Start My Answer

How to Beat

Chloe Meltzer | January 10, 2024

Legal Expert
Chloe Meltzer, MA

Chloe Meltzer is an experienced content writer specializing in legal content creation. She holds a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, complemented by a Master’s in Marketing from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: Is suing you for a past due balance? Learn how your can beat them in court.

When you're being called by a debt collector it is never a good thing. It may either be because you owe on debt or even a case of mistaken identity. In this case, you are one of many millions of Americans dealing with debt in their everyday lives.

In many situations, a debt collector might use language that can cause you to feel fear. Being served with a lawsuit of any kind can do this already, the last thing you need is to have a debt collector making matters worse.

Following a lawsuit, there is an opportunity to have your wages, bank accounts, and other assets threatened. This is why it is essential to take charge, and ensure that you know all of your options, and way them accordingly when looking into how to beat

Don't let old debts wreck your credit. Use SoloSuit to file a response.

Always respond to the lawsuit

The number one mistake that most people make when being sued for a debt, is ignoring the debt lawsuit. This comes as a notice called a summons and complaint. If you do owe the debt then you may not think there is much you can do if you can't pay it. Despite this, it is extremely far from the truth. You must respond to the lawsuit to avoid the collection agency obtaining a default judgment against you.

Default judgments allow the creditors or debt collectors to wage garnishment or the ability to take money from your bank account. You may even have to pay court costs and attorney's fees on top of the original cost and interest. Overall it is a bad situation that you can avoid by simply responding to the lawsuit.

How to generate an “Answer”

Once the collection agency or creditor (referred to as the plaintiff in the lawsuit) actually files a lawsuit, it will then go before the court. Once this happens you cannot respond any longer through phone calls. Instead, you can only respond through letters. This is done through an “Answer”.

Tips for creating your Answer:

  • Always require the creditor to prove your responsibility for the debt
  • Never admit liability for the debt
  • File the Answer with the Clerk of Court
  • Ask for a stamped copy of the Answer
  • Send the stamped copy as certified mail to the creditor or debt collector
  • Respond within the allotted time on your summons (typically from 20 to 30 days)

Respond to debt collection lawsuits in 15 minutes with SoloSuit.

Challenge the right to sue

One of the best ways to respond to a debt lawsuit is to challenge the debt collectors' right to sue. Once the debt gets to this point, it has been sold more than one time. This means that it can be difficult to prove that you owe the debt, and a lawsuit may not be legally pursuable. If you do not respond, then you will not have the opportunity to bring this up. By not responding, you are essentially admitting your responsibility for the debt.

Debt collectors must provide

  • Credit agreement signed by you
  • Documentation of the chain of custody of all paperwork
  • Proof that you are responsible for the debt
  • Proof that they have the right to sue you
  • Proof of how much you specifically owe

Debt collectors must also show that the balance increased when you made purchases, or that it was increased due to fees and charges included in the original credit agreement. This must be signed by you. If you did not agree to any fees then you cannot be sued for them.

Make the right defense the right way with SoloSuit.

Examine the statute of limitations

The statute of limitations are laws that govern how long creditors can legally sue consumers for debt. They begin on the day that you last made a payment on your bill or debt, and end in a specified amount of time after. In many states, this is between four to six years but can range from two to twenty years.

What is defined as activity to start the statute of limitations?

Activity is defined as making a payment or drawing funds from an account. This might include using a credit card or making a payment on a balance. This means that is essential not to make a payment on your debt with a debt collector if they suddenly call you to collect. Be sure to look into the statute of limitations and see if the date to expire is coming up, or if it has already expired. This is essential because many debt collectors will push you to restart the statute to allow them to legally collect.

