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How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Oklahoma (2023 Guide)

Eva Bacevice | July 21, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Summary: You have 20 days to respond to a debt lawsuit in Oklahoma. To respond, you must file a written Answer in which you address each claim against you and assert your affirmative defenses. SoloSuit can help you with each step of responding to a lawsuit and more..

Getting sued is stressful. Getting sued for debt collection is even more stressful because chances are you don't have the money to pay off your debt, let alone legal fees. Not having enough money coming in is probably the reason you got behind in the first place. This probably means that there isn't extra money available to hire an attorney to help you out. So now you're faced with the stress of a lawsuit as well as uncertainty for how to proceed on your own behalf.

You may feel tempted to ignore the whole thing, but you need to fight that impulse. Ignoring a lawsuit will result in only one outcome: the person suing you wins.

The best thing that you can do to protect yourself is respond. If you've been sued for debt in Oklahoma, the first step to responding is to file a written Answer with the court. We'll walk you through everything you need to know about responding in Oklahoma, including state deadlines, the process of drafting an Answer, and available forms to help you out.

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You have 20 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, the deadline to respond to a debt lawsuit is just 20 days. The lawsuit begins when a Summons and Petition are filed against you. These documents are served on you, either in person or through the mail. You should be able to see the filing date clearly on both documents, along with the accompanying certificate of service. That filing date is when the clock starts ticking, so you need to determine the deadline for your response counting 20 days from that date (including weekends).

For example, Jack was served a Summons and Petition for a credit card debt he owed. The filing date says March 1, 2022 on the Summons. Jack must respond by March 21, 2022 to meet the deadline.

If you fail to respond before the deadline, then the plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit against you) will ask the Court for a default judgment. A default judgment means that the filing party will win based solely on the non-response from the defendant (you.) So if this happens, not only have you lost the case, but the plaintiff (either your creditor or more likely a debt collection agency who purchased the debt from your original creditor) can now use that default judgment order to get a garnishment against your paycheck or back account.

This usually results in money coming out of your paycheck before you even see it, which just makes your financial situation even more precarious. Additionally, you no longer have an opportunity to dispute anything in the lawsuit (like the amount of the debt) or a chance to set up a payment plan that you can reasonably afford. So the stakes are actually even higher than they might originally appear, which is why filing your response within that 20 day time period is the single best thing you can do to protect yourself.

Use an Answer form to respond a debt collection case in Oklahoma

While many states offer online forms that you can fill in directly from the court's website, Oklahoma does not. Don't let that stop you, however, from having the confidence to file your own response.

Drafting and filing a written Answer to a debt collection lawsuit isn't as complicated as you might think. SoloSuit will walk you through each step so you can have the strongest response possible.

You can draft a free Answer on SoloSuit's site in less than 15 minutes. All you have to do is answer a few questions online, and Solosuit will translate your responses into the necessary format and legalese for the court documents.

Additionally, to give you peace of mind, we'll have an attorney review the completed documents to make sure everything is correct. Then SoloSuit will file all the paperwork on your behalf. You don't even need to leave your house!

Watch out for Answer Filing fees

Luckily, there are no fees to file an Answer in Oklahoma! That being said, you should double check the court's fee schedule if you plan to file a counterclaim or motion into your case. There may be fees for these: Oklahoma Court Fees

Follow these steps on how to answer a Petition in an Oklahoma debt collection case

If you decide to file your own response to a debt collection case in Oklahoma there are a few important things to keep in mind before you get started. First and foremost, make certain that you file your response before the end of the twenty day deadline. Second, you can respond by filing an Answer document or by filing a Motion. This article will focus on the Answer document only. Motions are by their very nature more complex, and best left to legal counsel. An Answer document, by contrast, is pretty straightforward and made up of the steps below:

  1. Answer each issue of the complaint
  2. Assert affirmative defenses
  3. File one copy of the Answer document with the court and serve the plaintiff with another copy.

Now, let's break down each of these steps a little further. Don't like reading? Check out this video instead:

1. Answer each issue listed in the Petition.

The first step to drafting your Answer is to respond to the allegations in the Complaint. You should respond to each and every allegation separately. You'll probably notice that the allegations are listed out in numbered paragraphs. You should structure your answers the same way, and list your response to each numbered paragraph in a corresponding paragraph starting with the same number. It's simpler than it sounds - for the allegation in paragraph #1, you should write your response in your paragraph #1.

For every allegation you can use one of the below three answer choices. Think of this as answering “just the facts.” It's ok to admit to things that are true, such as factual information that is correct, like your name or account number. Answering these in the affirmative (by stating “admit”) will not hurt your case. You don't have to deny every allegation to win the lawsuit. You can if you like, but realistically you only need to win on one issue.

  1. Admit
  2. Deny
  3. Unable to Admit or Deny for lack of information

You should certainly put “deny” for any allegations that are not true. For instance, if the plaintiff said you refused to pay and that is not the case, you can simply list “deny.” You also have the opportunity to admit or deny “with explanation” if you think there are relevant facts to disclose to the Court. The final response is appropriate in cases where you don't have the ability to verify if something is true or false, for example details about the plaintiff company.

SoloSuit makes it simple to respond the right way.

2. Assert affirmative defenses.

This next section might even be a little fun. This is where you get to fight back, using affirmative defenses. Affirmative defenses are any reason that you can assert which shows that the plaintiff does not have a case. You can find a complete list of all of the available affirmative defenses available in the Oklahoma Statutes, Title 12 Civil Procedure §12-2008(C.) You are entitled to use any and all affirmative defenses that apply to your circumstances.

