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How to Settle a Debt in Virginia

Sarah Edwards | December 20, 2022

Sarah Edwards
Legal Expert
Sarah Edwards, BS

Sarah Edwards is a professional researcher and writer specializing in legal content. An Emerson College alumna, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the prestigious Boston institution.

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.

When you reach a debt settlement agreement in Virginia ^^

Summary: If you are dealing with a debt lawsuit in Virginia, you can reach out to negotiate a debt settlement offer at any stage of the lawsuit process. First, respond 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 Virginia debt fast.

Learning that you’re the subject of a debt lawsuit is troubling — especially if you don’t have the money to repay the bill before your court date. While you can try to set up a payment arrangement, many creditors don’t like long-term repayment plans. Instead, winning a lawsuit against you can give them access to your money through wage garnishment and other methods.

There is a way out of this situation that will save you money, satisfy your creditor, and end the collection activities against you for good. It's called debt settlement.

Many creditors will accept a partial payment of your debt to avoid the cost of court and the future administrative burden of a judgment. Debt settlement is a common practice that debt collectors and creditors are familiar with.

If you’ve been sued for debt in Virginia, keep reading to learn how you can respond to the lawsuit and settle your debt once and for all.

There are 3 steps to settling a debt

Think of debt settlement as a process that involves three specific steps:

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

Below, we’ll break down each of these steps in detail. You can also watch this video to learn more about debt settlement and how it can help you:

1. Respond to the debt lawsuit.

Whenever someone initiates a debt lawsuit against you in Virginia, they’ll start the process by filing a Warrant In Debt with the court. This document includes information about your overdue account and contains all the claims being made against you, including amount you owe to the debt collector or creditor and any interest or fees.

You’ll receive a copy of the Warrant In Debt, which explains that you must appear in court on a specific date. Once you review the case details, you’ll want to ensure that you evaluate every aspect of it. Note any incorrect information, like the amount due or interest charges.

So, the first step of settling your debt in Virginia is to show up in court on the scheduled date. If you don’t appear in court, you will automatically lose the case by default judgment, and whoever is suing you will be able to garnish your wages.

Respond to your Virginia debt lawsuit by appearing in court and filing a Grounds of Defense. You can also use SoloSuit’s Answer form to assert your affirmative defenses and strengthen your case.

In your Answer, you can dispute the creditor’s claim against you. You might use various arguments, but a few of the most common include the debt being outside the state’s statute of limitations or the debt collector having no business relationship with you.

While you intend to settle the lawsuit before the claim goes to court, an Answer helps protect you if your efforts fail and gives you time to negotiate a settlement.

Learn more about responding to a Virginia debt lawsuit from SoloSuit’s guide: How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Virginia.

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2. Send a settlement offer to start negotiations

Your next step is to figure out how much you can afford to pay the debt collector in a settlement. The more you can pay, the better. We find that consumers are usually more successful when they begin with an offer at 60% of a debt’s total value. For instance, if you owe a creditor $1,000, you’ll offer $600 in a settlement.

If you can’t afford to pay 60% of the debt’s total value, offer what you can. Some debt collectors and creditors will be easier on you if you explain your financial circumstances. Don’t be afraid to share difficulties like a job loss or medical crisis.

People who don’t have much in savings should consider other ways to pick up some quick cash. For instance, you could sell something you don’t need or ask to borrow money from friends and family.

Once you have an offer, you can begin negotiating with your creditor. Don’t be surprised if they refuse your proposal and propose a counteroffer of their own. You may go through several rounds of negotiation before reaching a settlement that works for both sides.

SoloSettle takes care of the settlement negotiation process for you.

3. Get your debt settlement agreement in writing

When you have an agreement with your debt collector or creditor, get it in writing. A written agreement solidifies the deal, ensuring that both you and your creditor or collectorunderstand its terms. If they ever try to start collection activities for the same debt, you’ll be able to show a copy of the agreement to stop them in their tracks.

You can prepare your own agreement before your negotiations. Once you finish negotiating, you’ll insert the details pertinent to your contract before sending the agreement to the debt collector or creditor to sign.

Here is a debt settlement agreement example, with a preview below:

Debt Settlement Agreement Example

You’ll note that, the settlement agreement example above contains a place for a notary to sign for both you and your creditor or the debt collector. Notarizing the agreement adds a further layer of credibility and formality. You’ll have a witness who saw both of you sign the contract.

SoloSettle manages the settlement agreement for you.

Now, let’s take a look at an example.

Example: Paul was sued by Encore Capital for an old credit card debt of $4,000. He used SoloSuit to respond to the lawsuit and give himself time to work out an agreement with the debt collectors. After taking a close look at his finances, Paul decided he could afford to pay off $3,000 within the next 90 days (only 75% of the debt). Paul used SoloSettle to send a settlement offer. After a few rounds of negotiations with Encore Capital, an agreement was reached for Paul to pay off $2,600 immediately. With SoloSettle’s help, Paul got the settlement agreement in writing, saved himself hundreds of dollars, and regained his financial freedom.

What are Virginia’s debt collection and debt settlement laws?