Look into the FDCPA

When debt collectors violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act it opens up avenues for you to countersue. They may be required to pay more than just your legal fees, but you may be able to seek compensation for any related damages. Examples of violations include:

  • Continued attempts to collect debts that you do not owe
  • Illegal communication tactics
  • Harassment
  • Disclosure of your debt to anyone other than your spouse or lawyer
  • Taking or threatening an illegal action
  • False statements
  • Falsely representing who they are
  • Improper contact
  • Excessive phone calls

SoloSuit helps you protect your assets from debt collectors.

Should you file for bankruptcy?

If you owe a debt and cannot pay, but are also going through other financial problems, then bankruptcy can be an option. In this case, you may consider filing bankruptcy. After filing, the debt collector must cease and desist all collection activity. This is not the best choice for your finances, as it can completely damage your credit score. Despite this, it may be the best step towards building your credit back.

When it comes to a debt collection lawsuit there is no one-size-fits-all. Whatever decisions you make about defending yourself should be based on your situation. Your finances will continue to develop your entire life, so you should keep an eye on your credit score and your debts. Just remember, if you are served with a debt collection lawsuit, you must respond.

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 all 50 states

Here's a list of guides on how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in each state:

The Ultimate 50 State Guide

Guides on how to resolve debt with every debt collector

Are you being sued by a debt collector? We’re making guides on how to resolve debt with each one.

Resolve your debt with your creditor

Some creditors, banks, and lenders have an internal collections department. If they come after you for a debt, Solosuit can still help you respond and resolve the debt. Here’s a list of guides on how to resolve debt with different creditors.

Settle your medical debt

Having a health challenge is stressful, but dealing medical debt on top of it is overwhelming. Here are some resources on how to manage medical debt.

Guides on arbitration

If the thought of going to court stresses you out, you’re not alone. Many Americans who are sued for credit card debt utilize a Motion to Compel Arbitration to push their case out of court and into arbitration.

Below are some resources on how to use an arbitration clause to your advantage and win a debt lawsuit.

Stop calls from debt collectors

Do you keep getting calls from an unknown number, only to realize that it’s a debt collector on the other line? If you’ve been called by any of the following numbers, chances are you have collectors coming after you, and we’ll tell you how to stop them.

Federal debt collection laws can protect you

Knowing your rights makes it easier to stand up for your rights. Below, we’ve compiled all our articles on federal debt collection laws that protect you from unfair practices.

Get debt relief in your state

We’ve created a specialized guide on how to find debt relief in all 50 states, complete with steps to take to find relief, state-specific resources, and more.

Debt collection laws in all 50 states

Debt collection laws vary by state, so we have compiled a guide to each state’s debt collection laws to make it easier for you to stand up for your rights—no matter where you live.

Statute of limitations on debt state guides

Like all debt collection laws, the statute of limitations on debt varies by state. So, we wrote a guide on each state’s statutes. Check it out below.

Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection by State (Best Guide)

Check the status of your court case

Don’t have time to go to your local courthouse to check the status of your case? We’ve created a guide on how to check the status of your case in every state, complete with online search tools and court directories.

How to stop wage garnishment in your state

Forgot to respond to your debt lawsuit? The judge may have ordered a default judgment against you, and with a default judgment, debt collectors can garnish your wages. Here are our guides on how to stop wage garnishment in all 50 states.

How to settle a debt in your state

Debt settlement is one of the most effective ways to resolve a debt and save money. We’ve created a guide on how to settle your debt in all 50 states. Find out how to settle in your state with a simple click and explore other debt settlement resources below.

How to settle with every debt collector

Not sure how to negotiate a debt settlement with a debt collector? We are creating guides to help you know how to start the settlement conversation and increase your chances of coming to an agreement with every debt collector.

Other debt settlement resources

Personal loan and debt relief reviews

We give a factual review of the following debt consolidation, debt settlement, and loan organizations and companies to help you make an informed decision before you take on a debt.

Civil law legal definitions

You can represent yourself in court. Save yourself the time and cost of finding an attorney, and use the following resources to understand legal definitions better and how they may apply to your case.

Get answers to these FAQs on debt collection

How-to debt guides

Learn more with these additional debt resources