You may be feeling anxious and worried after being served with a summons for debt collection in North Dakota. But don’t worry, there are things you can do to protect yourself from the potential consequences of this lawsuit.
Unfortunately, many people in North Dakota are subjected to harassment and litigation from debt collectors. This is because creditors are legally allowed to turn over accounts with revolving balances to debt collectors, even when the borrower is making regular monthly payments. This can be a huge burden for someone trying to pay off their debt, and it’s important to know your rights in this situation.
It is very important to take action and not ignore a summons for debt collection, as doing so could result in the debt collector obtaining a default judgment against you. This would give them the ability to seize your assets and garnish your wages. Be proactive and draft an Answer to the debt collector’s Complaint to avoid this potential outcome.
The Answer is the defendant’s opportunity to respond formally to the allegations made in the Complaint. The defendant can choose to admit or deny some or all of the allegations, or state that there is insufficient information to do so.
Filing a counterclaim is one way to respond to a debt collector’s complaint. This may be a good option for you to consider if you think the creditor or debt collector has broken the law, such as by violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
summons in North Dakota have a deadline for answering
Debt collection can be a stressful process, but understanding your rights and responsibilities can help to make it go more smoothly. In North Dakota, debt collectors must give you written notice of their claim against you within 21 days of receiving the claim.
You must provide a written answer to the summons and complaint within 21 days. However, this deadline may be extended to the next weekday in the event that the 21st day falls on a weekend or holiday. Failure to answer within the set timeframe may result in the plaintiff being able to apply for default judgment without prior notice.
Failing to defend yourself in court could lead to the plaintiff serving you with a motion for default judgment. This would put your assets and income at risk of enforcement by the debt collector, as well as negatively impact your credit score
There are many ways to appear in court action, including writing to the plaintiff or communicating with them verbally. Being served a debt collection summons does not necessarily mean a civil action is underway; it all depends on your Answer.
Answer to summons in North Dakota
When you receive a summons for debt collection, it is important to confirm that the collector is licensed in North Dakota. You can do this by contacting the Department of Financial Institutions. Once you have verified that the debt collector is legitimate, you should then validate the debt to make sure that it is yours and that you have not already paid it.
The best way to handle an invalid debt is to write to the debt collector and let them know that they should stop trying to collect on the debt. You may also want to sue the debt collector, especially if they started the collection process after the Statute of Limitations had expired.
You must respond to a debt collection summons in writing, admitting to the complaints against you if the debt is valid. However, you can state that you do not have enough information to admit or deny a claim, should you lack sufficient evidence.
It is important to remember that, in many cases, failing to respond to a claim made by a debt collector is seen as an admission of guilt by the courts. Additionally, it is often advisable to present your defense in short, clear statements. Finally, should you choose to file a counterclaim, be aware that it must meet all requirements of a formal complaint. In most instances, you will need to file your counterclaim alongside your Answer to the plaintiff’s complaint.
The plaintiff has 21 days to respond to a debt collection claim. This period is set by the state district court, based on the proof of service documents detailing when, where, and how the plaintiff served the debt collection summons
The Answer may include some or all of the following:
- Admission of facts alleged by the debt collector.
- Denials of allegations made by the debt collector.
- Affirmative defenses.
- Counterclaims or cross-claims against the debt collector.
You won’t always find an online form to fill out the required information for your answer when you’re trying to figure out a legal issue in North Dakota. And even when you do find the appropriate answer form on the official North Dakota courts website, you might not be able to use it. So, worst-case scenario, you might have to create the document by yourself.
North Dakota answer filing fees
The cost to file an Answer in North Dakota is $50.00. Fee waiver requests are available for those who cannot afford this amount.
In order to qualify for a fee waiver, you have to provide a detailed account of your assets, liabilities, income, and expenses on the attached form. You also have to submit your Answer, affidavit of service, and confidential information form along with your fee waiver request.
How to respond to a North Dakota debt collection case
The moment you receive a summons and complaint from the debt collector, so starts your debt collection case. This is why it’s crucial that you respond with a defense to the complaint as soon as possible. Once the debt collector has served you, you can choose from one of the options below:
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- Serve an Answer to the complaint.
- File a motion to dismiss the case.
- Contact the debt collector about settling the debt.
- Consider bankruptcy options.
You have the option to file a motion to dismiss the case before serving an Answer, which may delay the formal answering of the complaint. This applies only if you do not believe you were properly served with the summons. However, keep in mind that the judge may deny your motion to dismiss, in which case you will need to serve and file your Answer as outlined below.
