Summary: Southern Management Systems is a debt collector that works with multifamily and student housing property managers. If you’ve been sued by SMS, respond quickly by using SoloSuit to draft an Answer. And to resolve debt permanently, use SoloSettle to negotiate a lower payment amount.
How long can you keep dodging debt collectors? If you’ve been contacted by Southern Management Systems (SMS), you’ll need a strategy that lets you resolve your debt once and for all. The following guide can help you respond to a debt collection lawsuit and settle your debt for a fraction of the original amount.
It’s easy to dismiss debt collectors as a scam. But Southern Management Systems is a legitimate debt collection company that focuses on collecting debts owed by residents of multifamily units and student housing. If you’ve been contacted by SMS, the company is likely seeking to collect on past-due rent or other fees.
Similarly, SMS only has an average 1.6-star rating out of 5 stars from nearly 200 Google reviews. Below is a photo of a some recent Southern Management Systems reviews:
Many complaints allege that Southern Management Systems failed to produce evidence of their debt by providing them with a copy of the original contract. This shows the importance of verifying your debt before proceeding further.
Submit disputes in writing
While the company website lists a toll-free contact number (1-800-229-4531), it also makes clear that debt disputes must be submitted in writing. You may reach the company by mail at P.O. Box 149966, Orlando, FL 32814.
As an additional reference, the photo below is of Southern Management Systems’ office building in Orlando:
Don’t be intimidated by debt collectors
Regardless of whether the debt is legitimate or not, consumers are protected from aggressive or misleading debt collection practices by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCA). According to this federal law, collection agencies may not engage in any of the following:
Calling you several times per day.
Calling you early in the morning or late at night.
Failing to identify themselves as a debt collector.
Contacting you after receiving a Cease and Desist Letter.
Refusing to validate your debt.
Speaking with your friends, coworkers, or family members about your debt.
Threatening you with arrest for not paying your debt.
Using offensive or vulgar language.
Has a representative from SMS violated any of these regulations? If so, report violations to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online or by calling 877-382-4357. The CFPB also accepts complaints through its website or at 855-411-2372.
Don’t ignore a lawsuit
Even if you don’t believe the debt is legitimate, don’t ignore a Summons for a debt collection lawsuit. Failing to respond with an Answer can cause you to lose the case, and the judge may render a default judgment in favor of SMS.
This default judgment may include legal and debt collection fees, and it will eliminate the possibility for you to negotiate a lower settlement.
In some cases, you’ll have as little as two weeks to file an Answer, which is a document indicating your willingness to fight the lawsuit. SoloSuit makes it easy to draft an Answer and prevent a default judgment.
Still have questions about how to respond to a lawsuit? Check out this video on how to respond to a debt Summons:
Verify your debt before proceeding
Some debt collectors may attempt to pressure you into making a so-called good faith payment. Under no circumstances should you do this until you’re able to verify that the debt is yours. Instead, ask SMS to provide you with proof that the debt is legitimate. This should include information such as:
The name of your original creditor.
The amount of the original debt.
The date the debt was incurred.
The amount of debt remaining.
The date of your last payment (if applicable).
Documentation that ties you to the debt.
Since Southern Management Systems focuses on debt collection for the housing industry, it may be important to identify specific dates for past-due rent payments or similar expenses.
If SMS is unable to prove that the debt is yours, it may drop the debt collection lawsuit altogether. Otherwise, you may stand a stronger chance of winning the lawsuit. However, if the debt is genuinely yours, your better option is to resolve your debt by negotiating a settlement.
Settle your debt with Southern Management Systems
Debt collectors are usually willing to accept a lower settlement offer and avoid a time-consuming legal process. Use this to your advantage by negotiating a lower settlement amount. SoloSettle makes it easy to negotiate with debt collectors like SMS, and by using this platform, you never have to deal directly with the company.
SoloSettle helps you and SMS come to a mutual agreement about how much to settle for. Your initial offer should be to pay 60% of the original debt. SMS may reject this, but SoloSettle helps you engage in a negotiation process that’s beneficial to both you and Southern Management Systems. Pay online through SoloSettle only after you arrange an agreement.
Let’s look at an example.
Example: Ryan had moved nearly a year ago. So why was he receiving notices from a company called Southern Management Systems? It turns out that his former landlord was using this debt collector to recover past rent that Ryan had supposedly forgotten about. And when Ryan received a legal summons for a lawsuit, he started to panic. Thankfully, he found SoloSuit. Within mere minutes, Ryan was able to draft an Answer and have SoloSuit file it with the court. Then, he requested that SMS provide him with debt validation information to ensure that the debt was really his. As it turns out, he’d forgotten a few rent payments. But SoloSettle also gave Ryan a way to negotiate a lower settlement amount. As a result, Ryan settled the debt for less than the original amount, allowing him to move on quickly and easily.
Some creditors, banks, and lenders have an internal collections department. If they come after you for a debt, Solosuit can still help you respond and resolve the debt. Here’s a list of guides on how to resolve debt with different creditors.
Don’t have time to go to your local courthouse to check the status of your case? We’ve created a guide on how to check the status of your case in every state, complete with online search tools and court directories.
Forgot to respond to your debt lawsuit? The judge may have ordered a default judgment against you, and with a default judgment, debt collectors can garnish your wages. Here are our guides on how to stop wage garnishment in all 50 states.
Debt settlement is one of the most effective ways to resolve a debt and save money. We’ve created a guide on how to settle your debt in all 50 states. Find out how to settle in your state with a simple click and explore other debt settlement resources below.
Not sure how to negotiate a debt settlement with a debt collector? We are creating guides to help you know how to start the settlement conversation and increase your chances of coming to an agreement with every debt collector.
If the thought of going to court stresses you out, you’re not alone. Many Americans who are sued for credit card debt utilize a Motion to Compel Arbitration to push their case out of court and into arbitration.
Below are some resources on how to use an arbitration clause to your advantage and win a debt lawsuit.
Do you keep getting calls from an unknown number, only to realize that it’s a debt collector on the other line? If you’ve been called by any of the following numbers, chances are you have collectors coming after you, and we’ll tell you how to stop them.
And 50% of our customers' cases have been dismissed in the past.
"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