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

George Simons | December 05, 2023

When you win your Idaho debt collection lawsuit ^^

Summary: You have 21 days to respond to a debt collection Summons in Idaho before you lose automatically. You should respond by filing an Answer with the court. Idaho courts charge a $136 Answer filing fee, and you must pay or your documents will be rejected. SoloSuit can help you respond in just 15 minutes and increase your chances of winning 7x.

“My debt collector is my best friend!” — said no one ever.

No one likes getting sued for a debt. It can be stressful and unfamiliar. But the good news is that even without any legal training, you can defend yourself. If you read and follow the steps outlined below, you will learn how to file the right documents to challenge the lawsuit against you and protect yourself from garnishment.

Below, we’ll discuss everything you should know about how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Idaho, including deadlines, forms, fees, and steps to drafting and filing your Answer.

Let’s get right to it.

Idaho has a deadline for answering a debt collection Summons

Every lawsuit begins with a Summons and Complaint. Once those documents have been filed, they must be served on you. Once you have been served, a clock starts ticking, meaning you only have a certain amount of time to respond.

Under Rule 12 of Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure, it states:

“(A) a defendant must serve an answer within 21 days after being served with the summons and complaint.”

21 days–In Idaho, you only have 21 days to file an Answer with the court after you're served the Summons and Complaint. There are several things to remember:

  • The date you are served with the Summons and Complaint does not count in the calculation. This means that the clock starts ticking the day after you are given a copy of the Complaint.
  • This includes weekends and non-business holidays. 21 days is 21 days. But if the Court is closed on the 21st day, the deadline becomes the next day it is open.

If you miss the deadline, you have missed your chance to defend yourself. In only rare circumstances will a judge let you fight a lawsuit after you've missed the deadline.

If you have missed the deadline, the debt collector is entitled to a default judgment. This means the judge will grant their request to allow them to collect the full amount through wage garnishment and liens. If the amount is wrong, or you do not legally owe the money, it is now too late to do anything about it in most cases. So, make sure you don't miss the deadline.

File your Answer to a Summons and Complaint with SoloSuit.

Use these Idaho Answer forms to respond to a Summons and Complaint

To respond to the lawsuit you must file a document called an "Answer."

This is different from a reply or response, both of which are different legal documents. So if you are searching the internet for forms or information, use the word “answer” and ignore anything about a “reply” or “response.”

Use SoloSuit's free Answer form to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in California. Here’s what it looks like:

SoloSuit Answer form sample

It's quick and easy to fill, takes less than 15 minutes, and it has the best track record for debt collection lawsuits (we get cases dismissed every day). And did we mention it's free?

If you prefer to fill out your own Answer, Idaho courts also have some forms you can use to help you get started:

This option might be more challenging, because you have to figure out the legal terms to use to present a strong case. Solosuit’s Answer form helps you use professional, legal language and includes a section to assert your affirmative defenses. Either way, using some sort of form will help you in the process.

Idaho charges an Answer filing fee

Idaho courts charge a mandatory, statewide filing fee to file an Answer into your case. Idaho’s Answer filing fee is $136. If you try to send your Answer without paying the filing fee, the court will reject the document.

We know—it’s not fair to have to pay a fee just to defend yourself, but unfortunately that’s the reality in Idaho courts. If you cannot afford to pay the fee, you can fill out this fee waiver request. There is a good chance the court will grant your request, if you can prove financial hardship, and file your Answer without processing the fee.

Follow these steps to Answer a Summons in Idaho

When you get sued for debt in Idaho, you should receive a Summons and Complaint in the mail. These are court documents that initiate a lawsuit. The Summons notifies you of the case, while the Complaint lists the specific claims being made against you.

The first step to winning your lawsuit is to respond to the Summons and Complaint by filing a written Answer into the case.

Here are three steps to follow when you Answer a debt collection lawsuit in Idaho:

  1. Answer each claim listed in the Complaint.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses.
  3. File the Answer with the court and serve the plaintiff.

Now, let’s break down each step in detail. If you don’t like reading, try watching this video instead:

1. Answer each claim listed in the Complaint

The first section of your Answer document should focus on responding to each numbered claim listed in the Complaint document.

