George Simons | July 13, 2023
Edited by Hannah Locklear
Summary: You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, file a Motion to Compel Arbitration, or settle the debt before going to court. Join our live webinars to ask your own questions about how to resolve a debt lawsuit.
The following is a transcript for one of our webinars. In it, SoloSuit's founder George Simons responds to live questions from consumers.
Disclaimer: this post is not legal advice. George is not a lawyer.
Thank you. All right, we are live, folks. Sorry for the wait. Looks like my audio and visuals are good to go, and if not, let me know.
I'm George Simons. I'm one of the founders of SoloSuit. Glad to be here with you. Today, we're going to go over some of the basics on how to respond to a debt lawsuit and also how to resolve it and get it settled. Um, that's what we're gonna talk about today.
Before we jump into things, just a quick disclaimer. I'm not an attorney. I'm not your attorney. This webinar doesn't establish an attorney-client relationship or anything like that. So it's not a law firm. This Webinar doesn't replace the advice of an attorney either. All right. I just say those things because of regulations around the practice of law. So there we go. Let's go ahead and get going.
I'm going to go over some of the basics here. You can also let me know if you have any questions. Just go ahead and put them into the chat, and Hannah will respond in the text and I also will respond verbally on the Webinar. Hopefully we'll get to all of them. We do end at half past the hour, so let's go ahead and jump into things.
All right, so things start off with the Complaint and Summons. All right? So you receive the Complaint and Summons in the mail. The Summons tells you that you're being sued for debt. The Complaint tells you why you're being sued. And then what happens next is most people file an Answer document, and that's where people usually use SoloSuit.
You can use us to file an Answer document. You can use one of our tiered services. You can do the Basic where you just use our service to generate the document. Or you can do one of our paid services. You can do a Standard service where you pay us to file the document for you. We'll calculate the filing fees. We'll make sure that it gets to the right place. Or you can do the Premium service where we also have an attorney review the document for you and we file it for you. Usually we are filing by mail with the Premium service. We do file faster, so that's a good thing to know.
All right, it looks like we have lots of people here on the Webinar. Just make sure you get your questions into the chat. So kind of what happens next, right?
So if you file an Answer, a lot of our customers, not everybody, but most of them want to settle. So once you have filed an Answer, then is a good time to start trying to settle. You can use our product called SoloSettle to do that. You can use that to make an offer. You can just go to solosuit.com/soloettle where you can click like the “Settle Debt Lawsuit” button on our website that will take you over to just answer a few questions. You make an offer. You just like, type in how much you want to settle for. We'll send that offer to the collector if you'd like. It's a pretty sweet deal.
We are offering SoloSettle premium at the moment. Pretty sweet deal. You can sign up for that. We'll send you to a partnering law firm. The law firm will totally represent you in the case. So, if you don't want to deal with additional documents after the Answer, like if you received a Request for Admissions or Interrogatories or something like that, you can sign up for SoloSettle Premium, and the law firm will fully represent you. They'll show up at hearings for you, take care of all that stuff for you, and they will work to settle the lawsuit for you. You can only use them if you want to settle. But it's a great, great deal.
So if you want to sign up for that, you just go to SoloSettle on our website. You fill out the form, and then at the end of the form, there'll be a little link and you can click that and you can upgrade to Solace at All Premium. All right, that's enough on the rundown. I'm going to jump into the questions here. It looks like all you great folks, you lovely faces. I'm sure you guys have lovely faces. I can't see them, though. I can't see anything on the webinar. But you guys are putting in good questions into the chat, so I'm going to jump into it.
Happy 4th of July, by the way. We didn't do a webinar last week because of the 4th, but I celebrate the 4th of July all month, honestly. But I'm going to get into the questions.
Viewer Question: Can I create multiple debt letters? I paid the $29.
George: So all of our products are set up like a per use basis. So if you want to create another letter, you pay another $29. $29 is the cost of our Motion to Compel Arbitration and our Debt Validation Letter.
