No one likes being sued, especially for debt collection. Going to court and arguing about an unpaid debt can be daunting, and you may be tempted to ignore the summons. However, ignoring the lawsuit will not make it go away. Failing to respond to a summons means raising the white flag of defeat and handing victory over to the debt collector.
Debt collection lawsuits can be scary, especially when dealing with them alone. But it’s important to know that you have options and resources, regardless of which route you choose. This article provides an overview of what to expect when responding to a debt collection lawsuit in Alaska and tips and advice on how to best proceed.
Alaska debt summons deadline
A debt summons and complaint can seem daunting, but you only have 20 days to respond in Alaska. You can directly serve the court and plaintiff, or the plaintiff’s attorney, with your answer. Failing to respond within the set timeframe can result in a default judgment being ordered against you by the court.
Responding to a debt collection summons
You may receive a call or letter from a debt collection agency. This can be a stressful experience, but it is essential to remember that there are laws in place to protect you as a consumer. Debt collectors cannot use unfair collection practices, so keep calm and know your rights. You can verify the debt before agreeing to any repayment options.
Dealing with debt collectors can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that you have rights. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you have the right to request information about the debt, including the amount owed, the date the debt was incurred, and the name of the original lender. You also have the right to ask for verification of the debt. So, what should you do when a debt collector calls? First, ask for their name and the name of their agency.
It is essential to get a written verification letter from the debt collector with all the relevant information before making any payments toward settling the debt. Negotiating with the collector for a price lower than the total amount owed may be possible.
You can protect yourself from unwanted debt collection contact by asking the agency, in writing, to only communicate with you through the mail. Or, you can request that they cease contacting you altogether, provided you dispute the debt or don’t owe the plaintiff any money.
Even though Alaska’s law and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) don’t make legitimate debts disappear, you should still answer a debt collection summons and try to work out a reasonable repayment plan. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.
In Alaska, debt collection cases can be confusing and complicated. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. With SoloSuit, you can respond to a debt collection case quickly and easily. We’ll guide you through the entire process, step by step.
How to respond to an Alaska debt collection case
To respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Alaska, you must follow specific steps.
Prepare An Answer Document
One of the initial steps to take when sued for debt in this northwestern state is to prepare an answer document containing pertinent information about both complaints and summons. This could include
- Personal details, such as name and address.
- Information on the plaintiff, which includes the name of the company, and the attorney is representing them.
- Information on the relevant court; the name, address, case number, and district.
Respond To Each Allegation
Once you have your answer document, the next step is to go through each paragraph of the complaint and either admit to the allegations, deny them, or say there is not enough information to do either.
Make Affirmative Defenses
The court can rule in your favor based on an affirmative defense. This means that you would need present evidence of the reason to prove it. Successfully doing so could convince the court that you do not owe any debt to the plaintiff. Various affirmative defenses might apply to your case in Alaska, some of which are listed below:
Not your debt: Sometimes, a creditor may sue you for a debt you do not owe. This can happen due to an error in their financial records or because of a stolen identity. However, you have the right to defend yourself in court. Depending on the specific situation, several affirmative defenses may apply to your case in Alaska. For example, you may be able to prove that the debt is not yours or that the statute of limitations has expired.
Incorrect amount: Suing a debt collector can be costly and time-consuming. However, adding a wrong debt claim to your affirmative defenses may save money and hassle. This claim can be used to dispute the amount of money the plaintiff says you owe.
Unknown plaintiff: Creditors have the right to demand that debt collectors show proof that they own the debt they are trying to collect. Most collection agencies purchase debts from creditors, so you can argue that you made an agreement with a different company or person than the one suing unless they can prove ownership of the debt.
Statute of limitations: Alaska has strict laws regarding the statute of limitations on debt. This means that creditors cannot sue you for the debt once the statute of limitations has expired. Therefore, one of your affirmative defenses against debt collectors is to check whether the statute of limitations has run out on your particular debt.
Already litigated: Differentiating between debt and previous litigation can be difficult for some people. However, it is essential to remember that a person cannot be sued for the same debt twice. This is known as the principle of res judicata. To raise this defense, you must remember to include the case number and filing date of the previous court case. It is also important to note which state the case was filed in, in case it was not Alaska.
Bankruptcy: Once you file for bankruptcy, creditors can no longer sue you over debts included as part of the bankruptcy case. So, suppose a debt collector is suing you, and you want to use bankruptcy as your defense. You’ll need to include the court case number and filing date from when you initially filed for bankruptcy.
See If You Qualify for Credit Card Relief
See how much you can save every month — plus get an estimate of time savings and total savings — with your very own personalized plan.
Improper collateral: Debt summons can be a burden, especially for loans with collateral. You can argue that the creditor failed to give you notice of sale or didn’t sell the collateral in a commercially viable manner.
