Sarah Edwards | March 17, 2023
Summary: You have 30 days to respond to a debt lawsuit in Tennessee. Despite being sued, you still have time to settle the debt once and for all. Just be sure to respond to the lawsuit with a written Answer, send a settlement offer to kickstart negotiations, and get the agreement in writing when reached. SoloSettle can help with all these tips and more.
If you’ve recently fallen behind on payments to a creditor, you’ve likely received lots of calls and letters. Creditors will try to get you back on track with your payment schedule.
However, sometimes you can’t afford to catch up with your payments. You may have lost your job or taken on too much debt. If you don’t resume your payments, your creditor will likely charge off your account and sell it to a collection agency. In some cases, the creditor or debt collector will even start a debt lawsuit.
Even if you’ve been sued for a debt you owe, it isn’t too late to settle the matter. SoloSettle makes debt settlement simple with a tech-based approach. Keep reading to learn more.
If you’ve been sued for debt in Tennessee, you can settle the debt for less than the original amount and avoid going to court. There are three steps in the debt settlement process:
Keep reading to explore each of these steps in detail. Otherwise, check out the following video to learn more about how to settle a debt in Tennessee:
A lawsuit begins when a creditor or collector files a Complaint against you in your local Tennessee court. A Complaint lists the reasons for suing you, including your lack of payments toward the debt. The Complaint will indicate the amount you owe, including any interest, court costs, and other penalties.
Many people don’t realize they must file a response to the Complaint. In Tennessee, you have 30 days to respond to a debt lawsuit. If you don’t respond before the deadline, you will lose by default. This happens when the opposing party requests a default judgment against you, and the court grants it.
With a default judgment, creditors and debt collectors have the right to garnish your wages, seize your property, and freeze your bank account. This is why it’s critical that you answer the lawsuit as soon as possible.
The formal response document, known as an Answer, is your defense to the lawsuit. Even if you know you owe the debt and plan to settle, you should still file an Answer.
There are multiple defenses available for debt lawsuits, but a few of the most common include insufficient validation of the debt or lack of business relationship with the creditor. If neither of those defenses is appropriate, you can find another that is.
Make the right defense the right way with SoloSuit.
Next, you’ll want to determine how much you can afford to pay off to settle the debt. Assess your finances, including your savings and upcoming paychecks. If you don’t have much money available, consider selling something you don’t need or seeking help from family and friends. You can use the following equation to help you determine a settlement amount:
Amount available to settle = (monthly income – monthly costs) + savings
Ideally, you’ll want to start with an offer of at least 60% of the total value of your debt. That’s enough for your creditor to seriously consider whether it makes more sense to accept your lump-sum payment than to pursue further collection activities against you that may have uncertain results. If you can’t afford 60%, you can always try to settle for less. You might even consider asking friends or family for a loan to help with the payment.
Once you contact your creditor to start the negotiation process, they may counter your offer with one of their own. Stay the course, and don’t accept an offer you know you can’t follow through with. If you do and cannot adhere to the terms of the agreement, the creditor will resume their legal process against you.
SoloSettle’s software takes care of the settlement negotiations.
When you have a deal with your creditor, it’s essential to put it in writing. A written agreement defines the terms of the contract and ensures everyone is on the same page.
Your written agreement should clearly indicate the amount you’ll pay to your creditor. It should also stipulate when the payment is due and where you’ll send it.
The agreement should expressly release you from further claims concerning the obligation and require that your creditor drop the lawsuit against you. It should also instruct the creditor to report the debt as settled to the credit reporting bureaus.
SoloSettle helps you manage the settlement agreement documentation.
We recommend that you ask the creditor to sign and notarize the agreement. Notarizing the agreement adds an additional layer of legal credibility.
Here’s a debt settlement agreement example, so you know what to look for in yours.
Take a look at a hypothetical example of how to settle a debt in Tennessee using these three steps.
Example: Rudy has fallen months behind on credit card payments, and his creditor eventually charges off his account and transfers it to collections. The debt collection agency that picks up the account is called LVNV Funding. Shortly after, Rudy finds out that LVNV Funding is suing him for the $5,000 debt. Rudy uses SoloSuit to respond to the lawsuit, before Tennessee's 30-day deadline, with an Answer where he lists his affirmative defenses. This gives Rudy time to work out a settlement plan. Next, Rudy reviews his finances and determines he can offer 60% of the debt in a settlement, or $3,000. Rudy uses SoloSettle to reach out to LVNV Funding to ask if it will accept his settlement offer. LVNV reviews his offer and determines it’s enough to settle the debt. Once both parties sign and notarize a settlement agreement, Rudy transfers the money. LVNV Fundingl drops its case against Rudy and reports his debt settled to the credit reporting bureaus.