The Virginia Debt Collection Act, VA Code § 2.2-4800, is the state’s law governing debt collection. However, the law does not offer any additional protections that aren’t already granted by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

In Virginia, debt collectors and creditors cannot take the following actions against a debtor:

  • Call the individual at odd times, like after 9 p.m., without permission.
  • Misrepresent themselves as someone else, like a law enforcement officer.
  • Continually harass the debtor by repeatedly calling them throughout the day.
  • Contact the debtor more than seven times a week.
  • Use threatening language to convince the debtor to pay the debt.
  • Call the debtor at work if the debtor asks them not to.

Virginia has a statute of limitations that debt collectors must adhere to. VA Code § 8.01-246 provides a five-year statute of limitations for written and signed debt, while sales contracts under the UCC have a four-year limit, according to VA Code § 8.2-725. VA Code § 16.1-94.1 states that judgments in the General District Court are valid for up to 10 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 Alabama, 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 are the best debt settlement companies?

Numerous debt settlement companies can help you manage the debt settlement process. Here are a few of our favorites.


SoloSettle is a debt settlement company that helps people who are facing debt lawsuits.

With SoloSettle, debtors don’t need to deal directly with their creditors. Instead, we handle the negotiation process for you and facilitate the payment once an agreement is reached. You won’t need to worry about handing over your banking information to a debt collector.

Many consumers prefer SoloSettle over traditional debt settlement companies for a few reasons:

  • You can settle debts of any size with SoloSettle. Many debt settlement companies require you to have a debt over $15k.
  • SoloSettle actively attempts to settle your debt, whereas many debt settlement companies take a more passive role, waiting for settlement offers to come to them.
  • SoloSettle is offered by SoloSuit, a trusted brand and a legitimate company. Many traditional debt settlement companies are actual scams.
  • SoloSettle has legal defense built in with SoloSuit. While settling, you can use SoloSuit to block lawsuits if you need. Most debt settlement companies don’t provide legal defense; if you’re sued for a debt you are on your own.

Start with the debt settlement process with SoloSettle’s help.

National Debt Relief

National Debt Relief is one of the nation’s largest debt relief companies. Since its founding in 2009, the company has helped its customers settle over $1 billion in debt. People who qualify for National Debt Relief programs pay between 15% and 25% of the total value of their debt for the company’s services.

Freedom Debt Relief

Another large provider of debt settlement services is Freedom Debt Relief. The company has helped over 650,000 clients resolve their debts since 2002. Those interested in the program can expect it to last between two and four years. Like National Debt Relief, Freedom Debt Relief charges clients a 15% to 25% fee.

Century Support Services

Century Support Services is another debt relief company that’s popular with customers. Since 2012, the organization has helped customers resolve more than $1.7 billion in debt. Century Support Services charges clients 18% to 25%, depending on how much debt they seek to settle.

How to contact your creditor to get started with debt settlement

If you’re ready to begin the debt settlement process in Virginia with a creditor, you’ll need to reach out to them. You can contact debt collectors and creditors via phone, email, or postal mail.

We recommend using email to negotiate a settlement with your debt collector. That way, you’ll have a written record of the conversation that you can refer to if questions arise concerning the settlement or if the collector resumes their collection activities.

If you prefer to have a phone conversation with the collector to negotiate the settlement, you can record the call according to VA Code § 19.2-62. Virginia law requires the consent of only one party to record a conversation.

A recorded phone call is helpful if the creditor tries to renege on your settlement. It will help you prove that you have already reached an agreement.

FAQs on debt settlement in Virginia

Do you still have a few questions about settling your debt in Virginia? Here are answers to some of the most typical questions consumers ask.

Q. Is it better to settle a debt or go to court?

If you know you owe the debt and have little recourse for paying it, it’s best to settle the obligation. Settling the debt helps you avoid a potential judgment and stops any further collection activity against you. However, if a debt collector sues you for a debt you have valid reasons for not paying, you should fight the battle in court.

Q. What percentage of debt should you offer to settle?

Determining how much to offer a debt collector in a settlement is a personal decision. You’ll need to decide what you can afford. The more you offer, the more likely the debt collector will accept your payment.

Q. How long before a debt becomes uncollectible in Virginia?

Virginia has a five-year statute of limitations on most debts, including credit cards, medical debts, and mortgages. Once the statute of limitations expires, the creditor cannot file a lawsuit against the consumer. A judgment grants the right for a collector to pursue the debtor for up to 10 years.

Need more information about settling your debts in Virginia?

SoloSuit has a variety of guides you can refer to as you explore how to settle your debt in Virginia. Check out our links below:

Settling a debt sets you up for the future

The process may be daunting if you’ve never attempted debt settlement. After all, dealing with debt collectors isn’t on anyone’s list of fun activities. However, once you arrange to settle your debts, you won’t have to worry about receiving upsetting letters or calls anymore. You’ll be able to move on and recover financially.

SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, can help you settle your debt on your own terms. With SoloSettle’s help, you won’t have to stress about communicating with creditors and debt collectors. You’ll be able to sleep easy knowing you’re being taken care of.

For example, 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.”

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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