Collateral sales are a big deal up here in Alaska. Before a creditor can sell your property, they must provide you with written notice, giving you reasonable time to prepare (usually ten days). This notice must contain the following information:
- Your name and that of the creditor.
- A description of the collateral.
- A description of the time and date of sale.
- A warning that if the collector sells the collateral for less than you owe, you still owe them a debt.
- A phone number to contact the creditor in case you want the collateral back.
- An offer to provide full accounting details of the debt.
You can serve the plaintiff your answer from Alaska in a few different ways. One way is by hand delivery, and another is through the mail. Whichever method you choose, you will need to make two copies of your answer form. Give one copy to the plaintiff’s attorney, and keep the other for yourself. It’s essential to write down when and how you served the plaintiff on the original answer form, also known as the ‘Certificate of Service section.’ This will be helpful for future reference.
You must answer the summons and counterclaim within 20 days of being served, or your case may be dismissed. In Alaska, courts close at noon on Fridays, so be sure to plan accordingly. Answer forms are due the next day the court is open in the event of a weekend or holiday.
The plaintiff usually indicates the court location on the summons. Answer forms should be filed in this court location.
Alaska’s debt collection laws and regulations
Although debt collectors are prohibited from using unfair or deceptive practices when collecting a debt, this does not absolve you of any valid debt you may have incurred. These laws, such as Alaska’s Fair Trade Practice and Consumer Protection Act and Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), are designed to protect consumers, but they do not forgive legitimate debts.
Some regulations have been set in place by various acts. These include:
Debt collectors are not allowed to threaten violence, use harsh language, or repeatedly call you to annoy or harass you. They are also prohibited from making deceptive or misleading statements when collecting debts. Some examples of such statements would be:
- Falsely claiming that they will take legal action against you.
- Threatening to seize your property or garnish your wages without intending to follow through the proper legal channels.
- Impersonating an attorney on a call or in writing.
- Implying or stating that not paying your debt will lead to criminal charges or imprisonment.
- They are indicating that documents are legal when they are not.
Wage Garnishment In Alaska
In general, Alaskans are very protective of their rights. This is reflected in the state’s “Alaska Exemptions Act,” which provides more exemptions from wage garnishment than most other states. The Act details the types of income that are exempt from garnishment, including
- State and local pensions, such as those of public and state employees, teachers, and judges.
- Some insurance benefits, such as disability payments and life insurance proceeds, if you are the insured dependent or spouse.
- The amount of money that is collected for the support of a minor by the government or other agency and spousal support that does not exceed the limit set by law.
According to the law in Alaska, a debt collector can only garnish a maximum of 25 percent of your disposable income as long as they win the case against you. However, this only applies to certain types of payment. For example, child support and alimony are generally exempt from being garnished. Additionally, multiple debts may be owed to different creditors. Still, not all of them will be able to decorate your income simultaneously.
Statute of limitations in Alaska
You have certain rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as a debt holder. One of these is that a debt collector may not contact third parties regarding your debt. However, should you inform them and share your attorney’s contact information, they can contact you through your attorney.
As a consumer, you have certain rights regarding debt collectors. They are limited in the times of day they can contact you and where they can reach you. According to the law, collectors cannot contact you at work or call before 8 am or after 9 pm.
Alaska’s debt collection regulations protect consumers by prohibiting collectors from continuing to contact them after the consumer has asked, in writing, for the contact to stop. The only exception to this rule is when the collector needs to notify the consumer of a specific action, such as initiating a lawsuit against the consumer.
|Debt Type||Deadline In Years|
Getting out of debt in Alaska
Here are some great examples of how you can tackle your debt without hiring a credit counselor or taking out another loan:
Consolidating your debt: It can take time to keep track of all the monthly payments you have to make when you’ve borrowed money from multiple sources. Falling behind on expenses is easy to do in this situation. A way to consolidate your debt is by taking out a new loan that covers all your other obligations; this leaves you with only one lender and one monthly payment to worry about.
Refinancing your loan can help you get a loan with more favorable repayment terms and interest rates. However, you can only refinance your loan successfully if your credit score has improved since you initially took out the debt.
Organizations providing legal aid in Alaska
Debt can be a difficult thing to manage on your own. Sometimes, debt can become so overwhelming that you may feel like there is no way out. However, some organizations and firms specialize in helping people get out of debt. One example is Money Management International, a nationwide firm providing counseling and debt relief assistance. They can review your situation and help you create a plan to get back on track.
When you find yourself in an overwhelming debt crisis, don’t despair. There are many resources available to help you get back on track. Debt relief organizations and nonprofits can provide the assistance you need. You can also reach out to the Northern Justice Project. This privately-held law firm takes on consumer protection matters and pro-bono work. With the right resources, managing your debt is possible. As described in the article, taking the required steps in responding to a debt summons, including asserting affirmative defenses and filing your answer on time, are some of the few actions that will help you fix this problem. Don’t let debt ruin your life – there is hope for a better future.