George Simons | July 28, 2023
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.
Alrighty, looks like we are live. I'm George, one of the co founders of Solosuit. I'm going to show you guys how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit today. I’ll also go over some of the basics on getting that lawsuit settled and getting some good results.
Alright. I'm here in Utah. It's not too hot over here. Hopefully it's not too hot wherever you guys are. Now we're here in the heat of the summer. Before we get going too deep into this stuff, just want to give a disclaimer that I'm not an attorney. I'm not your lawyer. SoloSuit is not a law firm; we don't practice law. This isn't legal advice, and you should consider getting yourself a lawyer as well. Those are just some things I say for regulations. All right?
So getting into things, a lot of people come to us when they are sued for a debt. So I'm going to go over some of the basics on responding to a debt lawsuit. If you have other questions, we reserve most of the time on this webinar for your questions. So just go ahead and send those questions into the chat. Hannah with SoloSuit going to be responding to those and then I'll also be giving a verbal response. All right.
So the lawsuit begins when you get a Summons and Complaint. Alight? And once you get that, you are just going to need to respond to it with an Answer. All right, let's move that over just a touch here. All right.
So for an Answer document, you can use SoloSuit to create an answer document. Do that in about 15 minutes on our website. Then you can pay us to have an attorney review the document and to file it for you in court. So we kind of call it like the SoloSuit Debt Answer product. You just go to Solosuit.com and click the “reply to a lawsuit” button and you get going.
And then once you filed an Answer, then you can start settling. Some other things might happen in between there. Generally speaking, once you file an Answer, you're in a good spot. You now have leverage to settle the lawsuit. All right?
So you can use our other product called Solo Settle to send a settlement offer. And that's a great move. People have been getting some great results on that. Right now there's something called SoloSettle Premium. Terms are subject to change on this, but you can actually have, we'll connect you with a law firm that will fully represent you and settle your case for you. We've been seeing some great results from that service. Let me just take a look at some of them.
We had a person who just settled and saved $4,421 in a lawsuit with American Express. That's a settlement that's happened. We had another customer who saved $667 with a major debt buyer in a lawsuit with them and another customer who saved $1,451 in a lawsuit with a different debt buyer.
All right, so that's some exciting stuff that's going on. We're seeing real big settlements that are happening with this arrangement in particular, all right? So you can just go over solosuit.com. Solosettle or SoloSuit.com, click the “Settle a Lawsuit: button and get going and get this all behind you. Get it settled, get it nice and wrapped up. All right?
So those are some of the basics here. With that, let me dive into some questions, and we will be going half past the hour today. All right?
To learn more about how to resolve a debt lawsuit, check out this video:
Viewer Question: I received Summons from a debt collector I never heard of before the Summons, telling me I owe them money and taking me to court for a care credit card I've never used. What should I do?
George: Yeah, so we got a lot of people coming to us in your position. It sounds like maybe you're a victim of identity theft or something. Basically, you're being sued for debt you don't recognize, you don't believe you owe the debt. There might be some chance you actually do owe the debt and you just forgot about it. But unlikely.
Let's assume that you actually don't owe it and you're being wrongfully sued. That is a real thing that happens oftentimes. It's identity theft. Like, someone stole your identity, got, like, your Social Security number, applied for a new credit card with that number, and then bought a bunch of stuff and then never paid it off. So that might be what happened.
They also might just be suing the person with the wrong person for the right name. Maybe they have an account with another person with your name and they're suing the wrong person.
So generally speaking, what you want to do is you want to respond by filing an Answer. Just because you don't owe the debt doesn't mean that you're going to win, especially if you don't respond right. If you don't respond, you're going to lose automatically. Even if you're being wrongfully sued, you got to file an Answer.
No one else in this situation is looking out for you. The judge isn't looking out for you. The collector isn't looking out for you. You got to look out for yourself. And of course, we are in your corner as well. So you can file an Answer, and then once that, hopefully they'll take a closer look at the account and realize they're suing the wrong person or something, you can bring up identity theft as a defense on our Answer.
