay out the lawsuit against you. For debt collection cases, there are usually between 10 and 30 numbered paragraphs. Read each paragraph and decide how you want to respond. You can only respond in three ways:

  • Admit: Admit the paragraph if you agree with everything in the paragraph.
  • Deny: Deny the paragraph if you disagree with anything in the paragraph.
  • Defendant denies the allegation for lack of knowledge sufficient to know the truth or falsity thereof: This is a lawyerly way of saying “I don't know.” Choose this option if you don't understand the paragraph or if you don't have the information needed to respond to it.

Choose one of these responses and write it into your Answer after the corresponding paragraph number.

Many attorneys recommend making a general denial, where you deny everything in the complaint and force the other side to prove everything. This is a good strategy in many cases.

3. Assert your affirmative defenses.

An “affirmative defense” is a reason why the person suing you doesn't have a case; it is your defense against the lawsuit. You must list these defenses in your Answer otherwise, you can't bring them up later. That's right, asserting your affirmative defenses is a once in a lifetime opportunity: if you don't bring them up now, you are legally prohibited from bringing them up later. Many online forms don't help you assert your affirmative defenses, SoloSuit does.

Here are some of the more common defenses we see:

  • The account with the debt is not your account
  • The contract was already canceled. Therefore you don't owe the creditor anything.
  • The statute of limitations has expired. A statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline on an action. See below for the statute of limitations in Oregon.
  • The debt has been paid or excused.
  • The debt has been partially paid.
  • You were a co-signer but were not informed of your rights as a co-signer.

These are a few of the many affirmative defenses. Being unable to pay the debt is not normally a legal defense to the debt.

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

Once you have created your Answer, responded to the paragraphs in the Complaint, and asserted your affirmative defenses, you are ready for the final step: file your Answer. The Answer document by itself is worthless unless you file it properly. Otherwise, it's like doing homework and not turning it in. SoloSuit takes care of this for you so you don't have to worry about buying a printer and figuring out whether you need Certified Mail or Priority Mail at the Post Office.

Here's what you need to do to file your answer.

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

The address for the attorney will be in the Summons and Complaint you received in the mail. But where is the address for the Court? Good question, most Summons don't list the address of the Court. And the mailing address is often different from the physical address of the court listed on Google. That's why we spent the last month calling every court in Oregon to find the mailing address for you. They are listed below.

Once you complete this final step: Congrats! You have successfully responded to your debt lawsuit. With SoloSuit, 50 percent of our customer's cases have been dismissed.

Oregon Legal Aid Organizations

Every state has at least one government-funded organization that provides free legal services to people. Oregon has one.

Legal Aid Services of Oregon

520 SW Sixth Avenue, Ste 1130

Portland, OR 97204

(503) 224-4094

https://lasoregon.org/

Child Support Helpline

1-800-383-1222

Monday, 1 - 4 p.m., and Thursday, 9 - noon.

Public Benefits Hotline

1-800-520-5292

Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 - noon, and

Monday through Thursday, 1 - 4 p.m.

Oregon Court Mailing Addresses

To file your Answer, you need to get it to your court. For many people, the easiest way to do this is to mail it. But it can be surprisingly difficult to find the mailing address for your court online. So we've listed the mailing address for all Oregon courts here.

Mailing Address Phone Number Mailing Address Phone Number
Baker County Circuit Court