1. Prepare your answer
When you receive a summons and complaint from a plaintiff, it is important to review both documents carefully. This information will help you prepare your answer document, which must include specific personal, plaintiff, and court information. You can use sample answer documents as a guide, but be sure to tailor your document to fit your individual case.
Answer Each Issue Raised In The Complaint
In order respond properly the plaintiff’s complaints, it is important read each paragraph carefully and create a response that either admits the issues brought up, denies certain issues, or states that more information is needed in order understand the complaints.
2. Make affirmative defenses
The affirmative defense is a legal tactic that can be used to defend against a debt collection claim. To win using this defense, you must be able to prove that the plaintiff does not actually owe any money, or that the amount they claim is less than what you actually owe. This can be difficult to do, but it is worth considering as an option when facing a debt collection lawsuit.
You cannot use the inability to pay the debt as an affirmative defense to your case. Some defenses to debt collection lawsuits in North Dakota include:
The court doesn’t have subject-matter jurisdiction to handle your case: There is a chance that you can win your case by proving that the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction. This would mean that dismissal of your case is possible, and even though a judge may render judgement, it would not be binding. A lack of subject matter jurisdiction simply means that said court does not have power to handle your specific case.
The plaintiff didn’t serve the summons and complaints properly: The court may dismiss your case entirely unless the plaintiff can prove that they followed due process when serving you the summons and complaint documents. To ensure that your case is not dismissed, take some time to argue your case.
It’s a case of identity theft or mistaken identity: When someone else takes on debt in your name, it can be a real pain to try and clear it up. In some cases, the plaintiff may have made a mistake and sent a summons to the wrong person. Maybe there was an error in their records, or maybe it was identity theft.
You cleared the debt in full: You’ll have no trouble winning your case against the debt collector, as long as you can prove that you paid off the debt in full. To do this, you can show the court copies of transactions or other relevant documents.
Partial payment was accepted as full payment for the debt: The best way to avoid paying a debt is to have proof that you have already paid it. Showing the creditor a receipt or other proof of payment can convince the court to rule in your favor and dismiss the debt.
The debt is subject to bankruptcy hearing: The court’s decision to discharge your debt in bankruptcy means the plaintiff cannot sue you for that debt. You can win the case by proving this to the court.
Claim already decided in a different court: It is not possible to take legal action against someone for a debt that is already being dealt with in another court case. Having information such as case number, date and state of previous hearing will make it easy to win.
The statute of limitations has expired: The statute of limitations is a law that sets a certain amount of time that parties involved in a dispute have to begin a legal proceeding. The time usually starts from the date of the alleged offense to the set deadline. However, there are instances where the statute of limitations may not apply. One such instance is when the plaintiff did not serve you a debt collection summons within the statute of limitations. In this case, you have a right to use it as an affirmative defense.
You are an active duty member: Military service members and recent veterans can ask a court to dismiss a case due to their active duty status or release from duty within the last 90 days. This is because they may not be able to participate in the case.
No proof of debt ownership: In many debt collection cases, the plaintiff is actually the entity that has purchased the debt from the original creditor. Therefore, you may be able to require the plaintiff to provide documentation proving that they are indeed the rightful owner of the debt.
Wrong debt amount: Even though you might not win the case, you could end up paying less money than what was initially indicated on the summons, in the event that there is an error in the total amount owed.
3. Serve the plaintiff with the answer and file it with the court
In response to the summons and complaint, debtors must deliver answer documents to the collector within 21 days. The Answer may be delivered in person to the court and plaintiff or mailed.
North Dakota’s statute of limitations on debt
There is a limited amount of time that a debt collector can file a claim against you in civil court. This is known as a statute of limitations. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, active duty military personnel, people who have filed for bankruptcy, or people who have been out of state may have their statute of limitations extended.
According to state law, debtors have a set amount of time to repay their debts. However, this clock can be reset by making a partial payment or by sending a written acknowledgment of debt.
Legal aid organizations in North Dakota
Organizations that provide free legal aid, like the North Dakota-based “Legal Services of North Dakota,” are a godsend for residents who can’t afford to pay for private attorneys. Without these organizations, many people would be unable to seek justice or defend themselves in court.
Takeaways to remember
The best way to respond to a debt collection summons is to serve an Answer to the court and plaintiff. You can respond in the following ways:
- Prepare your answer
- Answer each issue raised in the complaint
- Make affirmative defenses
- Serve the plaintiff with the answer and file it with the court