If you want to continue and get the case dismissed, then you can try doing a Motion to Compel Arbitration (MCA). That's also good for settling as well. You can actually do that if you want to settle also. So it's a Motion to Compel Arbitration. It's on our site. It requires the case go to arbitration, leveraging the arbitration clause in a credit card agreement. Not sure about Care Credit, but they probably have an arbitration clause in the agreement. All right, moving on.
Viewer Question: What is best: chapter 13 or chapter 7?
George: All right, I'm not a bankruptcy attorney. Don't know that much about bankruptcy. Actually, our space is a little different. My understanding is that chapter 7 is better.
Chapter 7, if you successfully file chapter 7, like, you don't have to pay back the money, that you don't have to pay back the debt that you are getting rid of through the bankruptcy, but it's harder to qualify for. I think most people don't qualify for chapter 7. Chapter 13, on the other hand, usually you have to agree to a payment plan and pay off the debt over time. And that's all you're getting through that bankruptcy.
Most people, in my understanding, don't actually ever complete the payment plan. Usually they default and then everything's due again and they're in a big old mess again. That's my understanding. A lot of our people come that's because they want to settle.
After the 2008 reforms took place, understanding chapter 7, the power of it decreased. chapter 13 became the main thing. I guess chapter 7 kind of stayed, but chapter 13 became more of a thing and the power of bankruptcy decreased generally. So more people have been going to debt settlement as a result. And that's what brings us here today. So chapter 7 is better if you can qualify for it. Most people don't, so they go for chapter 13.
Viewer Question: When does the sol for debt start? When the law in Texas changed so that making a payment doesn't revive debt.
George: Sounds like you guys are just asking, when does the statute of limitation for debt in Texas start ticking? And let's take a look at that. Give me just 1 second. Let's pull that up. Just going to look it up here. We have a handy tool on our site. All right, we got the sweet blog post, courtesy of Hannah. We have a little statute of limitations calculator.
This calculator is for educational purposes only.
See, let's plug in Texas and let's say you're on a credit card, most likely credit card debt. And let's just say the last day you made a payment was today. It doesn't look like you specify anything else here. It'll tell us that the statute of limitations in Texas is four years. It'll calculate the expiration date for you from the last date you made a payment and also give you the statute so you can do a little more research on your own. So that's all great stuff.
Generally speaking, the debt is revived from the date that you make a payment. So if you haven't made a payment in four years and then three years in Texas, and then on the third year you make the payment, then the four year clock will start ticking again from that last payment that you made.
So the statute of limitations, normally most cases, starts ticking from the last day you made a payment. That's not the case. In every situation, it changes from state to state. There's nuances. That's the general idea. That's the general idea. Statute of limitations. Sol, as we say.
Viewer Question: I was served last July 10. I tried to settle with them, but they declined my offer and the offer they had was too much. What should I do?
George: Um, so you're served in July. I guess that means the same month you tried to settle with them, but they declined your offer and the offer they had was too much for you to afford. Right. So their counteroffer. What should you do?
Okay, if you aren't using SoloSettle yet, you should be making these offers on SoloSettle. Just make sure you make the offers on SoloSettle on the app. It'll make it real secure for you. Protect your information, financial information, email, et cetera, so you can make sure you do that. If you were already making these offers on SoloSettle, then the next step is to get onto Premium.
It's the same cost as SoloSettle. We can just connect you with a law firm. They'll settle it for you to take care of you. Total representation will get you taken care of. All right, so that's the idea there. That's kind of the next step there.
Viewer Question: Has your company ever dealt with cases involving joint tenancy with rights of survivorship?
George: Yeah, we've definitely dealt with those. I'm not that brushed up on it. Kind of forget. I just remember my property law professor saying something about it in class back in the day when I was in law school myself. Not too sure about joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, right?
Basically the idea is that if someone leaves an agreement for the tenancy, then the person that remains gets the survivorship, basically, the agreement survives. But usually we just deal with debt lawsuits, not like property law stuff. Sounds like property law matter. So that's the situation. You're certainly welcome to look up on our blog and get more advice on our blog. We might have written on this topic. You can also try to find yourself an attorney.
Viewer Question: I tried to do the SoloSuit Answer, but I wasn't able to customize the answers.