Tennessee follows the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which limits the activities creditors and debt collectors can take against a consumer. Under the FDCPA, creditors cannot take the following actions:
Under the statute of limitations established in TN Code § 28-3-109 (2019), creditors have up to six years to pursue collections on written and oral contracts. Once that time passes, legal action against the debtor is time-barred.
On top of these 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 Tennessee, 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:
Various debt settlement companies can assist you with the debt settlement process. Here are a few of our recommendations.
SoloSettle is the best solution for anyone facing a current debt lawsuit. Before your court date, SoloSettle handles the debt settlement negotiation process for you.
We’ll negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Once you agree to it, we’ll make sure you have a written contract. Then, we’ll deal with the payment process, so you won’t need to worry about handing over your banking information to a debt collector.
SoloSettle is different from other debt settlement companies for several reasons:
Accredited Debt Relief is another debt settlement organization that’s assisted thousands of people through debt settlement. Qualified clients with multiple unsecured debts totaling at least $10,000 can enroll in a program that will last up to four years. Costs for Accredited Debt Relief’s services range from 15% to 25% of the total enrolled debt.
Freedom Debt Relief is one of the oldest debt settlement organizations in the U.S. Since 2002, the company has helped thousands of debtors resolve their obligations. Interested applicants undergo a complimentary consultation and receive a customized payment plan. If they enroll in the program, they’ll make monthly payments toward resolving their debts. Fees range from 15% to 25% of the participant’s total debt.
National Debt Relief assists individuals with resolving multiple debts through debt settlement. To qualify for its programs, you must have at least $10,000 in unsecured debt, like credit card balances or medical bills. Programs last two to four years, and you’ll pay 15% to 25% of your debt in service fees.
If you’d like to attempt debt settlement, you can contact your creditor via phone, email, or letter.
Email is usually the best way to reach a creditor. With email, you have a written record of the conversation. You’ll also get quick results; most people can negotiate a settlement within a business day or two.
We recommend recording the call if you prefer negotiating a debt settlement with your creditor over the phone. Under TN Code § 39-13-601, you can make a phone recording without the other party’s consent.
Snail mail is the least efficient way of negotiating debt settlement. Your creditor might not immediately respond to your letter, which can eat into your limited time before your court date.
Most people have concerns about debt settlement in Tennessee. Here are answers to a few typical questions.
The statute of limitations for oral and written contracts is six years. Most debts fall under this category. If your debt passes the six-year limit, your creditor cannot pursue you in court for nonpayment. However, they can still call you, send you emails, and negatively report your account to the credit reporting bureaus.
The amount you offer in a settlement is a personal matter. You’ll want to evaluate your finances to determine what you can afford. The more you offer, the greater the likelihood your creditor will accept a settlement. However, if you can’t afford much, explain your situation to your creditor. They may take less if they understand your financial circumstances.
Yes, it is possible to do your own debt settlement. However, you’ll want to learn about the process before reaching out to your creditor. Determine how much you can afford in a settlement, and don’t accept any offer from your creditor you can’t fulfill.
SoloSuit has a few other guides concerning debt relief and debt collections in Tennessee. We’ve listed them below.
While a debt lawsuit may be frustrating, it is possible to settle the matter before your court date. File your Answer with your local Tennessee court and determine how much you can offer in a settlement. Once you have a deal with your creditor, get it in writing before sending your money.
If you need help with debts in Tennessee, check out SoloSuit’s solutions.
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.)
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.
Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips
How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts
How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?
How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?
What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?
Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?
If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?
Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?
Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?
Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?
What is a default judgment?— What do I do?
Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?
What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?
What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?
What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency
What is a Stipulated Judgment?
What is the Deadline for a Defendants Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?
Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?
Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?
Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?
Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?
Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?
Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide
Am I Responsible for My Spouses Medical Debt?
Should I Marry Someone With Debt?
Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?
How Does Debt Assignment Work?
What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?
How Does Debt Assignment Work?
Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?
How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?
Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?
What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?
Does Student Debt Die With You?
Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?
How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?
How Long Does a Judgment Last?
Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?
Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?
Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?
The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?
Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?
What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?
Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.
How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide
How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney
How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know
How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)
Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector
Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency
Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.
Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit
New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt
Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors
The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah
West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt
What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained
Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector
Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt
Youre Drowning in Debt — Heres How to Swim
Help! Im Being Sued by My Debt Collector
How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment
How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont
North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt
ClearPoint Debt Management Review
Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt
Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say
CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review
How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter
How to Appear in Court by Phone
How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands
Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon
Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next
How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement
Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Heres What to Do
How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection
Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt
Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection
How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa
How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court
Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review
Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?
Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?
How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?
How Long Does a Judgement Last?
How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?
How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court
Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.
"Finding yourself on the wrong side of the law unexpectedly is kinda scary. I started researching on YouTube and found SoloSuit's channel. The videos were so helpful, easy to understand and encouraging. When I reached out to SoloSuit they were on it. Very professional, impeccably prompt. Thanks for the service!" - Heather