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How to Beat Bonneville Collections in Court

Hannah Locklear | December 07, 2023

Summary: When Bonneville Collections contacts you about a debt, you can beat them at their own game. Send a Debt Validation Letter to get them off your back and prevent a lawsuit. If you’ve already been sued by Bonneville Collections, you might file an Answer to the lawsuit before your state’s deadline. SoloSuit can help you draft and file an Answer in all 50 states.

Lawsuits are never fun, but debt collection cases can be especially painful. You probably know this already if you recently received a Summons and Complaint from Bonneville Collections.

Debt collection lawsuits will stir up lots of different emotions. You might be nervous, confused, and looking for answers. That fear and uncertainty can paralyze you, making decisions seemingly impossible.

Luckily, SoloSuit can help. We have all the information you need to know about how to beat Bonneville Collections in court.

Who is Bonneville Collections?

Bonneville Collections, also known as Bonneville Billing & Collections, Inc., is a debt collection agency based in Utah. The company is currently headquartered in Ogden, Utah. Bonneville Collections has expanded into offices across Utah, Idaho, and Washington State since it began in 1980. They work in the financial sector, offering billing and debt collection services to their clients.

You might be wondering, “Why is Bonneville Collections contacting me?” After all, you didn't borrow any money from them. Do they even have a legal right to your money?

That's a little complicated. Bonneville Collections doesn't actually loan any money itself. Instead, the company collects debt originally loaned by someone else.

Let’s look at an example.

Example: Paul ran up a $5,000 credit card bill and never paid it back. His credit card company can sell this debt to a collection agency like Bonneville Collections. The original owner of the debt (in this case, the credit card company) sells this debt to recover some of their losses. Debt collection agencies usually buy debt at a huge discount. Then, the collection agency has the right to pursue the debt themselves, even going as far as suing Paul for it.

That might sound a little bit convoluted. But it's actually a booming business. In fact, about one-third of Americans have debt in collections.

So, if you are being contacted by Bonneville Collections about an alleged debt, there are steps you can take to beat them—both in and out of court.

Respond to debt collectors with SoloSuit.

Send a Debt Validation Letter to Bonneville Collections

When Bonneville Collections first contacts you about a debt, they are required by federal law to validate the debt. This means they must provide the following information about the debt within 5 days of their initial contact:

  • The amount of the debt.
  • The name of the creditor.
  • The collector will assume the debt is valid unless the consumer sends them a Debt Validation Letter within 30 days.
  • If you send the collector a Debt Validation Letter they will need to mail you validation of the debt.
  • If you send them a Debt Validation Letter they will need to mail you the name and address of the original creditor.

53 percent of people who are contacted by a debt collector say they're being contacted about a debt they don't owe or a debt of the wrong amount.

So, lots of people are being hounded by debt collectors for money they don't owe. The Debt Validation Letter is your guardian because it lets Bonneville Collections know that you dispute the debt. This forces them to prove the debt is valid with certain documentation and evidence.

If they can’t validate the debt, Bonneville Collections will leave you alone. Check out the graphic below to learn more about how a Debt Validation Letter timeline works:

Debt Validation Letter Timeline

Respond to a debt lawsuit against Bonneville Collections

Debt collection cases can sometimes seem like a David vs. Goliath story. You're just one lone borrower against a massive debt collection agency. How can you possibly win? Fortunately, Bonneville Collections can't just steamroll over you. There's a set of rules they need to play by, and that gives you a chance to fight back.

Before we get started, let's cover some important language in debt collection cases.

  • Plaintiff: The plaintiff is whichever party began the lawsuit. In your case, the plaintiff is Bonneville Collections.
  • Defendant: In debt collection cases, the defendant is the “debtor.” In other words, they're the person who owes money. You should be named as the defendant in your case.
  • Summons: In any lawsuit, the Summons is the document that initiates the case. It essentially notifies you of the case and its details.
  • Complaint: This document, also known as a Petition in some states, lists all the specific claims against you. It will include how much money you allegedly owe, as well as other important information. If you received a complaint from Bonneville Collections, that means they're officially suing you.
  • Default judgment: You have to respond to the lawsuit before your state’s deadline, otherwise the court may order a default judgment against you. This means you lose the case automatically, and Bonneville Collections may be granted the right to garnish your wages and seize your property.

Knowing this language can help you decode the Summons and Complaint. Now that you understand some basic terms, you need to form your strategy. You should respond to the lawsuit with a written Answer. Here’s how.

Follow these three steps to respond to Bonneville Collections debt lawsuit:

  1. Respond to each claim listed in the Complaint.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses.
  3. File the Answer with the court, and send a copy to the plaintiff.

Below, we’ll break down each of these steps in detail. You can also watch this video to learn more:

1. Respond to each claim listed in the Complaint

The first section of your Answer document should focus on responding to each claim against you. Since the Complaint lists each claim, your responses should also be listed in correlating order.

You can answer each claim with one of the following responses:

  • Admit: This means you agree with the claim and that it’s entirely true.
  • Deny: This means you want Bonneville Collections to prove the claim because you don’t fully agree with it.
  • Deny due to lack of knowledge: This means that you do not know if the claim is true or not.