We will go over some of the more common affirmative defenses below. Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list. Please also note that, however true it may be, the inability to pay is not an affirmative defense.

  • Payment: This one is pretty straightforward. If you already paid the debt in question, they can't ask you to pay it again. This comes up fairly frequently because usually debt collection lawsuits aren't being brought by your original creditor. Rather, the plaintiff is a third-party debt collection agency who purchased the debt from your original creditor, usually in a large bundle of debts. This debt collection company makes money by trying to collect on all the debts, usually without doing a lot of research into each individual debt. Remember our discussion above about default judgments? If the plaintiff can intimidate someone into not responding to a lawsuit and get a default judgment, they don't need to prove anything further. Whereas if they have to look closer at each individual debt, it's possible that you already paid it or came to another agreement with your original creditor.

  • Accord and satisfaction: This is the legal terminology for any agreement that is made between two parties where less than the full amount owed will be accepted in full satisfaction of the total debt. So if you made an agreement like this with your original creditor that the debt buyer didn't find, you can again prove that you no longer owe the debt. Make certain to attach any proof you have of such an agreement, such as emails or canceled checks, to your response.

  • The debt was already discharged in a bankruptcy. If you previously filed a bankruptcy case which included this debt, and that bankruptcy was discharged, then no one can try to collect the debt through the legal system.

  • Statute of limitations has expired. A statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline for legal action in various matters. We will discuss the Oklahoma statute of limitations on debt collection in more detail later in this article.

With SoloSuit you can make the right affirmative defenses the right way.

After you've exhausted your affirmative defenses you can also assert any counterclaims that you might have against the plaintiff. Counterclaims would most likely arise if the plaintiff violated any Oklahoma debt collection laws. Oklahoma follows the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Oklahoma further enacted it's own version of an Oklahoma fair debt collection practices act in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 7-101of Title 14A,which is titled the Uniform Consumer Credit Code -Fair Debt Collection Practices. It's important to keep in mind, however, that counterclaims can get complicated very quickly. If you believe you have a reasonable counterclaim against the plaintiff it would be best to get legal assistance to pursue it.

3. File the Answer with the court and serve the plaintiff.

Your final step is to file your Answer with the Court. Confirm that you are within the 20 day deadline and then make sure to do the following:

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

It's never a bad idea to make an extra copy of your Answer for your records which could be helpful at your hearing.

SoloSuit files for you.

Use this sample Answer as your guide

Here's a handy, dandy sample Answer from SoloSuit to guide you in drafting your response to the Petition. Remember, you can access this form on SoloSuit's website for free and fill it out in a matter of minutes:

Sample Answer to Debt Collections Summons>

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

Check the statute of limitations on debt in Oklahoma

The statute of limitations on debt is 5 years in Oklahoma (Oklahoma Statute of Limitations) for written contracts, promissory notes (mortgages), and credit cards. This statute includes most typical debt collection areas like medical debt, credit cards and auto loans. Oral contracts and open contracts have a shorter statute of limitations of just 3 years.

In other words, if you haven't made a payment on your account for 5 or more years (3 for oral/open contracts), you cannot be sued for the debt in Oklahoma.

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Oklahoma

Debt Type Deadline
Credit Card 5 years
Medical 5 years
Student Loan 5 years
Auto Loan 5 years
Mortgage 5 years
Personal Loan 5 years
Judgment 5 years
Okla. Stat. tit. 12 § 95 and § 735

Settle your debt in Oklahoma before going to court

Maybe you know that you owe the debt. If this is the case, you might be wondering if debt settlement is a good option for you.

If you’ve been sued for debt, you can reach out to your creditors or debt collectors at any stage of the lawsuit to discuss debt settlement. Debt settlement is the process by which a consumer, like you, settles an outstanding debt for an amount that is less than the full amount owed.

SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, makes the debt settlement process simple.

As a tech-based approach to debt settlement, SoloSettle’s software can help you send and receive settlement offers until an agreement is reached. Then, it helps manage your documentation of the settlement and transfers your payment to the creditor or debt collector, keeping your financial information private and secure.

To learn more about how SoloSettle can help you settle your debt for good, watch this video:

What if I'm sued in Oklahoma small claims court?

Small claims cases involve claims less than $10,000 in Oklahoma. Here's everything you need to know about responding in Oklahoma small claims court.

The process for responding in a small claims court is very similar to a regular civil court of law. You should still file your written Answer within the deadline and and attend the scheduled court hearing to avoid a default judgment. During the hearing, you'll have the opportunity to give your side of the story, and a judge will make a decision in the case.

Should I hire a lawyer if I'm being sued for debt in Oklahoma?

Hiring an attorney can be time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. In fact, the cost to hire a lawyer might even be more than the debt you owe. SoloSuit makes it easy to represent yourself, saving you time and money.

With SoloSuit's premium package, an attorney will review your court documents and Answer before SoloSuit files it for you. That way, you can feel confident that you have the strongest case possible without going through the trouble of hunting down and hiring a lawyer.

You can also reach out to the various legal aid organizations that the state of Oklahoma has set up to help pro se litigants in navigating the legal system.

You can find legal aid organizations in every state that offer free services to residents who could not otherwise afford them. In Oklahoma you can look into the following:

Oklahoma Court Locations

Oklahoma Court Locations

Key Takeaways

In short, here's a quick review on how to answer a summons for debt collection in Oklahoma.

  • Remember your response deadline is 20 days
  • Use SoloSuit or draft your own Answer.

Follow these three steps:

  1. Answer each issue in the Petition.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses
  3. File and serve the Answer

Good Luck!

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