You should create a list with responses that correspond to the numbered list of claims from the Complaint. If you fail to respond to even one of the claims, the court will interpret it as an admission. This is why you should reply to everything listed in the Complaint with one of these three responses:

  • Admit—this is like saying, “This is true.”
  • Deny—this is like saying, “Prove it.”
  • Deny due to lack of knowledge—this is like saying, “I don’t know.”

Most attorneys recommend denying as many claims as possible. This will give you a stronger case, because it forces the opposing party to prove their claims.

Please remember, if you admit a claim in your Answer, you may be unable to deny it later. There is no rule against denying every paragraph but you should agree if you know for a fact that the paragraph is true. Also, do not skip any paragraphs; each numbered paragraph should have a response.

Respond to a Summons and Complaint in minutes with SoloSuit.

2. Assert your affirmative defenses

What if you want to do more than just deny the claims from the Complaint? What if you have a legal defense? After listing your responses, you should add a section where you assert your affirmative defenses. An affirmative defense is a reason why the person suing you doesn't have a case.

Rule 8(c) of Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure outlines some of the affirmative defenses you can assert in a civil lawsuit:

“(1) In General. In responding to a pleading, a party must affirmatively state any avoidance or affirmative defense, including:

(A) accord and satisfaction;
(B) arbitration and award;
(C) assumption of risk;
(D) contributory or comparative responsibility;
(E) duress;
(F) estoppel;
(G) failure of consideration;
(H) fraud;
(I) illegality;
(J) injury by fellow servant;
(K) laches;
(L) license;
(M) payment;
(N) release;
(O) res judicata;
(P) statute of frauds;
(Q) statute of limitations;
(R) waiver; and
(S) discharge in bankruptcy.”

As you can see, there are many affirmative defenses you can use in your Answer document. You’re probably wondering what a lot of these mean. SoloSuit makes it simple by using everyday language when you fill out the Answer form translating it to the legal wording for you.Here are some of the more common affirmative defenses we see in debt collection lawsuits:

  • I already paid that debt. This is called satisfaction. If you believe you have already taken care of the debt, you need to tell the judge. You will have to show proof later, but for now, you simply make the allegation.
  • You have the wrong person. First, you should have denied the paragraphs where the Complaint says you owe money and haven't paid. But you can also let the judge know they have the “improper party.” This means that they have the wrong person.
  • The amount is wrong. Sometimes you admit you owe them some money but the amount is wrong. This could be because they miscalculated or maybe they have added fees and/or interest to your balance. If you did not agree to pay the fees or interest, you should dispute it. You can dispute the amount by simply denying the paragraph in the Complaint that states how much the debt is for.
  • The debt is old. Sometimes a debt is several years old by the time the suit is filed against you. In that case, you should assert a statute of limitations defense. In Idaho, the statute of limitations is 5 years for written contracts or 4 years for an oral contract.

These are a few of the many affirmative defenses. There may be others that meet your circumstances. However, you should be aware that simply being unable to pay the debt is not normally a legal defense to the debt.

Make the right affirmative defense the right way with SoloSuit.

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

Now that you’ve responded to all the claims and assert your affirmative defenses, you’re ready to file your Answer. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Print three copies of the Answer.
  • File a copy with the court.
  • Send a copy to the other side’s attorney.
  • Keep a copy for yourself.

You can mail the documents in or drop them off in person. Or, you can have SoloSuit file your Answer for you and serve the opposing attorney.

SoloSuit can file your Answer for you in all 50 states.

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.

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Idaho statute of limitations on debt

The statute of limitations is a law that governs how much time debt collectors or creditors have to sue someone for a debt.

According to Idaho Statutes, §5-217 states:

ACTION ON ORAL CONTRACT. Within four (4) years:
An action upon a contract, obligation or liability not founded upon an instrument of writing.”

This means that the Idaho statute of limitations for oral contracts is four years. In other words, the statute of limitations on credit card debt in Idaho is four years. So, if you haven’t made a payment on your credit card account for four or more years, you can’t be taken to court for the debt.

