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How to Settle a Debt in Maine

Dena Standley | March 06, 2023

That feeling when you settle your debt ^^

Summary: Debt settlement can improve a bad financial situation by enabling you to pay off debts and can help you improve your credit score. You can use a do-it-yourself approach or employ a debt settlement company in Maine. Either way, settling your debt can be boiled down to these three steps: 1) respond to any pending lawsuits, 2) send a settlement offer to start negotiations, and 3) get the settlement agreement in writing. SoloSettle can help you settle your debt for good on your own.

Is debt standing between you and financial freedom? Or, are you looking for a way out of debt without using bankruptcy? Then debt settlement may be the method you need to become debt-free. This method allows you to pay off the most urgent debts, often for less than you originally owed.

To effectively use debt settlement, you should understand what percentage of the outstanding debt creditors are likely to accept and hone your negotiation skills. Another option is to hire a debt settlement company to communicate with the creditors or collectors and recommend the most favorable deal.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to settle your debts on your own using three steps. Step one applies to those who have been sued, while the other steps apply to everyone. We will also provide additional information to ensure you get the best debt settlement deal in Maine.

Let’s jump right in.

Follow these three steps to settle a debt in Maine

Being sued for debt in Maine can be intimidating, but you can reach out to your creditor or debt collector at any stage of the lawsuit to work out a debt settlement. You can even settle before a lawsuit is filed.

Follow these three steps to settle a debt in Maine:

  1. Respond to the debt lawsuit with an Answer.
  2. Make a settlement offer to start negotiations.
  3. Get the settlement agreement in writing.

Below, we’ll break down each step in detail. Otherwise, you can check out this video to learn more:

1. Respond to the debt lawsuit with an Answer

Making a settlement offer will only help if you first respond to the lawsuit with an Answer. Once the creditor finds out you did not file your Answer, they might not settle because they may get a default judgment. A default judgment means the creditor or collector is entitled to everything they ask for in their initial Complaint, and they can use wage garnishment or seizure of property to get their money back.

According to Maine laws (Me. R. Civ. P. 105), you have 21 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit before you lose automatically by default judgment. To avoid a default judgment, begin the settlement process by filing an Answer.

In your Answer document, you should focus on two things: responding to each claim against you and asserting your affirmative defenses.

The first section of your Answer entails responding to the creditor's allegations against you. Maine allows you to answer in three ways; admit, deny or deny for lack of knowledge. Do not admit to all the allegations, even if they are true. Denying a claim forces the creditor to prove the claim before the court. They may drop the case if they lack sufficient evidence to prove their claims.

The second section of your Answer requires you to state your affirmative defenses. These are any legal reasons that you should not be held responsible for the debt. These reasons can help your case if the creditor rejects your settlement offer and still wants to proceed to court.

SoloSuit’s Answer form lets you customize a response to your case and situation, and it includes a section for your responses and defenses. Most importantly, this Answer form uses proper legal wording and formatting. All you have to do is respond to a few questions concerning your case, and SoloSuit’s software takes care of the rest.

Even though you have 21 days to respond to your Maine lawsuit, you should ideally respond earlier to give yourself time to negotiate a debt settlement before the court date.

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2. Make a settlement offer to start negotiations

Once you are sure the Answer is filed into the case, choose the method you want to use for negotiating with the creditors. You can hire a debt settlement company or use the do-it-yourself approach. Regardless of your choice, consider the following two factors:

  • Determine how much you can pay the creditor: When you approach the creditor, you must have some money already saved to settle the debt. It could come from saving a portion of your income (by cutting back on expenses), a gift, or investment returns.

  • Calculate how much a creditor is likely to accept: Starting negotiations at an extremely low amount may cause the creditor to reject the offer. Ensure you make a reasonable offer that the creditor would wish to explore. Generally, an original creditor accepts a settlement offer of between 60–80%, while a debt collection agency that bought the delinquent account may take between 10–60%.