Many attorneys recommend that you deny as many claims as possible in your initial Answer. When you deny a claim, it forces Bonneville Collections to prove that it’s true. If they don’t have supporting evidence, there’s a chance they will drop the case altogether.

2. Assert your affirmative defenses

The next section of your Answer should list your affirmative defenses. An affirmative defense is a legal defense that a defendant uses to prove they are not liable. In a debt collection lawsuit, an affirmative defense is any legal reason that the defendant should not be held responsible for the debt.

There are several defenses you can use in a debt lawsuit against Bonneville Collections. Here are a few examples:

  • Statute of Limitations: Bonneville Collections has no right to collect a debt outside its statute of limitations. This is a specific date set by each jurisdiction.
  • No Paper Trail: Bonneville Collections needs to provide documents proving they own your debt. For example, if they're suing you over credit card debt, they'll need your cardholder agreement. If they can't produce this paperwork, they don't have a case.
  • Incorrect Debt History: Sometimes a debt collector doesn't see the whole picture. They buy debt “as is” from lenders. As a result, they may not have a complete history of your payments. If you can prove that you made payments on your debt that aren't present in Bonneville Collections' paper trail, you may be able to dismiss your case.
  • No Proof: Debt collectors like Bonneville Collections need to prove you owe them money. This means they must show the court some sort of agreement that signs your debt over from its original owner. Without it, they can't prove their case.

Check out our guide on affirmative defenses to learn more about each defense listed above and more.

SoloSuit can help you make the right defense the right way.

3. File the Answer with the court, and send a copy to the plaintiff

Once you’ve drafted your Answer with your responses to each claim and affirmative defenses, it’s ready to be filed with the court.

You have 35 days or less to file your Answer in court, depending on where you live. Each court has unique filing requirements, including fees, formatting conventions, etc. SoloSuit has done the heavy lifting for you by finding out your court’s filing process.

After filing, you must also send a copy to the plaintiff’s attorney, or the attorney representing Bonneville Collection in the case.

The easiest way to file your Answer and serve the plaintiff is by sending it in the mail. You should send it via USPS certified mail with a return receipt requested. This will serve as proof that the documents were delivered.

Now, let’s explore an example of how to beat Bonneville Collections in court.

Example: Jeff is being sued by Bonneville Collections for an old credit card debt in Utah. After doing some research online, Jeff discovers that the statute of limitations on credit card debt is six years, and he hasn’t made any payments on the account for more than seven years. Jeff uses SoloSuit to draft an Answer to the lawsuit where he denies most of the claims and lists the expired statute of limitations as one of his defenses. SoloSuit files the Answer for him before Utah’s deadline, which is 21 days. A few weeks go by, and Jeff is notified that Bonneville Collections dismissed the case. Now, Jeff can sleep well knowing he beat Bonneville Collections at their own game.

Increase your chances of beating Bonneville Collection in court

Remember: submitting an Answer to the court is a critical step in any debt collection lawsuit. If you don't file your Answer in the court-appointed time frame, Bonneville Collections can win their case automatically. This is how debt collectors win the vast majority of their lawsuits.

By simply responding to a Complaint from Bonneville Collections with SoloSuit’s help, you're already increasing your chances of winning your case by 7x. Don't give Bonneville Collections any help. Make them prove their case in court!

Draft and file an Answer in all 50 states with SoloSuit.

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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Bonneville Collections has a bad reputation

If you feel like you’ve been treated unfairly by Bonneville Collections, you’re not alone.

As of 2023, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has received nearly 300 complaints against Bonneville Collections in the last ten years, and the Better Business Bureau reported more than 25 complaints in the last three years alone.

These complaints mention the following practices:

  • Failing to validate a debt upon request.
  • Garnishing wages even after a debt settlement plan has been arranged.
  • Attempting to collect on fraudulent debts.
  • Claiming incorrect debt amounts.
  • Contacting consumers about debts that have already been paid off.

Below is an example of a real complaint against Bonneville Collections from its BBB profile:

“Started paying on a debt the company said I owed. Money was withdrawn from my personal checking account for months, and in January 2021, my payment was sent back and I was told the debt was paid and they no longer needed to deduct the payment. Today 3/31/21, I received a call that I needed to continue payments again, for a debt they confirmed had been collected.”

Some of these complaints allege violations of the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Knowing your rights under federal law can help you protect yourself from abusive and unfair debt collection practices by Bonneville Collections.

Learn about the FDCPA to protect your rights

The FDCPA is a federal law that regulates debt collections practices. The law was created to protect consumers, like you, from abusive debt collection tactics.

Below are a few examples of some practices debt collectors cannot do under the FDCPA:

  • Harassment and abuse: Debt collectors cannot harass you by threatening violence, publishing the names of alleged debtors, advertising the sale of debts to coerce payment, etc.
  • False or misleading information: A debt collector cannot falsely claim to be affiliated with the United States government. They also must accurately represent the debt's type, amount, and legal status.
  • Unfair practices: A debt collector may not collect any amount, be it interest, fees, or other charges unless the law or the agreement creating the debt expressly authorizes it. They must prove what and why they ask you to pay a specific amount.

You can read a simple breakdown of your FDCPA rights and how to file a complaint in this SoloSuit article.

>>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.)

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

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

Stop calls from debt collectors

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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.

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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

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Not sued yet?

Use our Debt Validation Letter.

Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.

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