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How to Settle a Debt in Oklahoma

Dena Standley | March 06, 2023

When you settle your debt in Oklahoma ^^

Summary: If you are dealing with a debt lawsuit in Oklahoma, you can reach out to negotiate a debt settlement offer at any stage of the case. First, file your Answer to the lawsuit, then send a settlement offer. When an agreement has been reached, get it in writing. SoloSettle can help you negotiate your own debt settlement offer and settle your Oklahoma debt fast.

Most consumers drowning in debt would appreciate a fresh start to rebuild their financial status and improve their credit scores. Debt settlement is an option to consider if you have a consistent income that you can save for several months and then offer to clear the debt for less than you originally owe. You can also plan for settlement if you anticipate a lump sum from an investment or a gift.

Debt settlement may not improve your credit score immediately but having a paid entry in your report is better than the debt still appearing as unpaid. Further, if you have great negotiation skills, you can request the creditor to remove the debt on your credit report in exchange for clearing the debt.

You can settle a debt at any point in the collection process, and today we will break down the steps you need to take to settle a debt after receiving a lawsuit. We will also provide other helpful information to help you get the best out of debt settlement in Oklahoma.

Follow these three steps to settle a debt in Oklahoma

Consumers sometimes shy away from settling a debt because they fear facing creditors or debt collectors, especially for a debt they haven't paid for months or years. You'll be encouraged to know that most creditors are happy to settle because they would rather get a considerable percentage of their money than nothing at all. Likewise, debt collectors are often willing to settle for less than the original debt amount because they often purchase old debts for pennies on the dollar.

If you’ve been sued for a debt you owe, follow these three steps to settle the debt before going to court. If you do not have a lawsuit, skip to step two:

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

Keep reading to learn more about each of these steps in detail. Otherwise, check out this video:

1. Respond to the debt lawsuit with an Answer

It is mandatory to respond to a lawsuit even if you plan to settle with the creditor. In Oklahoma, you have 20 days to file an Answer before you lose the case by default.

The impression the court gets from your failure to respond is that you chose not to follow up on your case and are therefore admitting each claim against you. As such, the court may order a default judgment against you, which grants your creditor or debt permission to garnish your wages, put a lien on your property, or access your bank account.

In the lawsuit, you'll see a Complaint document listing all the allegations the creditor has against you. In Oklahoma, you should respond to each allegation using one of three responses: admit, deny or deny due to lack of knowledge.

Next, you'll see a section that allows you to list your affirmative defenses. Ensure you look for valid and provable defenses that can help your case. The creditor or collector may refuse to settle, and you may have to argue your case in court. But in most cases, they would rather settle than go to court.

Even if you plan to settle your debt before court, you should still file a response to the lawsuit. This gives you the time you need to work out a settlement agreement without the threat of a default judgment looming over your head.

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2. Make a debt settlement offer to start negotiations

Once you file the Answer in court, think of the best way to make the settlement offer—do it yourself, hire a debt settlement company, or use SoloSettle. As you contemplate which method to use, you need to know how much you have and are willing to part with comfortably. For instance, calculate how much money you need for necessities and subtract other vital expenses.

During this period, avoid buying things you do not need. If possible, have an accountability partner to help you spend sparingly. Next, add the money left (after subtracting expenses) to any savings you have for paying off the debt. If you don't have any savings available, you'll need to save for several months before making a settlement offer.

Another thing to consider is the percentage a creditor or collector might be willing to take as a settlement. If the debt is still in the hands of the original creditor, the offer they may accept ranges from 40–80%. If it is from a debt collection agency that has bought the debt, they may accept an offer ranging from 10–60%.

The best strategy is to begin negotiations at or below the lowest range. You’ll probably receive several counteroffers before you come to an agreement.

SoloSettle takes care of the debt settlement negotiations process for you.

3. Get the settlement agreement in writing

Not all creditors or collectors are honest. Some will agree to write the debt as paid off in your credit report, but go back on their word after you pay. They will then ask you to pay the remaining balance to mark it as cleared in their records and the credit report.

To avoid this trap, ask them to put everything in writing, including the amount you will pay and the action they must take to show they have accepted the settlement deal. The following is a sample debt settlement template with the key points you might include.

Let's consider an example of how to settle a debt in Oklahoma.

Example: Express Collections sued Sarah for an outstanding debt of $6,200 in Oklahoma. She knew filing an Answer was mandatory but wanted another option other than going to court. Sarah went online to learn more, and that’s when she found SoloSettle. After sending an Answer to the lawsuit, Sarah used SoloSettle to send and receive settlement offers until she reached an agreement with Express Collections. In her first offer, Sarah explained she could pay off $1,900 (30% of the debt). Express Collection countered the offer and asked for $4,900 (79%). They negotiated via email until she agreed to pay $3,720 (60%).