1995 3rd Street, Suite 220

Baker City, Oregon 97814

(541) 523-6305 Lake County Circuit Court

513 Center Street

Lakeview, OR 97630

541.947.6051
Benton County Circuit Court

Post Office Box 1870

Corvallis, OR, 97339-1870

(541) 243-7850 Lane County Circuit Court

125 East 8th Avenue

Eugene, OR 97401

(541) 682-4020
Clackmas County Circuit Court

807 Main St

Oregon City, OR 97045

(503) 655-8447 Lincoln County Circuit Court

PO Box 100

Newport, Oregon 97365

541.265.4236
Clatsop County Circuit Court

PO Box 835

Astoria, OR 97103

(503) 325-8555 Linn County Circuit Court

PO Box 1749

Albany, OR 97321

541.967.3845
Columbia County Circuit Court

230 Strand Street

Saint Helens, OR 97051

(503) 397-2327 (ext. 341)​ Malheur County Circuit Court

251 B. Street W, Box 3

Vale, OR 97918

(541) 473-5171
Coos County Circuit Court

250 N Baxter St

Coquille, OR 97423

541.396.7500 Marion County Circuit Court

P.O. Box 12869

Salem, OR 97309

(503) 588-5105
Coos County Circuit Court

PO Box 865

North Bend, OR 97459

541.751.2300 State Courts

PO Box 609

Heppner, OR 97836

541.676.5264
Crook County Circuit Court

300 NE Third Street, Room 21

Prineville, Oregon 97754

541.447.6541 Multnomah County Courthouse

1021 SW Fourth Avenue

Portland, OR 97204-1123

503-988-6279, option 4
Curry County Circuit Court

94235 Moore St. Suite 200

Gold Beach, OR 97444

(541) 247-4511 Justice Center

Third Floor

1120 SW Third Avenue

Portland, Oregon 97204

971-274-0750
Deschutes County Circuit Court

1100 NW Bond Street

Bend, OR 97703

541.388.5300 ext. 2090 Multnomah East County Courthouse

18480 SE Stark Street

Portland, OR 97233

971-274-0700
Douglas County Circuit Court

1036 SE Douglas Ave

Roseburg, Oregon 97470

541.957.2470 Polk County Circuit Court

Room 301

850 Main Street

Dallas, OR 97338

(503) 623-3154
Gilliam County Circuit Court

PO Box 622

Condon, OR 97823

(541) 384-3572 Sherman Circuit Court

PO Box 402

Moro, OR 97039

(541) 565-3650
Grant County Circuit Court

Oregon Judicial Department

PO Box 159

Canyon City, OR 97820

541.575.1438 Tillamook County Court

201 Laurel Avenue

Tillamook, OR 97141

503.842.2596
Harney County Circuit Court

Oregon Judicial Department

450 N. Buena Vista #16

Burns, OR 97720

541.573.5207 State Courts

216 SE 4th Ave.

Pendleton OR 97801

541.667.3020
Hood River County Circuit Court

309 State Street

Hood River, OR 97031

(541) 386-3535 State Courts

216 SE Fourth Street

Pendleton, OR 97801

541.278.0341
Jackson County Circuit Court

100 S Oakdale

Medford, Oregon 97501

(541) 776-7171 Union County Circuit Court

1105 K Ave

La Grande, OR 97850

(541) 962-9500
Jefferson County Circuit Court

129 SW E Street, Suite 101

Madras, OR 97741

541.475.3317 Wallowa County Circuit Court

101 S River Street, Room 204

Enterprise, OR 97828

(541) 426-4991
Josephine County Courthouse

Department 17

500 NW 6th Street

Grants Pass, OR 97526-1975

(541) 476-2309 Wasco Circuit Court

PO Box 1400

The Dalles, OR 97058

(541) 506-2700
Klamath County Circuit Court

316 Main Street

Klamath Falls, OR 97601

(541) 883-5503 Washington County Circuit Court

Washington County Courthouse

150 N 1st Avenue MS37

Hillsboro, OR 97124

503.846.8888
Wheeler Circuit Court

PO Box 308

Fossil, OR 97830

(541) 763-2541
Yamhill County Courthouse

535 NE 5th Street

McMinnville, Oregon 97128

503.434.7530

Takeaways

So, here's the review on how to answer a summons for debt collection in Oregon.

You have respond within these deadlines:

  • 30 days
  • 14 days – if you are sued in small claims court

You can use SoloSuit to respond. We can help you pay the filing fee.

To respond, do these steps:

  1. Create an Answer document
  2. Respond to each issue in the complaint.
  3. Assert your affirmative defenses
  4. File and serve the Answer

Good Luck!