George: Yeah, that's the situation. We don't really allow for customization. We've found that other than clicking the buttons on the site and entering in the info, we've just found that usually customers are more likely to make the Answer worse if they're trying to customize it. In almost every situation I've seen, they usually make it worse. Usually by explaining more of their story than they need to or giving away too much information.
If you really want to customize it, you can email us at email@example.com. We can email you, like, a Google Doc version of the Answer, and then you can edit that directly. Again, we aren't responsible for any outcomes. We don't represent you, and we don't guarantee any outcomes in the case.
Viewer Question: I need to respond to a summary judgment request. We are mostly in order, but the format of documents is a challenge. Software for legal docs seems unavailable to regular folks.
George: Yeah, that's true. We help you generate the most common legal document people need in litigation, which is the response to the debt lawsuit. It can be tricky to format them properly. Oftentimes courts will accept the documents even if they aren't formatted properly.
Email us. We have, like, a response to summary judgment. We have some templates that maybe you can start off with, so you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe we can send you a template.
Viewer Question: I have a $1,600 suit. Since incurring the debt, I became ill and that resulted in disability. I have absolutely no extra income beyond necessities. I can't settle. I cannot pay. What do I do?
George: Sorry to hear about your illness and disability. You should read up on our blogs on whether or not people can collect, or what kind of Social Security payment people can collect on. Gets a little bit nuanced. Like, sometimes they can collect on something, sometimes they can't. Depends on the state, depends on exactly what kind of check you're receiving from the federal government. So you want to check that out.
And then if you can't settle, you can respond. You can protect yourself by filing an Answer. You can try to see the lawsuit through to the end and hopefully win.
And then sometimes, we have seen it honestly, sometimes people settle for zero, right? So if there's a situation where you have, like, an intense medical illness and you aren't able to work, sometimes these debts are totally forgiven. I've seen it happen. Doesn't happen all the time, but we have seen it happen.
So you might want to try to make a settlement offer. You might want to try to do the sole settle premium option and then just really explain your hardship, right? Collectors call this information hardship. They're looking for hardship info to show why you can't owe the debt. It is something they legitimately care about.
Viewer Question: I responded to Discovery and productions. Can I ask the debt collector for production documents as well, and am I still able to negotiate or settle at this point?
George: Yeah, you can request documents from the collector for sure. You can send them, like, a request for admissions, interrogatories, et cetera, just like they do to you.
Again, I'm not exactly sure about the specifics on that. It depends on your state, et cetera. General idea. Discovery goes both ways. You are able to settle. You can settle at any point in time in a lawsuit. So, yeah, you can send a settlement offer.
If you get SoloSettle Premium, we are partnering law firm that will take care of you, like fully represent you, show up at hearings, file additional documents for you, do all that stuff. People are saving thousands of dollars by doing that, so that's great. Skipping ahead.
Viewer Question: Should I file for bankruptcy or respond to a lawsuit?
George: A lot of people respond to the lawsuit to buy them time to file for bankruptcy. So that's an option. Once you have filed for bankruptcy, I believe that there's a stay usually on these lawsuits, and you got to make sure your bankruptcy lawyer files that for you, takes care of it. So that's like a good option. It those are good options.
Usually if you poke around online, you'll see some bankruptcy kind of calculators. Usually if a debt is a certain amount, a certain portion above your annual income, then you should consider filing for bankruptcy. If your debt is especially unsecured credit or something like excluding mortgage, if it's higher than your annual income, then yeah, you could consider filing for bankruptcy.
I think people lawyer bankruptcy lawyers might say, like, even if the debt is as low as like 40% of your annual income right. So if you make $100K a year, you have $40,000 in unsecured debt, you want to consider filing for bankruptcy in that situation. All right, but you should double check me on that. Okay, moving forward here, we've only got five minutes left, believe it or not.
Viewer Question: I received a letter from Radius Global for a Discover Card debt, which is out of the statute of limitations. And they have mentioned this. Should I settle this debt? They said that it's out of the statute of limitations, but they are still collecting.
George: That's really weird. So the statute of limitations, if it's expired, it usually means that they can't sue you for the debt. Usually statute of limitations law will say something like, no action can be brought after ten years, blah, blah, blah. So what they mean like, no legal action can be brought in this situation?
