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How to Settle a Debt in Ohio

Dena Standley | March 03, 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.

Settle your debt in Ohio.

Summary: Settling a debt can help you regain control of your financial situation. Debt settlement offers can be made at any point in the collection process, even after being sued. SoloSuit will help you learn how you can settle your debt in Ohio by using the SoloSettle service.

Are you tired of receiving calls from your creditor or a debt collector for a debt you owe but are finding it hard to keep up with the payments? Debt settlement can be an option to eliminate the debt and rid yourself of persistent debt collectors.

In Ohio, debt settlement is a popular method of eliminating delinquent debt by offering to pay the creditor or debt collector a lump sum for less than the original amount owed. Most creditors accept a settlement from accounts that have missed payments for at least six months or more.

If you have been making your payments on time, creditors will not accept a settlement offer because they believe you will stay up to date and pay the entire amount. Today, SoloSuit will help you learn more about debt settlement and how to succeed in settling your debt in Ohio.

Three steps to settle a debt in Ohio

Debt settlement is an option for consumers who have tried all means to stay up to date with payments and may find themselves contemplating bankruptcy. Debt settlement can free you from the most pressing debt, such as the one you've been sued for. Follow these three setps to settle a debt after a creditor or debt collector has taken you to court.

1. Respond to your debt lawsuit with an Answer

Even though you want to settle the debt, you must respond to the lawsuit with an Answer. This document requires you to respond to the creditor's allegations against you. Ohio requires you to use three responses: admit, deny, or deny due to lack of knowledge.

In your Answer, you should also state your affirmative defenses. These are legal reasons that you shouldn’t lose the case. In the event that the creditor or collector does not accept a settlement offer and wants to proceed with the case, affirmative defenses will strengthen your case and give you a better chance in court.

That being said, most creditors would more often settle than go through the court process.

You must file the Answer within 28 days, or the creditor may receive a judgment in their favor. Deliver the document to the courthouse or use certified mail to ensure the court receives it in time.

2. Make a settlement offer to start negotiations

Once you successfully file your Answer, plan how to execute the negotiation offer. For instance, do you want to do it yourself or hire a debt settlement company? It is possible to do it yourself as long as you have the skills to negotiate and aren't intimidated by the creditor.

Working with a debt settlement company while you have an active case in court may be challenging. These companies need time to help you accumulate a lump sum before making an offer to creditors. Moreover, you can seek a reputable debt settlement company if you already have a lump sum ready to negotiate.

Another option is to use SoloSettle, which combines a do-it-yourself approach and working with a trusted company that will guide you through the negotiation process.

Before making an offer, assess how much you have and are willing to pay. In addition, research the percentage creditors often accept for debt settlement; the figures range between 60% to 80%. Below is an example.

Example: Ted had a debt of $4,500 with Discovery Collections. He hadn’t made payments for ten months, and DC had sent him a lawsuit letter to his home. Since he had $3,000 in dividends due in two weeks, he sent a Debt Settlement Letter offering to pay $2,500. DC welcomed the offer but asked for $3,500. After repeated negotiations, they settled on $3,100.

3. Get the settlement agreement in writing

Debt collectors are known to turn their backs on a deal they made with consumers when there is no proof of the agreement. Typically, they accept the deal you offer them, and after making payments, they wait a few weeks or months and start harassing you for the remaining amount.

If they had promised to remove the debt on your credit report, they would tell you to clear the balance for them to remove it. To avoid this trap, have the agreement in writing and ensure it is signed by both you and the creditor.

Here’s a real sample of a settlement agreement document:

Debt Settlement Agreement

Read a full debt settlement agreement here.

Learn more about the above steps in the following video.

Ohio debt settlement laws can protect you

Ohio debt settlement laws are under the Ohio Revised Code 4710, called the Debt Pooling Companies Act. This Act ensures debt settlement companies do not exploit consumers when handling their debt situation. The guidelines state that debt settlement companies should not:

  • Charge you more than $100 per year for debt settlement services
  • Charge you more than $75 as an upfront fee or as a fee for setting up a debt management plan
  • Charge more than an 8.5% periodic fee for executing the debt management plan

If a debt settlement company charges you more than the above amounts, Ohio debt settlement laws allow you to take legal measures to recoup what you paid in violation of the Act.