That being said, we recommend starting at around 60% for your first debt settlement offer. This gives you room to negotiate, but it also shows your creditor or the debt collector that you are serious about reaching a settlement.

Your offer might sound something like this:

“I see you’re suing me for [$___] for [case number]. I don’t have that kind of money and I don’t agree with the amount. But I do have [$___] that I can pay within 30 days to settle the debt in full. Let me know if you accept.”

Chances are the creditor or debt collector will come back with a counteroffer. You may go through several rounds of negotiations before reaching an agreement. Be prepared for this, and don’t give up hope.

Most importantly, don’t agree to terms you know you cannot afford. Only accept a settlement if you are confident you can pay it.

SoloSettle’s software takes care of negotiations for you.

3. Get the settlement agreement in writing

A debt collector would prefer to have the agreement over the phone so that they are not obligated to honor their end of the bargain. Written agreements often prevent the creditor from breaking promises and asking for the balance to close your account.

A written agreement should include important information such as how much the creditor accepted, the promise they made, your account details, and any relevant laws to force the creditor to keep the terms of the agreement. Here’s a debt settlement agreement example so you know what to look for.

Let’s take a look at an example of how to settle a debt in Maine.

Example: Ted received a debt collection lawsuit from Educap for a $9,670 student loan. He used SoloSuit’s Answer form to respond to the lawsuit well before the Maine deadline, which is 21 days. This gave Ted more time to negotiate with the creditors before the court date. Next, Ted used SoloSettle to simplify the negotiation process and have experts take care of the legal language and documentation. After several negotiations, Educap accepted a payment of $6,100 (63%) as full payment for the debt.

SoloSettle manages the debt settlement agreement documentation for you.

SoloSettle is the easiest way to settle your debt

SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, uses a tech-based approach to help consumers like you settle their debts. Our software sends and receives settlement offers on your behalf so you don’t have to stress about communicating with sketchy debt collectors.

On top of that, SoloSettle helps you manage your settlement agreement documents and sends payments in your name so you don’t have to give up your financial information.Further, SoloSettle ensures that proper legal language is used to make you sound professional and to protect your rights.

Many consumers prefer SoloSettle over traditional debt settlement companies for a few reasons:

  • You can settle debts of any size with SoloSettle. Many debt settlement companies require you to have a debt over $15k.
  • SoloSettle actively attempts to settle your debt, whereas many debt settlement companies take a more passive role, waiting for settlement offers to come to them.
  • SoloSettle is offered by SoloSuit, a trusted brand and a legitimate company. Many traditional debt settlement companies are actual scams.
  • SoloSettle has legal defense built in with SoloSuit. While settling, you can use SoloSuit to block lawsuits if you need. Most debt settlement companies don’t provide legal defense; if you’re sued for a debt you are on your own.

If you’re still not convinced, let a real SoloSettle customer clue you in:

“I'm very thankful for SoloSettle.. Having a third party negotiate the settlement was instrumental in resolving this case and saved me from two giant headaches: 1) I didn't have to deal with the plaintiff's lawyer and 2) I didn't have to go to court. I also love that the payment was processed through SoloSettle. I was nervous about sharing my personal financial data with the other side, but SoloSettle protected that for me. I hope I never get sued again, but if I do, I would use SoloSettle again in a heartbeat.

SoloSettle really saved me a ton of time and heartburn and kept me from having to be my own lawyer in court.”

Maine debt settlement laws can protect you

Maine debt settlement laws and their Fair Debt Collection Practices Act rules and regulations have prevented thousands of their citizens from being scammed by debt settlement companies. The various chapter address issues such as charges, services, licensing, and penalties for violations. For example, Title 32 ME Rev Stat § 6174-A on fees and charges states that debts settlement companies should not:

  • Charge more than $75 as a set-up fee
  • Charge more than $40 as monthly fees
  • Charge more than 15% of the debt amount reduced after negotiations
  • Charge only one fee for joint obligations

If any debt settlement company violates these laws, report them to the consumer protection unit in the attorney general's office. They will take action against them.

Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission has recently amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule to expand debt settlement regulations to all debt relief organizations and companies. All 50 states, including Maine, are governed by this Rule as it relates to debt settlement practice.

Under the new Rule, any company that provides debt relief services, namely debt settlement companies, cannot:

  • Charge upfront fees. Debt settlement companies cannot collect any fees from a consumer before the debt has been effectively settled or otherwise resolved.
  • Fail to disclose certain information about its services before a consumer enrolls in the program. This includes how much the service costs, how long it takes to see results, how much money must be saved before a settlement offer is made, consequences that may occur if the consumer fails to make payments on time, customer’s rights, and other important terms.
  • Misrepresent their services. No false or unsubstantiated claims can be made regarding a debt settlement company’s services.

What’s the best debt settlement company?

The best debt settlement company is more concerned about recommending a plan for settling your debt before charging consultation or service fees. Before hiring a settlement company, check their Better Business Bureau profile and if they are among the banned debt management companies in the Fair Trade Commission platform. Consider working with the following companies:

  • SoloSettle: Powered by SoloSuit, SoloSettle helps you settle any debt, unlike other companies requiring you to owe more than $10,000. SoloSuit is also a trusted company and has relations with creditors that help consumers get out of debt with favorable settlement deals.

  • CountryWide Debt Relief: This company does most of the work for you after you discuss your debt situation and the results you'd like.

  • Credit Associates: The experts begin by giving you a free debt health check and afterward recommend what will work best in your situation.

  • Freedom Debt Relief: This company gives you actionable steps to help you save money for debt settlement and enroll you into their debt management program afterward.

Choose the best method to contact the debt collector

Debt collectors can give you a headache when you try to have a meaningful conversation with them. They want to do most of the talking until you submit to their demands. This time may differ because you want to offer to pay the debt. To get the most out of your negotiation process, choose one of the following communication methods:

  • Phone: Negotiating over the phone lets you get instant feedback and reach a settlement within minutes. However, you do not have proof of the agreement unless you record the conversation. Fortunately, Maine is a one-party consent state ( 15 ME Rev Stat § 709 and § 710), meaning you can record your phone conversation.

  • Mail: Negotiating via mail ensures you have solid evidence of the entire process. However, the process takes longer due to the time between sending and receiving mail.

  • Email: This method is the most preferred by debt settlement companies because it is quick, efficient, and leaves you with a paper trail of the discussion. If you do not have the company's email address, call and ask for the best person to discuss debt settlement with.

How to get debt relief in Maine

Debt settlement is not the only way to manage your debts and enjoy financial freedom. Other methods, such as debt consolidation and filing for bankruptcy, can be used if you don't have money for settlement or have little to no income to save for making a debt settlement offer. Check out this article that gives you more details on how to get debt relief in Maine.

SoloSuit can help you settle your debt

We aim to see consumers free from crippling debt that prevents them from achieving their financial goals. As a result, we created SoloSettle, which enables you to reach a settlement agreement with creditors while we protect your money and rights. Start working on your Debt Settlement Letter with us today.

FAQs on debt settlement in Maine

Can I settle more than one debt in Maine?

Yes, Maine laws allow you to settle multiple debts as long as the creditors agree to the terms you give them. However, settling all your debts will greatly harm your credit score because new lenders will notice you paid off your debts for less than the original amount.

How effective is the do-it-yourself method of settling debt?

The do-it-yourself method is quite effective in settling debt if you have great negotiation skills and have an idea of how much the creditor is willing to accept. You do not want to offer too little and put them off or too much and lose some money you could have saved.

Can a debt collector approach me for debt settlement?

Yes, some creditors are desperate to close delinquent accounts and may request you to pay half or 75% of what you owe them. In some situations, they may even go lower if you prove an inability to meet their initial offer.

What is SoloSuit?

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.

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