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How to Settle a Debt in Maryland

Dena Standley | December 28, 2022

When you settle your debt in maryland ^^

Summary: If you are being sued for a debt in Maryland, you can still settle the debt at any stage of the lawsuit. To successfully reach a debt settlement in Maryland, you must respond to your pending lawsuit, send a settlement offer, and get the settlement agreement in writing. Debt settlement can help you pay off the most pressing debts and help you get back on track financially. SoloSettle can help you settle your debt in Maryland without having to work with a debt settlement company.

Debt settlement has assisted countless Maryland consumers drowning in debt. It helps them deal with the most urgent debts, relieving them from the pressure that builds when debt collectors won’t stop calling.

Surprisingly, many creditors and debt collectors would rather settle for less than the original amount than receive no payment at all. To succeed in settling your debts, the best chance for success is to offer a lump sum payment. You may be able to set up a payment plan over a short period of time as well, if you don’t have enough saved up to pay upfront. Some accept a down payment with the promise that you will pay the balance within the shortest time possible.

If you’ve been sued for a debt in Maryland, it isn’t too late to settle. You can reach out at any stage of the debt collection process, including during a debt lawsuit, to settle. This article will explain how to reach a reasonable settlement agreement with Maryland creditors and debt collectors.

Three steps to settle a debt in Maryland

The debt settlement process is straightforward if you have excellent negotiation skills or when you hire a reputable debt settlement company. It requires you to stay committed to the cause until you are debt free and the creditor closes the account. The need to settle may be more urgent when you receive a lawsuit, and you risk losing everything.

Below are three proven steps to settle a Maryland debt:

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

Take a closer look at each step below, or check out this video to learn more:

Now, let’s get started.

1. Respond to the debt lawsuit with an Answer

According to Maryland's Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 2-321 states that you have 30 days to respond to a debt lawsuit before you lose automatically by default judgment.

Creditors and debt collectors know that most consumers fail to respond to debt lawsuits in time, and they’re hoping you’ll do the same. Failure to respond can lead to the judge granting a default judgment against you, which gives your creditor or collector the right to garnish your wages, seize your property, freeze your bank account, etc.

Even if you plan to settle the debt, filing an Answer buys you time to negotiate a fair settlement and may help your case if the creditor rejects the settlement offer.

With SoloSuit, you can draft and file an Answer to your Maryland debt lawsuit in minutes. SoloSuit’s Answer form is accepted in all 50 states, and it includes a section for you to respond to each claim against you and another to assert your affirmative defenses.

The first section entails responding to the creditor's allegations against you. Maryland laws allow you to answer in three ways: admit, deny, or deny for lack of knowledge. Do not admit to all the allegations, otherwise you’ll lose the case. Give the creditor the task of proving their case. They may even withdraw the matter if they do not have sufficient evidence.

Next, list your affirmative defenses. These are legal reasons you should not be held responsible for the debt, such as an expired statute of limitations on debt or lack of business relationship with the debt collector. The right affirmative defense can help your case if you must appear before a judge. Coming up with convincing defenses may be challenging, but SoloSuit can help you find the right one and present it with the proper legal wording and format.

To learn more about responding to a debt case in Maryland, check out our guide:

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Maryland (2022 Guide)

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2. Make an offer to start settlement negotiations

Once you’ve sent the Answer and confirmed it’s in the Maryland court records, you can start negotiations. First, choose the most appropriate method to negotiate. Whether you want to do it yourself, hire a debt settlement company, or use SoloSettle (which combines the two techniques). As you decide which method suits your needs, consider these two factors:

  • Determine how much you can gather for settlement: If you approach the creditor with a tiny amount of what you owe, they may refuse to negotiate and risk their chances in court. Consequently, ensure you save a considerable amount to draw them in for negotiation. Cut back on expenses if you need to save more money.

  • Calculate how much a creditor can accept as full payment: You've probably heard that debt collection agencies take as low as 10% of the debt. While this is true in rare cases, you need to research well about the creditor you are dealing with and whether a low amount is acceptable. Generally, original creditors take between 60–80% of the original debt, while collection agencies can take between 10–60% for an old debt.

Most consumers can reach a settlement agreement of 50% when working with a debt settlement company. However, it’s not easy to reach an agreement like this, and you may have to demonstrate serious financial hardship in order to do so.

We recommend starting your offer low to give yourself room to grow. For example, you can begin with a debt settlement offer of 60% of the total debt value. So, you would only pay $6,000 if you owe a total debt of $10,000.

You’ll probably receive at least one counteroffer from the creditor or debt collector. You may even go through several rounds of negotiations before reaching an agreement. Most importantly, don’t accept an offer you know you cannot pay. This will only make matters worse.

Once you have reached a fair agreement, it’s time to get it in writing.

SoloSettle helps you send and receive debt settlement offers.

3. Get the settlement agreement in writing

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other platforms are filled with complaints from consumers deceived by debt collectors during settlement. For instance, the debt collector does not honor their end of the bargain after they make payments. Instead, they asked the consumer to pay the balance for them to keep their promise.

In other situations, debt collectors may agree to a settlement verbally and then continue with the court process behind consumers’ backs.

