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How to Settle a Debt in Oregon

Dena Standley | July 31, 2023

Dena Standley
Legal Expert, Paralegal
Dena Standley, BA

Dena Standley is a seasoned paralegal with more than 20 years of experience in legal research and writing, having received a certification as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal from Southern Technical College.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: Debt settlement is made possible in Oregon due to strict laws that protect debtors and proactive consumers who want to get out of debt. With proper guidance, you can become debt free through settlement negotiations. To settle your debt in Oregon, respond to your debt lawsuit, send an offer, and get the agreement in writing. SoloSettle can help you settle debt fast and easily.

Are you worried about your debt situation and wondering what to do? Maybe the debt collectors call multiple times a day, or you've already received a lawsuit. Either way, don’t despair. It’s not too late, and you can still take action and begin your journey to becoming debt-free.

Debt settlement is an effective way of paying off your debt by accumulating some money and making an offer to your creditor (or a debt collector) to clear the debt for less than the initial amount. This method is best used for the most pressing debt to work your way out of other debts.

In this article, we will explain how to settle a debt in Oregon, even when you have an active debt collection lawsuit. We will also provide additional information to help you throughout the process.

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Follow these three steps to settle a debt in Oregon

Debt settlement is ideal for managing your debts if you have some money already saved or a consistent income you can save. It is also the best action to take when you receive a lawsuit and want to avoid going to court.

Follow these steps to settle your debt in Oregon:

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

Now, let’s look at each of these steps closer. You can also watch this video to learn more about how debt settlement can help you:

1. Respond to the debt lawsuit with an Answer

The first thing you may consider doing after receiving a debt collection lawsuit is to throw it in the dustbin and forget about it. After all, you probably don’t have the money to pay the debt in full, and you can’t afford to hire an attorney to fight them in court. But you can't do that if you want to avoid plunging deeper into a financial crisis.

The consequences of ignoring a debt lawsuit can be dire. A creditor may receive a default judgment if you do not send an Answer. This outcome means they may be awarded the entire amount of the debt you owe, plus interest, fees, and legal costs. To recoup their money after a default judgment, they may be able to garnish your wages and place a lien against almost any assets you own.

To save yourself from this outcome, respond to the lawsuit by filing an Answer that addresses each part of the Complaint the creditor filed against you.

You have 30 days to respond to a debt lawsuit in Oregon (14 days if the case is in small claims).

Oregon law requires you to respond to each claim against you by admitting, denying, or denying for lack of knowledge. Generally, you want to deny as much of the Complaint as possible to place the burden of proof on the creditor or debt collector.

Once you’ve responded to each claim, list your affirmative defenses; these are legal reasons that you shouldn’t be held liable for the debt.

Responding to your lawsuit will give you time to work out a debt settlement offer without having to worry about a default judgment. More often than not, creditors and debt collectors would rather settle than proceed to court.

Use SoloSuit to draft and file your response today.

2. Send a settlement offer to start negotiations

Once you've ensured the Answer has reached the courts and a copy sent to the creditor’s lawyer, you can strategize how you will make the settlement offer. You can employ a debt settlement company or use the do-it-yourself approach. Regardless of the method you choose, these two tips will help:

  • Calculate how much you can pay off: Take a close look at your finances and budget. Never make or accept an offer that you know you can’t afford.

  • Determine how much the creditor or collector might accept: Do some research on your creditor or debt collector to understand how much they usually settle for. Collection agencies often buy delinquent debt for pennies on a dollar, so they might be willing to settle for even less than the creditor.

While the average consumer can settle a debt for 50% with the help of a debt settlement company, we recommend sending an initial offer at around 60% of your debt amount. If you can’t afford this, you can explain your financial situation to the creditor or collector. They may take compassion and work with you.

After you've worked on the above areas, you can write and send a professional Debt Lawsuit Settlement Letter.This can help you get the settlement process started on your own. On the other hand, SoloSettle can manage the debt settlement negotiation process for you, giving your peace of mind.

3. Get the settlement agreement in writing

It is exciting when a debt collector accepts your offer and withdraws the case from the court. But to ensure everything you've agreed is implemented, ask for a written agreement.

Consumers have complained on various platforms stating how debt collectors went back on their word after settling a debt without written proof. Ensure the agreement you use has all the crucial information; use the following debt settlement agreement example as a guide.

Now, let’s take a look at an example of how debt settlement works in Oregon.