So some other things, usually after filing an Answer, you might want to do an MCA — that's a Motion to Compel Arbitration. That's $29. And then before you receive a Complaint and Summons, if you get a debt collection letter, you might want to send the Debt Validation Letter. So there's that.
Up here we got I'm just going to draw it off over here. If you receive a collection letter that isn't a lawsuit, then just going to move that down there. That's the collection letter, right? So if you receive a collection letter that isn't a lawsuit, then you might want to respond with the Debt Validation Letter, which requires the collector to validate the debt.
Some collectors say that isn't a good move if you're trying to settle the debt, but it’s up to you to kind of navigate that process. We've seen people settle after filing, after sending a DVL to the collector. Yeah. So if you want to make another letter, you just got to pay another $29. So it's per document rate.
Note that SoloSuit prices are subject to change.
Viewer Question: Why do banks or debt collectors prefer to settle debt over suing and getting the whole amount with a court battle?
George: So our current settlement rate is about 60% in these lawsuit debts. Transparently. The law firm that partners with us, they're usually settling for maybe about 74% in litigation debts. And we've interviewed a lot of collectors. You can find some of our interviews actually on YouTube, I believe, or on our blog.
And we've found that all collectors, pretty much everyone we talk to, want to settle. They all want to settle without going to court. That's because usually if they settle without going to court, or even if they settle without completing the lawsuit, even if they file a Complaint and Summons and then they settle after you file an Answer, that's better for them than going all the way to a trial.
Rather than going to a trial, they'd rather settle here. That's because trials cost a lot of money and they're just going to make more money for their customers, for their banks, if they settle earlier. So that's why they want to settle. Of course they aren't going to settle for the lowest amount imaginable, right? They aren't always going to settle for like 10% or something like that.
An important fact here is that the biggest collectors, like Midland Funding — Hannah, on the chat, she just wrote an excellent report breaking this down — but Midland Funding, they're the biggest collector in the US. They actually make two to three times their portfolio, right? So if they buy a bunch of debt, let's say they bought a bunch of debt for let's say they bought $1,000 of debt and they bought it for $100, they're probably only going to collect $200 to $300 dollars off of that. So even though they're buying, they might have bought your debt for like 4% of the total amount of the debt, they're probably only going to still collect overall, like two to three times. That's because a lot of times they aren't able to collect on the debt, et cetera.
So that's why they aren't willing to settle oftentimes for like only 10%. So most of the time, the settlement rate that we see is like 60%, 70%, 80%. That's what we're seeing right now. I hope I answered your question right. So garnishment, even if they win and garnish someone’s wages, it costs a lot of money, and they'd rather settle up front.
Viewer Question: Do creditors who are suing you usually show up to court, or are they hoping for a settlement prior to court? What happens if they don't show?
George: Okay, so usually the creditor's lawyer will show up at court. Sometimes the creditor itself shows up. Usually the creditor has a lawyer, like a law firm that will show up at court. For them, it is pretty common to settle, like, at the courthouse or in a Zoom room at the courthouse. That's pretty common. And that's where, honestly, quite a bit of work gets done.
If both parties show up at the court, the judge might say, have you guys tried settling this yet? And if you say no, he might say, okay, go out in the hall and try to settle. Something like that. But pretty much everybody's open to settling before court because that means that they can save money by not having to show up at the courthouse. People are willing and happy to settle prior to court.
What happens if they don't show? In our experience, if the consumer doesn't show up, they're likely just to lose the lawsuit. If the collector doesn't show up, they're less likely to lose, in our experience. I'm not exactly sure why we don't see a lot of transparency into the dockets into the case documents here, but in my experience, based on anecdotes, the collector isn't that likely to lose if they don't show up.
If they don't show up, then you can file a Motion to Dismiss the case for lack of prosecution. Meaning, like, they aren't doing anything on the court on the case, so they should just lose. You can try doing that, but certainly sometimes they do lose. If they don't show up out of here, the judge might just throw the case out.