You can avoid both of these outcomes by asking for the settlement agreement in writing. This way, you can take legal action if the creditor or debt collector breaches the contract. Use the following debt settlement agreement example as a guide to ensure you include all the vital information. We’ve also include a settlement agreement preview below:

SoloSettle Debt Settlement Agreement

SoloSettle is the easiest way to settle your debt

SoloSettle is a tech-driven solution to debt settlement that helps consumers enter into negotiations in a safe environment that protects their rights and money. The SoloSettle web-app provides a structured process for sending and receiving offers from creditors. SoloSettle helps you draft the letters and ensures you are not deceived or bullied by debt collectors.

Besides, SoloSettle uses the proper legal language to protect your rights. Once you reach a settlement agreement, the app takes care of the documentation. It also safeguards your sensitive financial information, preventing debt collectors from overcharging you or doing other sketchy things with your money.

Below is a review from a real SoloSettle customer:

“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.”

Now, let's look at an illustration.

Example: Quantum Merchant Services sued Candice for a $3,790 debt she hadn't paid for two years in Maryland. After responding to the lawsuit before the state’s 30-day deadline, she searched for a debt settlement company that would work with her debt, but they refused due to the low debt figure. Fortunately, SoloSettle doesn't have that debt limit, so Candice moved forward with SoloSettle. After several negotiations, Quantum Merchant accepted $ 2,600 (68%) to settle the debt once and for all.

Maryland debt settlement laws can protect you

Over the years, Maryland Debt Settlement Services Act has protected thousands of debtors from bad business practices that some debt settlement companies use. The guidelines instruct the settlement companies on how to charge for services, the licensing required, how to conduct the settlement process, and the penalties awarded. For example, Code Ann. § 12-1010, on fees, states that debt settlement companies should not:

  • Charge for consultation or accessing the consumer credit report.
  • Require the consumer to make a voluntary contribution for the services provided.
  • Ask for payment until they have negotiated a settlement deal with the creditor.
  • Prevent the consumer from accessing the account they are making the monthly deposit for settlement.

In addition to Maryland’s state laws, 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 Maryland, 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.

If a debt settlement company you work with violates any of these laws, report them to your attorney general's office under the consumer protection division.

What’s the best debt settlement company?

The best debt settlement company caters to your debt needs first before taking a cut of the settlement deal they succeed in getting. They should also have a good reputation online with past consumers. Consider working with the following debt settlement companies:

  • SoloSettle: Powered by SoloSuit, SoloSettle aids consumers in settling a debt of any amount, unlike other debt settlement companies that require you to have a debt of at least $10,000 or more. Further, SoloSuit is a trusted company with hundreds of positive reviews for helping consumers respond to debt collectors or get out of debt.

  • CuraDebt: The specialists guide you throughout the settlement process and ensure you get the most favorable deal.

  • Clear One Advantage: The expert helps you establish how much you are likely to settle for and gives you a saving estimate to begin payments.

  • Citizens Debt Relief: This company helps you develop a plan to get you out of pressing debt in the shortest time possible once you commit to the program.

Choose the best method to contact the debt collector

If you are using the do-it-yourself approach, you need to engage the creditor using a mode of communication that works best for you and ensures you get results. Choose the best method from the following:

  • Phone: Negotiating with the debt collector over the phone can get you quick results, but you will only have tangible proof of the agreement if you record the conversation. Unfortunately, Maryland is an all-party consent state (MD Code Ann. § 10-402 and § 10-410), meaning you have to inform the debt collector you want to record the conversation. More often than not, they will refuse and may disconnect the call.

  • Mail: Negotiating via mail ensures you have hard proof of the entire process, but the process takes more time because of the days between sending and receiving mail. Use certified mail to get evidence the creditor received the offer.

  • Email: Debt settlement companies prefer this method because it is quick, efficient, and leaves a paper trail. It is the ideal method, even if you are doing it yourself. Once you get the company's or lawyer's email, you can have the settlement deal in no time.

How to get debt relief in Maryland

As we have seen, you can get debt relief using debt settlement. However, there are other effective methods of finding relief from your debt: debt consolidation and filing for bankruptcy. Read the following guide on How to Get Debt Relief in Maryland. You will find a list of debt-related organizations that can help you get out of debt using these methods.

SoloSuit can help you settle your debt

Our team of debt experts created a remarkable software that helps consumers draft essential documents to respond to debt collectors. SoloSettle is superior because it allows you to send and receive offers from creditors while being protected from harassment and deception. Contact us today for more guidance.

FAQs on debt settlement in Maryland

Can I settle my debts in Maryland?

Yes, Maryland laws allow you to settle your debts as long as you abide by the debt collection and settlement laws. Once you have saved enough money, send an offer to the creditor and await their response. If they like the offer, they will accept or counter it until you reach a reasonable agreement. Remember, if you are seeking a settlement because a suit has been filed, respond with an Answer within thirty days.

Does debt automatically clear after seven years in Maryland?

Debt does not clear or go away unless you settle or pay it in full. But most debts fall off your credit report after seven years, but the creditor can still attempt to collect. Even if it expires, the debt collector is only prevented from taking you to court and not from collecting.

Must I pay a debt if it's sold to a debt collection agency?

You can choose not to pay, but the collection agency has a right to ask you to make payments and even take you to court—before the debt expires. The only way to get out of longstanding debt is to pay it or request them to cancel it.

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.

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

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