Example: Nationwide Discovery sued Sam for a medical debt of $12,300. Luckily, Sam had a life policy maturing in a month and wanted to use part of the money to settle the debt. He used SoloSuit to draft and file an Answer twelve days before the deadline and provided a certified copy to both the court and Nationwide Discovery. Next, he used SoloSettle to send an offer to negotiate a settlement. After multiple counter offers, NationWide Discovery agreed to settle for $8,400. The settlement agreement was sent via certified mail, and Same made the payment according to its terms. At the end of the day, SoloSettle helped Same save thousands and get back on track with his finances.

SoloSettle is the easiest way to settle your debt

SoloSettle empowers consumers and helps them negotiate with creditors and reach a settlement deal. It makes negotiations easy due to its built-in structured process for negotiations and payment.

You can use SoloSettle to send and receive offers from creditors and debt collectors. It drafts offers for you and protects you from the lies debt collectors use to get a better deal. The app includes the proper legal language in the offers, protecting you when communicating with the creditor. After reaching a settlement deal, SoloSettle takes care of the documentation and ensures the creditor doesn't acquire your sensitive financial information.

Settle your debt in Oregon with SoloSettle.

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.”

Oregon debt settlement laws can protect you

In addition to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Oregon has other debt management laws that regulate how debt settlement companies deal with consumers. These guidelines ensure consumers are not exploited due to their desperate financial situation. For instance, Oregon has set the maximum fees companies can charge. It includes:

  • A maximum of $50 for an initial consultation fee
  • A maximum of $50 as an educational fee
  • A maximum monthly fee of 15% of the amount you've paid to them
  • 7.5% of the amount of debt reduced by the creditor

The Oregon Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that violation by these companies can lead to a $25,000 penalty when proven in court. In addition, a minimum of $200 for any damages caused.

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 Oregon, 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?

More than half of the debt settlement companies do more harm than good to desperate consumers. Some promise to settle the debt for pennies on a dollar, others ask for exorbitant fees, and others aren't licensed by the state.

Research carefully before settling on a company and ensure they have not been banned from operating by the Fair Trade Commission. Here is a list of debt settlement companies to consider working with:

  • SoloSettle: This reputable company can help you settle a debt of any amount, unlike most settlement companies that require you to have a debt of a relatively high value. SoloSettle also has the backing of SoloSuit, which can help you block lawsuits. The services are fast and efficient, with remarkable results.

  • Smart Debt Relief: This company gives you various options for settling debt and guides you throughout the process.

  • National Debt Relief: This company offers you a free savings estimate and promises they won't ask for fees until you settle your debt.

  • ClearOne Advantage: The specialist gives you the most affordable and feasible plan to get you out of debt within the shortest time possible.

Choose the best method to contact the debt collector

Most people do not like talking to debt collectors. They are often perceived as manipulators and ruthless when seeking to collect their money. Unfortunately, making a debt settlement offer will require you to communicate with them repeatedly. But they often soften when you want to discuss payment. Here are the three ways to carry out the process:

  • Phone: Debt collectors like phone conversations because there is no record of the conversation. If you choose this method, ensure you have a plan B for getting proof of communication. Notably, Oregon is an all-party consent state in recording phone calls (Rev Stat § 165.540). You cannot record unless you inform the other party; if you inform the debt collector, they will probably terminate the call.

  • Mail: Sending a Debt Settlement Letter via mail works, but it takes more time. Preferably, use certified mail because you can confirm receivership. Mail gives you time to respond to the counteroffer, and you also have written proof of the communication.

  • Email: This is the ideal method because sending the letter and delivery to the creditor is instantaneous. You also receive a response quickly. Email enables you to have the entire history of the conversation as evidence in case the credit denies the settlement deal.

How to get debt relief in Oregon

Debt settlement is not the only way to deal with your debt situation. Other methods, such as debt consolidation and bankruptcy, can be used if you fit the requirements. To help you explore these options, read the following Oregon debt relief guide that explains the process in detail and lists organizations that can help you manage your debt.

FAQs on debt settlement in Oregon

Debt settlement can be a long and tricky process. Below are answers to some of the most common questions we get in regards to debt settlement in Oregon.

How long do you have to pay a settlement offer in Oregon?

It depends on the timeline you gave when you signed the agreement with the creditor. Generally, you have 30 days to make the payment, or some debt collectors may assume you defaulted again. Before signing, ask for a reasonable time to gather the entire amount or request several monthly lump sum installments.

Can a debt collector reject a settlement offer?

Yes, a debt collector can reject an offer if you want to pay a tiny amount of what you owe. In addition, if they have sued you and have a strong case, they may want to see it through to get the whole debt amount.

Are all debt settlement companies a scam?

No, not all debt settlement companies are a scam. A significant number are legitimate. To avoid being scammed, check their BBB profile and search online for complaints and reviews they have received from various platforms.

For example, SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, is a trusted settlement process that lets you settle your debt on your terms and on your own timing.

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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