Do you have an unpaid debt that is being pursued by a creditor or debt collector? Did you receive notice of a debt lawsuit filed against you in South Dakota? You are not alone if this is the case. There are thousands of people who face debt lawsuits every day across the United States.
No matter what the reason for not paying the debt is, you’ll want to take action quickly to avoid a default judgment. In the event of a default judgment, the creditor or debt collector may garnish your wages, freeze your bank account, or even seize your property. Avoid the headache of a debt lawsuit by settling the matter before the court date.
Learn how to settle a South Dakota debt by reading on.
These Are The Steps To Settle Debt In South Dakota
- Answer the debt lawsuit.
- Negotiate a settlement offer.
- Make sure the settlement agreement is in writing.
1. Answering The Lawsuit
Creditors or debt collectors initiate all debt lawsuits by filing a complaint. Complaints will identify the debt and amount for which you’re being sued. There will probably be a breakdown of the amount, including the original balance, interest, and fees.
As soon as you receive your copy of the Complaint, you should examine it carefully. Make a note of the critical information and compare it with your records. If any of the information is incorrect, you will need to clarify it in your answer. Dispute the alleged debt amount, for example, if it is inaccurate.
In most cases, attorneys recommend that you deny as many claims as possible, forcing the creditor or collector to prove each claim. They may simply drop the case if they are unable to do so.
Secondly, you must file your Answer within 30 days of South Dakota’s deadline. Upon filing the original Answer document with the court that has jurisdiction over the claim, send a copy to the opposing lawyer.
You want to settle your debt before your court date to avoid a lawsuit, but filing an Answer ensures the creditor can’t obtain a default judgment through sneaky tactics (such as failing to mention you’ve settled the debt).
2. Negotiating A Settlement Offer
Decide how much of the debt you can afford to repay the creditor. It is ideal to begin by offering at least 60% of the debt’s value. This is sufficient for the creditor to see that you are serious about settling your debt.
Most debt collectors and creditors will counter your offer with their own. In order to reach a settlement agreement, you may need to go through several rounds of negotiation.
When working with a debt settlement company, the average consumer can achieve a 50% debt settlement, according to the Regan Report of the American Fair Credit Council. As a result, debts settle for a wide range of amounts. It depends on a variety of factors on how much the debt settles for:
- Has a promissory note been signed or is it an account in a book?
- Do you have a meritorious defense?
- Do you have any offsets?
- Do you know if it is interest-bearing?
- Does the fee-shifting provision apply? The borrower is responsible for the cost of collection under a fee-shifting provision.
- How long has it been since the last payment?
- Has the debt been assigned to someone else or is it owned by the original creditor?
- Does it belong to a federal or state loan program or is it a private loan?
- Is it a secured loan?
- Can it be discharged in bankruptcy? Does it constitute a student loan?
In order to determine a realistic settlement offer, you will need to answer these questions. However, 60% is a good starting point.
It is important to keep in mind that time is of the essence. In order to give the creditor ample time to negotiate with you, you should commence the case as soon as possible, well in advance of your court date.
In order to begin the negotiation, you should send an email. As a result, there will be a written record of the negotiation process. Additionally, you won’t have to wait for the post office to deliver your letters regarding the negotiation.
3. Having The Settlement Agreement In Writing
Negotiations with your creditor will lead to an agreement. In that case, make sure the settlement is one you can follow through with; if you cannot afford to pay it, your creditor will likely reopen the litigation process.
It is also advisable to have the agreement in writing. This document is usually prepared by your creditor or debt collector. Before signing, make sure you’ve reviewed it carefully. The following is an example of a debt settlement agreement.
It should be noted that the example required both parties to sign before a notary public. The notarization of the agreement provides additional legal protection. There will be witnesses who can vouch for the validity of the agreement, ensuring that your creditor cannot collect the remaining balance.
To comply with the agreement, you must follow its terms. To ensure that your payment is received by the collector, we recommend using certified mail. You can track the delivery of your payment by using the routing number provided by certified mail.
Keep a copy of the check you send and your bank statement showing that the payment cleared.
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What Are The Laws Regarding Debt Collection And Debt Settlement In South Dakota?