Listen to the following video that helped Sarah settle the debt.

Oklahoma debt collection and debt settlement laws

Compared to most states, Oklahoma has few specific debt settlement regulations. The state uses the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as the primary source of debt settlement laws. Even with these laws, a debt settlement company is prohibited from using illegal collection practices and ensures they use correct debt transaction methods. Other guidelines in Okla. Stat. tit. 24 states that debt settlement companies should not:

  • Charge exorbitant fees for the services
  • Give you false hope regarding your debt situation
  • Fail to offer the services they've promised

Under Title 24 section 14 (Okla. Stat. tit. 24 § 14), any person who violates the collection laws will be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined between $100–$500 or imprisoned for 30 days. In addition, the FDCPA law adds that the company will pay the victim up to $1000 per violation penalty when proven in court.

On top of these debt collection 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 Oklahoma, 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?

Numerous debt settlement companies take advantage of the consumer's desperate situation and violate most laws; others are outright scammers. Before hiring any debt settlement company, investigate if they are legitimate by checking if they are banned on the Fair Trade Commission website.

To help you out in your search, here are four debt settlement companies worth considering:

  • SoloSettle: Powered by SoloSuit, SoloSettle tool helps you negotiate a settlement for debts of any amount, unlike most debt settlement companies that only help with debts of$15,000 or more. SoloSettle sends and receives settlement offers on your behalf, manages the debt settlement agreement documentation for you, and sends your payments to the collectors for you so you can keep your financial information private and safe.

  • Century: This company offers you a comprehensive debt assessment and gives you the best option to use.

  • National Debt Relief: The specialists are committed to helping you regain financial stability within 12–24 months of working with them.

  • Citizens Debt Relief: This company works with any type of unsecured debate to help you attain financial freedom.

Choose the best method to contact the debt collector

If you have engaged debt collectors on the phone, you probably know how annoying they can be. It's understandable if you feel anxious to contact them for a settlement offer. But when they realize you want to pay them, they are often willing to negotiate. The following are the methods you can use to contact a debt collector for settlement:

  • Phone: Calling the creditor to make an offer is not the best option unless you record. Fortunately, Oklahoma law requires that only one person consents to record, legally. So if you reach an agreement on the phone, make sure you have proof.

  • Mail: Sending a settlement offer via mail will extend the process because it takes a few days for mail to change hands. However, it gives you ample time to think through the response and make better decisions.

  • Email: This method is most favorable because it's quicker to get through the process, and you have a complete record of the negotiations. If you do not have their email, call the creditor to give you their active email or the lawyer handling the case.

How to get debt relief in Oklahoma

Apart from debt settlement, other options are available to help you get out of debt; they include debt consolidation (paying off debt in stages) and bankruptcy. Before choosing these options, read this complete guide for debt relief in Oklahoma. Additionally, talk to a credit counselor who will offer you actionable advice according to your financial situation.

SoloSettle can help you settle your debt

SoloSuit’s commitment to helping consumers become debt free led us to create SoloSettle, which helps you settle a debt with a tech-based approach. SoloSettle negotiates with the creditors and debt collectors on your behalf and gives you feedback on the most favorable counteroffer.

Most importantly, SoloSettle makes sure all of the proper legal language is included to protect your rights when communicating with the creditor or debt collector. When a settlement agreement is reached, SoloSettle manages the settlement agreement documentation for you and protects your sensitive financial information from the collectors, preventing them from over-charging you.

Check out this 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.”

FAQs on debt settlement in Oklahoma

How do debt collectors work in Oklahoma?

As with all other states, debt collectors in Oklahoma begin by calling or sending an email asking you to resume paying the debt. They can call you multiple times and may use threats to compel you to pay. If all fails, they enter your debt in the credit report (if they haven't already) and may take you to court seeking permission to garnish your wages or access your bank account.

How do you create a reasonable budget to pay off debt?

Start by recording all your income streams and expenses. Next, create a new budget that cuts back on things that are not necessities and set aside that money. Keep assessing what you can cut back further or think of new ways to increase your income streams. When you have enough money set aside, you can approach the creditor for a settlement deal.

Does debt settlement affect my credit score?

Yes, debt settlement significantly affects your credit profile if you have a good score. However, if you have many negative entries that lead to a poor credit score, debt settlement will not cause a big change. It puts you in a better position than leaving the debts unpaid.

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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