You're saying that they are trying to collect if they're trying to sue you for the debt, that seems really weird and kind of illegal. You might even have a claim against them for suing you even though they know the statute of limitations has expired. You might want to talk to a lawyer who can do an FDCPA counterclaim for you, something like that.
If they aren't suing you for it, that's probably within their right to do that. They can continue to try to collect outside of a lawsuit easily. You just don't want to do anything to revive the debt. You don't want to make any payments on it. Just want to ignore it. So, again, I can't tell you whether or not to settle. It's up to you. I'm not your lawyer. If it were me, I probably wouldn't settle if the statute of limitations expired. If I did settle, I'd settle for a very small amount, because settlement does wrap it up. It puts a nice bow on it rather than them having hounding you, like, outside of court forever. Settlement does put a bow on things, ideally, if the documents are filed properly. All right, jumping forward here.
Viewer Question: I'm being sued for a debt from 2007. The amount was $300. I don't remember the debt. I'm in Alabama. What should I do?
George: All right, Ricky. Let's take a look. So you're saying that, let's see here. Okay. So you're saying that you're in Alabama. It's $300. Let's say 2007 was the last day you made a payment. I'm not sure if that last day you made a payment or, like, they opened up the account. Let's say it was just 2007. Statute of limitations is only three years in Alabama, so that means the expiration date was July 25, 2010.
So if the statute of limitations has expired, then they can't sue you for the debt. They can sue you, but you have a defense, and the case should be dismissed.
Once you bring up the defense, it's only $300. So if, yeah, you're being sued, so you definitely want to file an Answer, then on our website, we make it easy to say when the last date you made the payment was. You'll tell us that, and then the app will put in, like, the statute of limitations defense on the document and get you taken care of. And then you can pay us to have an attorney review it and file it for you. And that should wrap it up, hopefully.
Viewer Question: I received the debt Summons last week from Gurstel Law Firm for a loan from Crossbank. This debt was obtained in SC, but now I live in Minnesota.
George: We deal with Gurstel a lot. So you got a Summons, that means you've been sued for debt, which means you just want to file the Answer document. We file in South Carolina frequently, one of our more popular states, for sure and we work with Gurstel Law Firm a lot. I guess you might be wondering where you live in Minnesota.
Are you being sued in South Carolina? That's a question. If so, you still have to respond, but then you'd want to bring up, like, a defensive venue, saying it's an improper venue because you're in South Carolina. Now they might be able to argue that it's supposed to be in Minnesota because that's where you used to know. It's an interesting question, for sure. I'm actually going to take a little note on this one, this venue thing. Not sure if we have an article helping people out on this.
Yeah. So, you know, either way, you need to respond, and then you can use our SoloSettle service to settle. SoloSettle Premium if you want, like, full representation and don’t want to worry about it. Those are good options. All right, moving forward here, we just got time for one more question, unfortunately. So the idea is venue. You can bring that up if you're being sued in the wrong spot.
Viewer Question: I filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration for $9,500 Amex after the judge didn't approve my motion to dismiss for no account number and lack of original agreement. What happens next?
George: Yes, once you file a Motion to Compel Arbitration, basically any motion goes through this process, right? So you file a motion, and then the other party files a counter motion, and usually they'll file also a memo, or, like, the memo might just be part of the motion. Basically, the memo is where they will lay out their argument for why the judge should rule in favor of the counter motion. You can also file a memo with your motion, and then eventually the judge makes a decision. Usually there is a hearing.
So the judge might say, hey, come to this hearing. You guys can give, like, oral arguments in the courthouse, and they’ll make a decision. That's how motions proceed. But with the Motion to Compel Arbitration, the plaintiff usually has to pay. Most of these arbitration clauses require the plaintiff to pay for the arbitration. Usually they don't want to do that. It costs a few thousand dollars. So usually they'll just drop the case. And oftentimes what that happens is they just won't do anything else on the case. All right? So that's oftentimes what happens next.
All right, folks, good to see everybody. That's all that I have time for today. All right? I'm George. Glad to help. Solosuit is in your corner, okay? We're always rooting for you. We want you to win your lawsuit. We want to help you settle and save thousands of dollars. So if you haven't already, go over to solsit.com, respond to the lawsuit, and then you can make an offer to settle and get that wrap.
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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