Several federal regulations concerning debt collection have been adopted by South Dakota, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Debt collection practices are not subject to any additional state laws.
Following the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from:
- You should contact the debtor at odd hours, such as before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
- Falsely threaten the debtor or use profane language in their communications.
- Throughout the day, contact the debtor repeatedly.
- If the debt collector does not answer, let the phone ring continuously.
Additionally, the collector must validate the debt if the consumer requests it.
By the FCRA, creditors are required to follow the following guidelines:
- Negative information should be removed after seven years.
- Provide the consumer with notice if a creditor or potential employer uses information contained in their report against them.
A lawsuit for consumer debt in South Dakota is subject to a statute of limitations. After the statute of limitations expires, debt collectors will not be able to pursue the debtor in court.
Below is a table highlighting the debt statute of limitations in South Dakota:
|Type Of Debt||Deadline|
Claims of fraud
(S.D. CL § 15-2-13)
Other actions not provided for
(S.D. CL § 15-2-8)
Sealed instruments not including real estate
(S.D. CL § 15-2-6)
If your debt is past the statute of limitations, your debt collector or creditor will not be able to sue you in court. Any lawsuit filed by them will be dismissed by the court. Please include this information in your Answer to the debt collector if you believe that your case has passed the statute of limitations.
The Best Debt Settlement Companies
You can settle your debts with the following excellent debt settlement companies.
National Debt Relief
National Debt Relief is one of the oldest debt settlement companies in the country. Credit card debt is the primary focus of its services, and it can assist you in setting up a payment plan in order to settle your obligations with your creditors. You must have a minimum of $10K in debt to qualify for most programs, which last between two and four years.
Accredited Debt Relief
Among the services offered by Accredited Debt Relief is the settlement of unsecured debts, such as credit card debt, personal loans, and medical debt. Typically, these programs last between one and four years, and you must have a minimum of $10K in debt to qualify. For its services, Accredited Debt Relief charges between 15% and 25% of the total debt amount.
How Can I Arrange For A Debt Settlement With My Creditor In South Dakota?
If you wish to make a settlement offer, you may do so by mail, email, or telephone. Therefore, it’s best to communicate with debt collectors in writing.
The advantage of using the mail is that you will have documentation of every step of the settlement process, but the disadvantage is that it takes a great deal of time to send and receive letters.
An email is a good middle ground, since it is instantaneous (like a phone call), but also allows you to write everything down (like a letter). One disadvantage is that it may be difficult to find the correct email address for your creditor or debt collector.
If you decide to contact your creditor, it is advisable to record the conversation. Using SD Codified L § 23A-35A-20, only one party must consent to a recording of a telephone call. The person consenting to the recording in this case is you.
It is important to record your call so that the debt collector won’t try to deny that you settled with them. If you receive an oral settlement agreement, you should also request a written, signed agreement before sending the funds.
FAQs About Debt Settlement In South Dakota
The following are some of the most common questions we receive regarding debt settlement in South Dakota.
When Settling A Debt, What Percentage Should I Offer?
It depends on the situation. In some cases, creditors will accept 30% of the debt, while in others, they may require much more – sometimes up to 80%. It is recommended that you begin with 60% of the debt’s value. In order to determine whether your offer is fair, your creditor will consider your offer. If this is not the case, they will provide you with a counteroffer.
Can I Pursue Debt Settlement On My Own?
In some cases, you may be able to handle the debt settlement process on your own. It is important, however, to follow the instructions provided in this guide. In case you need to refer to your agreement in the future, make sure it is signed and notarized.
Is It Preferable To Settle Debt Or Go To Court
It is preferable to settle a debt if you know that you owe the money and have little recourse against your creditor’s claims. You can avoid a potential judgment against you by settling the debt. In addition, you will no longer be subject to collection activity from the debt collector.
You should be aware that if you decide to go to court, the judge may not rule in your favor. In order to support your case, you should prepare a detailed answer to the creditor’s complaint.
Debt Settlement In South Dakota Is Possible And Can Save You Money
It is often a great relief to be able to break free of debt. The option of settling your debt is an option if you are unable to repay it in full. It is possible for you to obtain a favorable settlement by following our steps, thereby allowing you to move forward from your old debt.