Start My Answer

How to Hire a Mediator

George Simons | October 19, 2022

George Simons
Co-Founder of SoloSuit
George Simons, JD/MBA

George Simons is the co-founder and CEO of SoloSuit. He has helped Americans protect over $1 billion from predatory debt lawsuits. George graduated from BYU Law school in 2020 with a JD-MBA. In his spare time, George likes to cook, because he likes to eat.

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: Getting sued for debt and afraid to go to court? Here's' SoloSuit's guide on everything you need to know about mediation and how to hire a mediator.

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

When you can no longer pay your debt, you may hire a mediator to negotiate with the creditor on your behalf. However, knowing the difference between a good and average mediator could impact the result of the negotiations. For this reason, we'll discuss everything you need to know about hiring a mediator.

Most people opt to work with attorneys with vast experience in debt negotiations. However, some debt collection companies may hire attorneys to portray a legitimate image to their clients. But the truth is, in some debt mediation companies, attorneys are never involved in the mediation process.

This is usually a public relations tactic that works most of the time. So before you decide to trust a debt mediation company with the mediation process, you may want to find out more about their attorneys' role in the entire process.

Secondly, you want a debt mediator with vast experience in dealing with creditors. The last thing you want is a mediator who'll put you in a worse financial situation than you're currently in.

The debt mediator's reputation also matters. For this reason, look up their online reviews to find out what other consumers think about them.

Hire a good mediator

Mediators should be comfortable with conflict and experienced in conflict resolution. To ensure you have the best chance at reaching an agreement, here are some tip for selecting the best mediator for your case:

  • Don't hire an attorney or judge: Lawyers and judges can be pretty stuck in their ways. Finding an experienced mediator is a great alternative, because they will approach the settlement process with a fresh perspective.
  • Find someone who easily connects with you: If you don't get along with the mediator, chances are you won't get very far in coming to an agreement. You should have good chemistry with your mediator to avoid any bias during the mediation process.
  • Mediators should be excellent communicators: Coming to an agreement can take hours, and it's important that both sides are heard. Finding a mediator who can effectively communicate each party's perspective can make all the difference.
  • Find someone who is truly a neutral third party: Avoid hiring a mediator that is connected, in any way, to the opposing party. Doing so can lead to biased discussions and decision making.

What happens during debt mediation?

During debt mediation, the mediator helps the creditor and debtor reach an agreement about the debt in question. A mediator is usually a neutral party. They don't care who is right or wrong—all they need is to have both parties reach an agreement about the debt.

During the mediation process, the mediator, consumer, and the debt collection representative each get a chance to argue their case. The debt collection representative, usually an attorney, will disclose the amount owed. They may also prove that the consumer owes them the amount in question.

The mediator may decide to hold the meeting with the two parties simultaneously or separately and confidentially. This usually depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. The primary goal of the entire process is to convince both parties to agree to a settlement.

Once the settlement agreement has been reached, the mediator will draft a document stating the terms of the agreement. Next, both parties will confirm that they've agreed to the terms stated in the agreement. This agreement is usually legally binding.

Is mediation the same as arbitration?

The terms mediation and arbitration are often used interchangeably, but they are worlds apart in legal settings. However, this doesn't mean that the two terms don't share some similarities. In fact, one common similarity between mediation and arbitration is that they bring both parties together.

But at the end of the day, mediation is not the same as arbitration. To understand the difference between these two terms, let's look at how each process works.

How mediation works

In mediation, the two parties have complete control over the process. For example, they can decide when and where they'd like to meet to negotiate the debt, the rules of the meeting, who should attend the meeting, etc.

Mediation is usually conducted in a less intimidating setting than a courtroom. Additionally, the negotiations are tailored towards the needs of the parties involved. For instance, as the consumer, mediation allows you to negotiate a payment plan that suits your income, pay schedule, financial responsibilities, etc.

