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What Is a Rule 3.740 Collections Defense in California?

George Simons | December 02, 2022

Summary: Are you struggling to find the right defense for your debt collection lawsuit? Learn all about a Rule 3.740 defense in California and see if it will work for you.

You may not know what to do when the debt collector knocks on your door demanding a loan payment. But you're not alone in this; according to a report by Pew Charitable Trusts, the number of Americans sued for not paying their debts has risen in recent years.

The debt collection lawsuit, or what is known as the rule 3.740 collection case, allows debt collectors to sue anyone with a debt of not more than $25,000. The majority of such cases involve credit card debt or money owed from buying property.

The sum stated, which shouldn't be more than $25,000, doesn't include interest or attorney fees. Furthermore, when you're facing a collection lawsuit, it doesn't translate to any of the following:

  • Punitive damages.
  • Tort damages.
  • An action to recover personal or real property.
  • Prejudgment writ of attachment.

After receiving the rule 3.740 collection case letter, here's what to do next.

First of all, don't ignore the letter because it'll make the situation even worse for you. By simply doing nothing about it, it won't make the case go away, nor will the plaintiff forget about the debt.

For this reason, it's advisable to adhere to the following rule 3.740 collections defense strategies.

Make the right defense with SoloSuit and win your case.

Respond to the debt collection lawsuit within 30 days

In California, you have up to 30 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in writing. The rule 3.740 collection case letter will often indicate that you should write a letter to the court as your response.

Failure to do so may result in the court taking punitive legal action against you, which may place you in an even worse financial situation.

Note that the 30 days are inclusive of weekends and court holidays. So, for example, if the last day after the date you're served with a debt collection lawsuit falls on a day when the court is closed, you'll be given one more day when the court reopens to file a response.

SoloSuit can help you create an answer document that meets all the requirements of the state of California within minutes!

How to respond to a Rule 3.740 collections case letter

You'll need to follow a specific procedure when filing a response with the court.

Some rule 3.740 collection case letters may contain a physical fill-in form. If you don't find a physical form attached, you'll need to fill the response form online.

When writing an answer form, you have two options:

  • Deny the claim.
  • Accept the claim but give reasons why you haven't paid the debt.

Alternatively, to make things easier, you can file your answer via SoloSuit. The software provides all the required forms to compile your answer, which is then reviewed by an attorney and submitted to the court and plaintiff.

Use SoloSuit to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in 15 minutes.

Option 1: Deny the Claim

You'll need to fill a general denial form stating that the plaintiff's claims are false. Debt collectors' claims aren't always accurate; you can use this argument to your advantage. For instance, you can inform the court that the debt owed is less than the plaintiff's claim.

If you choose this option, it's advisable to write any affirmative defense you want to present to the court. Below are two commonly used defenses that can help your case:

Running of the Statute of Limitations. You can only use this affirmative defense if the statute of limitation has elapsed. The statute of limitations is a set period that a debt collector can initiate legal proceedings against you. For instance, the statute of limitations for written contracts in California is four years.

If the debt collector fails to bring a claim against you within the statute of limitations, you can request the court to dismiss the case on these grounds.

The Cause of Action Isn't Stated. A debt collection lawsuit ought to state all the necessary elements relating to the case. These elements include:

  • The written or oral contract.
  • Plaintiff's compliance with the contract.
  • Evidence of breach of contract.
  • Damages sustained by the plaintiff due to the defendant's breach of contract.

If the debt collection lawsuit doesn't state one of these elements, you can use this as an affirmative defense. After filing an answer denying the claim, the court can either set a trial date or dismiss the case if the debt collector fails to prosecute the case.

Option 2: Accept the claim but give reasons why you haven't paid the debt

Choosing this option means that the plaintiff's claims are true, but you have valid reasons to explain why you haven't paid the debt just yet. In that case, you'll need to file an answer with the court then serve the plaintiff in person or via mail.

After that, you'll need to file proof of service that serves as evidence that you indeed responded to the court in time and served the plaintiff. However, when you use SoloSuit, you don't have to worry about serving your response to the other parties. Instead, the software does that automatically on your behalf.

Avoid bankruptcy by responding to debt collectors fast with SoloSuit.

File for bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy will stop the creditor from taking further legal action against you. You'll need to contact a local bankruptcy attorney to help you with this.

If you're being sued for not paying your credit card bills or other loan payments, it's important to address the situation as soon as possible. Failure to do so may worsen the situation.

Using SoloSuit is one of the easiest ways to respond to a debt collection lawsuit. The software prepares and files your answer document in three easy steps, saving you the trouble of not responding to a debt collection lawsuit in time and correctly.

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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