Viewer Question: I used the SoloSuit Answer document to respond to my case, and it worked well for me. Thank you.
George: Thank you, Leonard. Glad that it worked. Well, a little note, something that's new that's pretty awesome is we found that a lot of our customers want to make quick cash. Who doesn't want to make cash money? So I'm just going to draw some dollar signs because I love dollar signs. So if you're in a spot where you want to make money quickly, we've actually rolled out a little program that could help you out.
We have a referral program now at SoloSuit. So if you're a happy customer like my man Leonard, you can just go to solosuit.com, my documents, let's see if we can pull it up ourselves. And you can send people a referral link, which is pretty sweet. Let me try this out.
Let's see here already. Yes. Okay, so I have a lot of documents on my account. As you can see, I've made a lot of test documents on my account. But if you are in here, just log on to SoloSuit.com, click on My Documents, right here on the main page. You just go up here, click My Account, My Documents and you scroll down all the way to the bottom. This handy little thing, Refer a Friend, earn money cash in when your friend uses SoloSuit, earn 20% on your friend's first purchase.
So if they purchase a Premium Debt Answer, we will pay you $49 in gift cards. So you just click this link, copy it, you can put it on your social media account, you can post it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever you're using, you can put it out there and tell your friends if they are being sued for debt, they can use SoloSuit to respond. And if they use us, then you will get paid money. So, pretty sweet. We made it easy for you to refer folks to us. So that's pretty cool. All right, moving on here
Viewer Question: Can you discuss the option and best way of trying to negotiate with the debt collection agency rather than going through the legal court system?
George: Yes, I can. So, the best way to settle and negotiate your debt, you can make an offer at soloSuit.com/solosettle, as I have mentioned, if you just come into SoloSuit, go up here to Products, click on SoloSettle, or you can click the Settle Debt Lawsuit button. You click get started and then we'll just walk you through the process.
You just answer a few questions, kind of like the Answer document, and then we will send an offer to settle for you. If you want to have a law firm settle it for you, you can do that and we can get that wrapped up for you. So that's a great way to go. If you want to do it on your own. If you want to do a little DIY action, then you can do it on your own. You just want to find the contact info for the collector's lot for the law firm. You want to deal with the law firm, not the original creditor.
So if you are being sued by Discover Bank, they'll probably have a law firm that works for them, like Blitt & Gaines PC, or something like that. You'll contact the law firm directly. You can call them on the phone. They usually like to call them on the phone. Or you try emailing them and then you just tell them how much money you can pay and you can try to settle it there. They're going to play hardball with you on the phone. SoloSettle is nice because it's asynchronous communication.
Basically, you just tell them how much you could pay. You can tell them why you didn't pay the debt. If you have a limited income you can use that to your advantage. They really do care if you don't make any money, they'll be willing to settle for less, and they'll probably try to get you on a payment plan. So just like, try to be really realistic about how much you can pay per month without ever missing a single payment and try to get that arrangement.
It is pretty positional bargaining here. So you can start low and just go higher. Start lower than your target amount. That's a tried and true method. All right, moving on.
To learn more about how to settle your debt, check out this video:
Viewer Question: How can I edit the letter?
George: We don't have, like, editing built in right now in the system. If you really want to edit the letter, you can email us at email@example.com, and you can request that we send you a Google Doc version of the letter, and we can send that to you and you can edit the Google Doc. We don't do that often. We don't make that available because usually we found that if people do edit their letter, they usually make it worse, significantly worse, usually. But if you want to edit it and you're confident you know what you're doing, you are welcome to do that. Of course, SoloSuit is not liable for any outcomes. We don't guarantee any case outcomes. We aren't liable for any of them because we don't represent you. But you're welcome to do it.
Viewer Question: I haven't heard another word from the debt collector. I would recommend SoloSuit and use it again.
George: Great. Chances are likely that you know someone else is being sued for debt, so feel free to refer them to SoloSuit using that link. Especially don't just refer them, use that link. Make sure you make some money off of it. That'd be a good thing, right?