On the other hand, §5-216 states:

“ACTION ON WRITTEN CONTRACT. Within five (5) years:
An action upon any contract, obligation or liability founded upon an instrument in writing.”

Similarly, the Idaho statute of limitations for written contracts is five years. So for any contract that is in writing, debt collectors and creditors only have five years from the last activity on the account to sue.

An inactive account means that no payment has been made on it, and no payment agreement or plan has been set up. If you start making payments on an old debt again, this will restart the clock on the statute of limitations. So always check the statute of limitations on a debt before agreeing to make any payments to your creditor or debt collectors.

However, keep in mind that an expired statute of limitations will do nothing to keep a creditor or debt collector from suing you; they may try to take you to court and hope that you are not aware of the debt timeline. This is why you should use the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense if it applies to your case. It's the only way you can get out of a lawsuit and avoid being pressured to pay the debt.

Use the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense in your Answer.

The table below highlights Hawaii's statute of limitations on different types of debt:

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Idaho

Debt Type Deadline in Years
Credit Card 4
Oral contracts 4
Open accounts 4
Written contracts 5
Rent 5
Judgment 6
Findlaw

Idaho court locations for debt collection lawsuits

Once you’ve filed your Answer, it’s important to stay updated on the status of your court case. You can call the court clerk or pay a visit to the courthouse to do so.

SoloSuit has compiled this Idaho courts directory to make checking your case status easier. This directory includes courthouse addresses and court clerk phone numbers.

Idaho legal aid organizations can help you

Like all the other U.S. states, Idoah has government-funded organizations where you can receive free legal services. You can find out more information on how to get legal aid in Idaho below:

Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc.
(208) 336-8980
1447 S. Tyrell Lane
Boise, ID 83706

ILF Volunteer Lawyers Program
(208) 334-4500
525 W. Jefferson Street
Boise, ID 83702

What happens after you file your Answer to the Idaho Summons

Once you have filed your Answer, the lawsuit is now in dispute. The next step is for the court to set a hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to figure out the schedule and set deadlines for the remainder of the proceeding. Be on the lookout for a scheduling order or a hearing notice in the mail. Often the initial “hearing” is a phone call with everyone on the line to coordinate everyone's schedule.

That being said, some debt collectors would rather drop the case after receiving an Answer. If this is the case, you won’t have to attend any hearing.

What if I can’t pay?

Not having the money to pay for the debt is not a legal defense. However, filing bankruptcy would put the debt collection on hold and, depending on your circumstances, may mean you never have to pay back the debt. If you want to know more about bankruptcy, including a free bankruptcy service, check out Upsolve.com

Idaho debt collection laws can protect you sketchy debt collectors

As a consumer, you have rights. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has rules that govern the conduct of debt collectors when they contact you about a debt. Collection agencies are forbidden from:

  • Contacting you multiple times per day.
  • Contacting you prior to 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
  • Contacting you after receiving a cease-and-desist notice.
  • Contacting your family, friends, or coworkers regarding your debt.
  • Refusing to provide validation for your debt.

If you experience a debt collector using any of these methods, report them immediately. You can report them using the FTC online platfor, or by calling them at 877-382-4357. Additionally, you can report them to the CFPB, using their website, or by calling 855-411-2372.

Key Takeaways

So, in short, here's the review on how to Answer a Summons for debt collection in Idaho.

  • You have 21 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Idaho.
  • Use SoloSuit’s Answer form, or Idaho courts forms, to respond to the lawsuit.
  • Idaho courts charge an Answer filing fee of $136.
  • Follow these three steps to make and file your Answer: 1) Answer each claim listed in the Complaint, 2) Assert your affirmative defenses, and 3) File the Answer with the court and serve the plaintiff.
  • SoloSuit can help you draft and file your Answer in 15 minutes.
  • The statute of limitations on credit card debt in Idaho is four years.
  • Idaho has legal aid organizations that can assist you.

We hope this guide has been helpful. Reach out to us at SoloSuit if you have any questions or would like help drafting and filing your Answer. Good luck!

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