Sarah Edwards | March 08, 2023
Summary: If you’re facing a debt lawsuit in North Dakota, you can settle the debt at any stage of the lawsuit process. Just be sure to file your Answer to the lawsuit within 21 days, then use SoloSettle to send a settlement offer and get the agreement in writing.
You work hard to maintain your standard of living and repay the debts you owe. However, it’s easy to get too caught up in your debts — so caught up that you can’t afford to repay them. When that happens, creditors take action.
After a consumer stops paying an obligation, creditors will start calling and sending letters. If the debtor doesn’t get back on track with their payments, the creditor may sell the account to a debt collection agency or file a debt lawsuit against you.
If your creditor decides to pursue a debt lawsuit against you, a court may award them a judgment. A judgment will allow the creditor to take more intrusive actions against you, which might include garnishing your wages or freezing your bank account.
You don’t want a judgment, so it’s best to resolve your case before it goes to court. You can do so by repaying or settling the debt with your creditors.
If you’re seeking to settle your debt in North Dakota, there are three steps you’ll need to take:
Below, we explore each of these steps in detail. Don’t like reading? Check out this video instead:
Your creditor will begin the lawsuit process by filing a Complaint against you. A Complaint lists the reasons for the lawsuit, which includes nonpayment of a debt. It also details how much you owe and any interest or fees.
You have 21 days to respond in North Dakota. If you don’t respond in time, you will lost by default judgment. This may give your creditor or debt collectors the right to garnish your wages and seize your property.
Many people don’t realize that they give up the right to defend themselves when they don’t file an Answer. An Answer is your legal response to the lawsuit. You’ll list your responses to each claim against you and explain your affirmative defenses in your Answer document.
Some typical defenses are improper validation of the debt or lack of the court’s jurisdiction over the lawsuit. However, if neither of those fit your case, you can consider other defenses.
You may wonder why you need to file an Answer if you plan to settle your case before your court date. Filing an Answer protects you in case your efforts at settlement fail. It also acts as a safeguard in case your creditor doesn’t report the settlement to the court.
Next, you’ll need to determine how much you can afford to offer your creditors in a settlement. Take a close look at your finances, and evaluate how much money you have available.
We recommend that you begin the negotiations with a minimum of 60% of the total value of your debt. That amount is large enough for your creditors to consider whether accepting a lump sum payment from you is better than going through the hassle and cost of a lawsuit.
If you can’t afford 60% in a debt settlement, offer what you can and explain your financial situation. Sometimes creditors will be more tolerant if they understand where you’re coming from.
You may go through several rounds of negotiations before reaching an agreement. Don’t make any deal you know you can’t afford. If you agree and fail to live up to the terms, your creditor will continue with the lawsuit, and you’ll likely end up with a judgment.
Your next step is to record the agreement in writing with your creditor. A written contract ensures there is no misunderstanding between you and your debt collector concerning the terms of the deal.
Your agreement should list the amount you’ll repay, when it’s due, and where you’ll send the money. It should also stipulate that your creditor waives the right to the remaining obligation and cannot pursue further collections against you.
Generally, creditors and debt collectors will draft the agreement document, so just be sure to review it carefully before signing.
We also recommend you include space for a notary to witness the agreement for you and your creditor. Notarizing the agreement adds further legal credibility to the deal.
Here is a debt settlement agreement example to give you an idea of what yours should include.
Now, let’s review an example of how to settle a debt in North Dakota using these three steps.
Example: Roger receives a Summons and Complaint from Midland Credit Management in North Dakota. Roger had a credit card with Chase Bank and stopped making payments. He owes $3,000. Chase sold the account to Midland Credit Management who is now suing Roger. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have $3,000 to repay Midland. He decides to try settling the debt. First, Roger files an Answer before the deadline, which is 21 days in North Dakota. He claims insufficient validation of the debt. After filing his Answer with the court, he uses SoloSettle to contact the company and negotiate a settlement. Roger offers 60% of the debt’s value, or $1,800. Midland Credit Management considers his offer and decides to accept it. After signing and notarizing a settlement agreement, Roger sends the money via SoloSEttle. Midland drops the lawsuit against Roger and reports the account settled to the credit reporting bureaus.
North Dakota recognizes the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot take specific actions, including:
North Dakota has a statute of limitations on the collection of debt. Under ND §28-01-16, written and oral contracts have a statute of limitations of six years. Similarly, collections of debt on account are limited to six years.
Finally, 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 North Dakota, 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:
Some organizations can assist you if you’d like help with the debt settlement process in North Dakota. Let’s explore a few in this section.
SoloSettle isn’t like most debt settlement companies. As a tech-based approach to debt settlement, SoloSettle assists consumers in negotiating a settlement in advance of a debt lawsuit. Our software sends settlement offers directly to your creditors or debt collectors until you make a fair deal.
Once you reach an agreement you approve of, SoloSettle helps manage your contract and facilitate your payment with the creditor or debt collection agency.
Below are other options for trustworthy debt settlement assistance.
If you’re ready to start the debt settlement process with your creditor, you can call, email, or send them a letter.
We recommend emailing since it gives you a written record of the conversation with your creditor. You’ll also have a chance to consider your creditor’s offer rather than being put on the spot.
However, if you’d prefer to speak directly with your creditor, you can call them. Calling is appropriate if you have extraordinary financial circumstances you want to explain or if you need to resolve the debt issue immediately.
Under N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-15-02, one party must consent to record a call. The person giving consent is you. You don’t need the permission of your debt collector.
People usually have many questions when considering settling a debt in North Dakota. Here are the most common inquiries.
We recommend offering 60% of the total value of your debt to your creditor in a settlement. However, if you cannot come up with that much, offer what you can. Your creditor will let you know whether they’re willing to consider your settlement or if they have another idea in mind.
Yes, it is possible to do your own debt settlement. However, you’ll need to prepare by learning about the process. Once you figure out how much you can pay in a debt settlement, contact your creditor and begin the negotiation. Make sure to get your agreement in writing before sending any money.
Debt collectors will call and write you before they take up other collection activities. If you don’t respond to their notices, they may start a debt lawsuit against you. If they win the case, they’ll obtain a judgment allowing them to garnish your wages or freeze your bank account.
SoloSuit has several guides you can read concerning debt collection in North Dakota. Here are a few of them:
Now that you know how debt settlement works, you can try it yourself. Simply figure out how much you can afford to pay in a settlement and contact your creditor to make a deal. Once you have an agreement, get it in writing before transferring your money.
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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