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Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

George Simons | December 06, 2023

Summary: If you need to defend yourself in court against a debt collector, use SoloSuit to respond in just 15 minutes and win your lawsuit.

Receiving threatening phone calls and correspondence from a debt collector can be a harrowing and stress-inducing experience. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are forced to endure this type of stress and anxiety. In fact, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, more than 70 million Americans reported having encounters with debt collectors. In addition to hounding calls, many debt collectors will escalate their pursuit by filing a lawsuit against you.

If you are served with a debt collection lawsuit, it is important to be proactive and take steps to protect your rights. You should try to attain an understanding of what happens when you get served with a copy of the Complaint and what steps are necessary to legally defend yourself against the debt collector. In that endeavor, here are some tips on how to effectively defend yourself in court against a debt collector.

Make Sure You Answer the Debt Collection Lawsuit

If you were served a Summons and Complaint by a debt collector, it is extremely important that you respond to it in a timely manner. One of the most common mistakes people make in this situation is ignoring the Summons and Complaint. Whether you owe the debt, or you think you are being sued by mistake, you need to be sure you respond to the allegations. In legal terms, your response to the Complaint is known as an Answer.

SoloSuit makes it simple to respond the right way.

Filing your Answer in a timely manner is so important because if you fail to do so, the debt collector will likely seek a default judgment against you. If the court grants the default judgment against you, it means the debt collector will be empowered to garnish your wages, take money out of your checking account, and even try to recover attorney's fees and related court costs.

Responding to the lawsuit is also important because it actually gives you an edge in the lawsuit. Many debt collection companies actually bet on people failing to file an Answer thereby allowing the debt collector to obtain the aforementioned default judgment. When you respond to their lawsuit, many debt collectors are genuinely surprised and may even be inclined to offer a negotiated settlement in the hopes of avoiding the cost of actually litigating your case.

Make the Debt Collector Prove They Have the Right to Sue You

When a debt collector files a lawsuit against you, it enables you to raise affirmative defenses to challenge the veracity of the lawsuit. You should consider challenging the debt collector's ability to even file a lawsuit against you. For example, if a debt collector is attempting to recover on a delinquent credit card, the debt collector must prove that they possess the legal right to collect on this debt by producing evidence, such as a transfer of the signed credit card agreement.

If the debt collector is unable to produce this type of evidence, you can request the court dismiss the debt collector's case because the debt collector lacks the "chain of custody" evidence required to enable the debt collector to actually pursue this debt from you.

Raise the Statute of Limitations as a Defense

In the vast majority of states, creditors only have a finite period of time to try and collect on a debt. After this time has elapsed, the statute of limitations is deemed to have expired and the debt collector loses their right to pursue a recovery in court. If it turns out that a debt collector sued you on a debt where the statute of limitations expired, you can use this as an affirmative defense and likely get the debt collector's lawsuit dismissed.

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

If you need assistance in drafting your response to the debt collection lawsuit, including the affirmative defenses that may be included in your Answer, take advantage of the resources offered through SoloSuit.

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

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>>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

If you need assistance on how to best respond to a debt collection lawsuit, consider utilizing SoloSuit. What is SoloSuit? Take a moment to review these FAQs to learn more.

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Takeaways on How to Effectively Defend Yourself in a Debt Collection Lawsuit

Here are some of the key takeaway on what you need to do if you are served with a debt collection lawsuit:

  • Make sure you respond to the Complaint and your response is timely filed
  • Review potential affirmative defenses that could apply to your case
  • Make the debt collector prove that they have the legal right to sue you
  • Make the debt collector prove that you actually owe the amount alleged in the Complaint

Best of Luck!

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