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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 30365
Experience:  Lawyer
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On 11-07-2015 I was served a summons in Josephine County

Customer Question

On 11-07-2015 I was served a summons in Josephine County Oregon from an attorney in Bellevue WA for a debt collector. The amount is $16090.67. I called the attorney's office and asked for a validation letter. They said that they would send one. I do owe money but not sure how much. It has been at least 4 years since I paid on this account. Since I asked for a validation letter how should I proceed with answering the summons. Should I wait for the validation letter so I can make payment arrangements or should I go a head and answer the summons and what should I write? Original file date was 8-25-2015 and then there is another dated on 09-25-2015 again I was actually served on 11-7-2015 Thank you for your time
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

You actually have to answer the summons, or they'll get a default judgment against you, which means the judge will order you to pay the full $16,090.67, and you'll have forfeited the right to defend yourself. It's extremely important to file that response. The statute of limitations for breach of a written contract is 6 years in both Oregon and Washington, so they're allowed to sue even if you haven't paid in 4 years.

Section 809 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that when a consumer requests validation of debt, the creditor must cease collection efforts until they have produced it. If they have not responded to your request for validation, you could actually file a Counterclaim for $1,000 for violation of the FDCPA (which at least might reduce what they order you to pay them).

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

An Answer is very fact-specific. There are a couple of ways to respond. One is to file a general denial, which states that you deny the allegations in the Complaint and calls upon the creditor to prove it (which is their burden as the plaintiff). The other option is to go through each numbered statement in the Complaint and state whether you admit or deny the statement, or lack sufficient information to admit or deny it.

After that section, you're allowed to state your defenses, if you have any legal reasons that you shouldn't have to pay, filed by your counterclaims.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

This packet was designed for use in another state, but the basics of how to draft an Answer are good and would also work in Oregon. It might help to take a look..

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I understand that I have to answer the summons, but the other part of my question was should I wait for the validation letter and make payment arrangements (so long as they send me the letter before my thirty days to answer are up) I guess my hope is to make payment arrangements and have the complaint/summons withdrawn and answer the summons with the arrangement.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

The danger in waiting is that they might not send the letter in time. You absolutely can wait if you think they might be able to produce proof that you owe the amount they're asking for. There's no benefit to filing an Answer early. Just keep an eye on the calendar to make sure you have enough time to write the Answer if you don't get the validation letter. You can always request to make payment arrangements - it's up to them if they want to negotiate.