About 10 million people in the US get sued for debt every year. An additional 70 million people are in collections every year in the US. So most of us are going to know someone who is in that position.
Viewer Question: I used SoloSuit for my Answer. Now they have given me a date a month from now. What are my options at this point?
George: Yeah. Okay, so you made an Answer. Your options are if you feel like you don't owe any of the debt, if you feel like you're being wrongfully sued, you can try to get the case dismissed. You can file a Motion to Compel Arbitration if your loan agreement has an arbitration clause. If it's a credit card, it's likely that it does. You can read our blog content on how to find that.
You can just try to wait and respond to their documents. If they haven't filed any additional documents, you're going to show up here, make your case, and say, hey, I don't know this debt. Bring records with you. If you had paid it off already, make sure you bring records showing that you paid it off just make sure you have lots of documents.
And the main angle in these trials is to say, I don't owe this debt. The collector can't prove that I owe the debt. In order for them to win, they have to prove that I owe the debt, and they can't. That's the main angle. If you do owe a portion of the debt, then settling is oftentimes the best way to wrap it up. You can make an offer to settle. You can do the SoloSettle premium, and you can have a law firm represent you on the case, and they even show it for you. Those are kind of the general outcomes. Dismissal is the main thing here.
Viewer Question: How long should I wait to settle after I submit my Answer?
George: To submit a settlement offer, you don't have to wait anytime at all. If it were me, I would go to the SoloSuit webist, I would click Reply to a Debt Lawsuit and get started. I go through this Answer flow here, through these steps, and then I would go back over here, settle a debt lawsuit, and then I'd make an offer to settle. I'd do one right after the other on the website, and that will work just fine if you do it out of that order, usually that works fine as well. You just want to make sure you do both.
It's not a good idea to try to settle without filing an Answer, because if you don't file an Answer, then you have no leverage to settle.
Viewer Question: What's the usual percentage for settling?
George: All right, so this isn't set in stone by any means, but what we're seeing right now is that most of our most of our customers' cases have settled for about 60% of the total amount of debt.
That means if you're being sued for $10,000, you might settle it for $6,000. That's in, like, a lump-sum payment. That's what we're seeing. The law firm that we partner with, they’re telling us they usually have seen, across, like, a decade of experience, a 74% settlement rate on lawsuit debts. We certainly see a broad range.
I think the lowest we've seen settle is probably 20% or 30%, but that's uncommon.
Viewer Question: I received the Summons and answered. The collector's attorney sent an interrogatories request for admission. I want to sign up for SoloSuit Premium. Is it too late?
George: No, not too late. You just go over there solo, settle, premium. Right. So you just go to Solo Suit, then you click the button to settle your lawsuit, and what you're looking for is SoloSettle Premium. A little confusing, probably, right? We have the two different products that we referred on one SoloSuit and one SoloSettle. Right. And great choice. We have some people who sign up just a few days before, like, their final hearing from the case and partnering law firm can get them all taken care of.
Viewer Question: What percentage will the lawyers usually settle for?
George: Yeah, that's what I'm saying. About 60%. It's kind of what you can hope for. They are usually where you can have a lot of wiggle room is on the monthly payments. Right. So you might be able to negotiate. Like, they might try to get you on, like, four payments of $1,000 a month or something, but you can oftentimes get more wiggle room where you get, like, a bunch of payments, $100 a month.
Usually with the law firm, like the SoloSettle route, they will not have any interest on the settlement, which is pretty sweet, right? Right. So now, in the lawsuit, if you lose the lawsuit, you're going to be paying the interest for the credit card, like the original agreement. Plus they can attack on post judgment interest, which can be like, 10% APR, which is really high. But when you settle, usually interest is frozen and you're just making consistent payments over time, knocking that thing out. So that's cool.
And then if you have a lump-sum payment amount right — so, if you could pay the full amount up front, that will usually help you get a lower settlement as well.
Viewer Question: I responded two years ago to LVNV Funding on a debt I believe is from 2009. My court date is August 10, and I want to fight it.
