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How to respond to a Summons from VanSlam, Inc

Chloe Meltzer | July 21, 2022

How you feel about VanSlam, Inc showing up at your doorstep.

Summary: Has VanSlam, Inc served you with a Summons for debt? SoloSuit can help you take a stand and win in court.

If you have received a message from VanSlam, Inc. then you are most likely being sued for debt. Being sued is a stressful experience, but you don't have to deal with the lawsuit on your own. SoloSuit can help you represent yourself in court, which saves you the time and cost of finding an attorney. You don't have to surrender to a debt collection lawsuit—fight back today and win in court! Here's how.

Who is VanSlam, Inc?

VanSlam, Inc is a professional process service company, which means that they are hired to serve legal documents to people who are being sued on behalf of debt collectors and creditors. Common companies that hire VanSlam to serve their documents are Cavalry, LVNV Funding, Midland Funding, and Portfolio Recovery. Based in Alabama, VanSlam has been serving legal documents throughout the state

In other words, if you are being sued for debt in Alabama by a credit card or debt collection company, it's very likely that VanSlam, Inc served you with a court Summons and Complaint. Here's how you can respond and win in court.

What happens when you are sued for debt

Debt lawsuits are extremely common in all 50 states of the US, and they are an extremely efficient collection tactic for creditors and debt collectors. A debt lawsuit begins when the creditor or debt collectors files a Complaint against you and serves with a court Summons (in this case, served by VanSlam, Inc).

The Summons document notifies you that you are being sued. The Complaint document outlines all the specific claims against you (i.e. the amount you owe, the date you stopped making payments, how much interest is incurred, etc). The Summons should include about when and how you can file a formal response in court. It should also include the date of your court hearing, if one is scheduled.

About 90% of people who are sued for debt ignore the Summons and Complaint and automatically lose their case. This is pretty understandable, as being served by VanSlam, Inc is intimidating, and most people don't even know where to begin to respond. You might even be tempted to do the same and disregard the suit, but be warned that doing so will likely result in a default judgment against you. With a default judgment, the creditor or collector can do the following:

  • Garnish your wages
  • Place a lien on your property
  • Attempt to freeze the money in your bank accounts

You can avoid default judgment and win your case by filing a written Answer with the court. In Alabama, you have 14-30 days to file your Answer (14 days for Small Claims and District Court cases, and 30 days for Circuit Court cases). You can draft your own Answer with SoloSuit in 15 minutes.

How to draft an Answer and win in court

Draft a strong Answer

Anyone can write an Answer to a debt lawsuit, but you want to draft a winning Answer. Here are 6 helpful hints to drafting the strongest Answer possible:

  1. The Answer isn't the place to tell your side of the story in detail.
  2. Deny, deny, deny
  3. Include defenses
  4. Use standard formatting or “style”
  5. Include certificate of service
  6. Sign it

SoloSuit's CEO, George Simons, breaks down these 6 hints further:

SoloSuit can help you draft and file an Answer in all 50 states.

Check the statute of limitations

It is also very important to look into whether the debt is past the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a time period in which a creditor or collector can sue you for a debt. If you haven't been active on an account for several years, the debt might be past the statute of limitations, and the company suing you might not have a case after all. Each state has a different statute of limitations; In Alabama, it depends on the type of debt (check out this article for more information).

If you believe you're being sued for an old debt, check the statute of limitations before you agree to make any payments to the creditor or debt collector. Making a payment can restart the clock on the statute of limitations, so watch out. If the debt is, indeed, past the statute of limitations, you should definitely list this as one of your affirmative defenses in the Answer.

Attend the hearing

Going to your debt collection hearing is essential. If you do not show up, then it will be as if you did not fight the case, and a default judgment will be awarded against you. If you owe the debt then you have a few options:

  • See if you can set up a payment plan with the debt collector after you file your Answer and before your hearing. This will include regular payments until you pay off the debt.
  • Settle the debt for less than you originally owed. This is called a settlement. Usually, it will require a lump-sum payment.

Send a Debt Lawsuit Settlement Letter to avoid going to court.

If you incurred the debt, but you do not think that you should have to pay, then there are a few reasons why you may refuse to pay a debt. Reasons might include:

  • The product you bought was defective or never delivered
  • The debt contract was unenforceable, illegal or signed based on falsehoods
  • You canceled the contract within the lawful time frame

Other affirmative defenses could include there being a lack of standing, or no statute cited. If there was a lack of standing it means there is no legal basis for the lawsuit. This could also mean that there is no clear ownership of the debt. If you claim there was no statute cited, it could also mean that the complaint failed to state facts sufficient to grant a lawsuit.

Make the right defense the right way with SoloSuit.

If you don't owe the debt

When you're sued for a debt that you believe you do not owe, you need to ask the debt collector to prove your responsibility. You can also do this at your hearing. By asking them to provide the original debt contract, you may even get out of the lawsuit altogether. Most often the debt collector will not be prepared for the case as well, and will not have the documents to prove the case.

If you do not recognize the lawsuit

If you are served with a lawsuit for a debt that you do not recognize at all, you may be a victim of identity theft. In this situation, you will need to bring as much proof as possible to show that you were not the one who signed on to the debt.

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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