Most importantly, mediators don't make decisions or rulings. Instead, their goal is to ensure both parties reach an agreement and at their own will. If they fail to agree, the case will be sent back to court.

How arbitration works

Like a mediator, an arbitrator brings both parties together to solve a particular problem, usually outside the court. However, an arbitrator has more authority over the proceedings in this setting.

The arbitrator often serves as a private judge. For this reason, they can listen to evidence, make rulings, and control the entire process. The arbitrator's ruling is usually final and binding on both sides. In addition, the chances of negotiating a ruling made during arbitration are usually slim.

When should I hire a debt mediator?

Not every difficult situation requires a debt mediator. For example, if you've fallen back on your payment for a few days or weeks, you don't necessarily need a debt mediator.

A debt mediator comes in when you've not paid a debt for more than 90 days. In fact, most creditors will wait up to 180 days to file a debt collection lawsuit against you.

Some creditors or debt collectors can also practice various tactics hoping to have you pay the amount you allegedly owe. Some of these tactics may violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Legally, a debt collector or creditor cannot;

  • contact you before 8 am and after 9 pm;
  • contact you at your workplace if your employer doesn't allow such contact;
  • keep contacting you if you inform them in writing to stop;
  • threaten you with jail-term if you don't pay the amount you supposedly owe;
  • use offensive language when pursuing the debt;
  • threaten you with violence or use force against you;
  • misrepresent themselves to have you pay the outstanding debt; or
  • lie about the debt.

You can report a debt collector to your state if they violate these laws. Alternatively, you can file a complaint against them through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Keep in mind that filing a complaint against a debt collector or creditor doesn't mean that you no longer owe the debt, that is, if it's valid.

The bottom line

Debt mediation can save your time, money, and energy if you've been sued over a debt. Most creditors would rather settle with you out of court than proceed with the complex, expensive, and exhausting process of recovering the debt through court.

In addition, mediators are neutral third parties whose only job is to help the parties involved reach an agreement. One great benefit of having a neutral third party in debt negotiation is that they can communicate with the debt collector or creditor on your behalf.

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

We have answers.
Join our community of over 40,000 people.

You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.

Ask a Question

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

How to answer a summons for debt collection in your state

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah; File a Motion to Satisfy Judgment
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

    Guides on how to beat every debt collector

    Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.

    Win against credit card companies

    Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

    Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

    How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

    How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

    Get answers to these FAQs

    Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

    Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

    How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

    What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

    Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

    SoloSuit FAQ

    If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

    Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

    Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

    Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

    What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

    Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

    What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

    What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

    What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

    What is a Stipulated Judgment?

    What is the Deadline for a Defendants Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

    Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

    Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

    Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

    Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

    Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

    Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

    Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

    Am I Responsible for My Spouses Medical Debt?

    Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

    Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

    How Does Debt Assignment Work?

    What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

    How Does Debt Assignment Work?

    Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

    What Is a Warrant in Debt?

    How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

    Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

    Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

    What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

    Does Student Debt Die With You?

    Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

    How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

    What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

    How Long Does a Judgment Last?

    Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

    Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

    Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

    The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

    Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

    Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

    What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

    Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

    Learn More With These Additional Resources:

    Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

    How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

    How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

    How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

    How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

    Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

    Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

    Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

    Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

    New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

    Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

    The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

    West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

    What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

    Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

    How to Liquidate Debt

    Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

    Youre Drowning in Debt — Heres How to Swim

    Help! Im Being Sued by My Debt Collector

    How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

    How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

    North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

    ClearPoint Debt Management Review

    Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

    Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

    CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

    How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

    How to Appear in Court by Phone

    How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

    Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

    Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

    How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

    Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Heres What to Do

    How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

    Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

    Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

    How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

    How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

    Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

    How to Stop a Garnishment

    Debt Eraser Review

    Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?

    Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?

    How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?

    How Long Does a Judgement Last?

    ​​How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?

    How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court