What’s the best debt settlement company?

Many consumers have been scammed by debt settlement companies who deceive them with settlement services that are too good to be true. Be wary of a company that guarantees results before talking to the creditors, refuses to tell you their overall fees, and gives you one option as the only solution. The following are debt settlement companies you can consider using:

  • SoloSettle: The principle applied here is to approach the creditor for a debt of any amount. Many debt settlement companies only accept cases from consumers with debts above $15,000. SoloSuit allows you to use its tools for any sized debt, making this option superior. SoloSuit is a trusted company, and you can be sure you're not being scammed when using SoloSettle.

  • United Settlement: This company doesn't ask for upfront fees, but you first work with a debt specialist to help you develop a plan to settle your debts in stages.

  • New Era Debt Solution: The specialists help you assess if you qualify for debt settlement and may suggest other options if your situation doesn't meet their standards.

  • Apprisen: This company offers free financial analysis and customized debt management plans. They will assign an expert to help you in the debt settlement process.

Before signing a working contract with a debt settlement company, check their accreditation on the Better Business Bureau website and ensure they are not among the banned companies by the FTC.

Choose the best method to contact the debt collector

Debt collectors are trained to talk to consumers to push them to make payments or admit to a debt they are not sure they owe. Be careful how you communicate with them, and always think carefully before responding to their remarks or questions. The following are the three main ways to communicate with debt collectors:

  • Phone: Debt collectors prefer talking to you via a call because there is no record of the information exchanged. It will be your word against theirs. In addition, their training is primarily based on calls and not written communications. If you choose this option, take advantage of Ohio law which allows you to record phone calls with only one-party consent according to Ohio Rev Code § 2933.52.

  • Mail: This is a good option if you are not in a hurry to enter a settlement deal with the creditor. It also gives you time to think through the response you've received, helping you avoid saying something you may regret in the heat of the moment. Most importantly, mail allows you to keep an efficient record of all correspondence between you and the debt collector.

  • Email: This is the ideal method to start a settlement offer because it is instantaneous, and you have it in writing, reducing the chances of the creditor deceiving you. Debt collectors dislike this method, but you can push for it when you initiate the settlement offer.

As mentioned earlier, when you agree on a settlement offer, do not make any payments until you receive a signed debt settlement agreement–-regardless of the method you use for communication.

How to get debt relief in Ohio

If you are drowning in debt, you have other options to explore for debt relief apart from debt settlement. For instance, you may not have a lump sum to settle a debt or a consistent job to help you accumulate the money needed for settlement. Other options, such as debt consolidation and bankruptcy, can be the solution you need to jump-start your journey to becoming financially free. Begin that journey by reading this guide that takes you through the debt relief process in Ohio.

SoloSuit can help you settle your debt

SoloSuit endeavors to help consumers to get out of debt without losing all they’ve got. To achieve this, we developed the SoloSettle tool that guides you in sending and receiving settlement offers with creditors and debt collectors alike.

SoloSettle’s goal is to empower you to negotiate and reach a debt settlement on your own.

SoloSettle makes negotiating easy by providing a structured process.You can use our web-app to send and receive offers from collectors. It will draft offers for you and protect you from the potential lies and bullying of debt collectors.

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.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do if I am in debt in Ohio?

If you have small debts and you are behind on payments, contact your creditor about options such as reducing your payments or allowing you time to catch up without further damaging your credit score. Other options you can consider are making a settlement offer to the creditor (for less than what you actually owe), using debt consolidation (which helps you clear one debt at a time), or filing for bankruptcy (if you do not see any other way out).

Can I trust debt settlement companies?

Yes, if you research well to ensure the company is legitimate. More than half of debt settlement companies are scammers and take advantage of a consumer's desperate situation. Be alert for any company that asks for an upfront fee without striking a settlement deal with the creditor. If the deal is too good, avoid engaging them further and look for another debt settlement company to compare services.

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.

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