George: All right, you can try hiring an attorney. Sounds like you already responded probably two years ago. Just want to make sure you show up at the hearing, bring all the documentation you can get, look nice for the court, watch our video on YouTube on how to prepare for a hearing, and then show up. Do your best. All right, you got them. We're rooting for you. I believe you can win. All right, so make us proud.
Viewer Question: If you are in court and the plaintiff collector's lawyer is a no show, should you have the Motion for Dismissal paperwork ready for the judge?
George: Yeah, probably. I don't think that'd be a bad move. I'm not sure exactly how all these courts work. Courts can be pretty nuanced. And honestly, I'm not a lawyer, but that does seem like a good move to me. I would certainly want to do that if I was in your position.
Viewer Question: I asked LVNV Funding for debt verification, and I have received nothing. They tripled the amount and I'm furious. Not sure how to proceed. I want to know what is actually owed.
George: Yeah. So you want to fight it? They're probably tripling the amount because of lawyer fees and interest, et cetera. Lawyer fees are a legal thing to apply to a debt, but if you win the case, you don't have to pay them.
Sometimes even they'd have to pay your legal fees. You might want to try to compel arbitration if it's a credit card debt. And certainly if you were to settle, you'd want to settle for less than the original amount owed. I hope that helps.
Viewer Question: When trying to settle, is it better to offer a lump-sum or a payment plan?
George: It depends on the position that you're in. If I was trying to settle my own lawsuit, I would only do a lump-sum payment. So I'll just try to get a lump-sum. If I can get a lump-sum of like 50% of the total amount of the debt, that's probably going to be in the ballpark. It's acceptable, and I just try to push that through until they accept it.
Viewer Question: If the attorney declines a settlement offer, what typically happens next?
George: If they decline your offer to settle, then the case just proceeds. So if they decline your case to settle, then other things happen. Right. So it's like the discovery stage of the lawsuit. So that means you'll get requests for admissions, interrogatories, like sharing of evidence, other documents you have to respond to, et cetera.
Viewer Question: If it's the original creditor, do we try to settle with the attorney?
George: Yeah. If you're in a lawsuit, you're always going to want to try to settle with the attorney first.
Viewer Question: Do you have a product for disability judgment proof income for an Answer letter?
George: There's a lot of options you can put in. You can add things to the Answer document. Just click the appropriate buttons on the website and we'll add in appropriate text into the Answer. I don't recall if we have something that's around like disability. Exactly. We do have something around, like, satisfaction of the debt or inability to pay for various reasons. So you can click those and add that into the Answer. But generally speaking, like inability to pay just by itself isn't really a defense, so it's not something that goes into the Answer, something that we worked out outside of the Answer.
Viewer Question: No exaggeration, Midland has spent over the $840 requested settlement amount on legal fees and for Answer.
George: Yeah, pretty weird how that happens. I don't know why they would do that. I have seen stuff like that, honestly. Feel free to let us know how that goes. I'm not sure exactly all of the nuances of collectors, but yeah, certainly very interesting. Let's see.
Viewer Question: They requested a Motion for Summary Judgment.
George: Okay. We just want to make sure you respond to that. If you're trying to settle law firm could help you out. Our partnering law firm, with SoloSettle Premium, could help you out with responding to all that.
Viewer Question: I live in New Jersey and I already filed my Answers with the court, the plaintiffs, interrogatories, do you have a way to answer these?
George: Yes. It looks like you filed the Answer. Good job on that. We don't have a way to respond to interrogatories, per se. Most of our customers want to settle. So, like, SoloSettle premium is a good option and that will take care of interrogatories for you. So you might want to check that out.
Okay, that's about time. You can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can try to help you out there as well. Just going to write a thank you here. Thank you all for joining. Good to see everybody. We'll call that a wrap. We do this about once a week, so you can come back next time already. Good to see everybody. I'm George, and from the whole team at SoloSuit. we are rooting for ya!
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.
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now are are just look for support, we're here for you.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.
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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