Sued For A Student Loan? Here Are 2 Steps To Dramatically Improve Your Odds Of Winning.

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Sued For A Student Loan? Here Are 2 Steps To Dramatically Improve Your Odds Of Winning.

By |August 19th, 2014|

If you’re being on your student loans, you’re at constant risk of being sued. And if you’re sued, you stand an excellent chance of losing the case. But not for the reason you think.

Who wouldn’t want to win a student loan lawsuit?

Why Most People Lose When Sued For A Student Loan

Law firms that sue for past due student loans do so in the hopes that you won’t file a response to the case. If that happens, the law firm will be able to get a default judgment against you and seize a portion of your wages, freeze your bank accounts, and put a lien on your property.

You’d think with consequences like that, most people would fight. But you’d be wrong.

In fact, more than 90% of people sued for student loans do absolutely nothing. So rather than being forced to prove the case, lawyers for the student loan companies win without doing more than filing some boilerplate documents with the court.

Here’s What To Do Instead

Rather than putting the court papers to the side, do these two things:

  1. read the court papers with a calendar handy; and
  2. file a response within the time specified by law.

Here’s Why You Need The Calendar. Under California law, you’ve got 30 days (including weekends and court holidays) to file an answer to the student loan lawsuit. If the court papers were given to someone else in your household or your place of work, and another copy was mailed to you, you have 40 days from the date of the mailing to file your response.

Other state have different rules on your time to file a response. In New York, for example, you’ve got 30 days to file an answer to the lawsuit if the court papers were given to someone else in your household or at your job, and 20 days from the date of filing of the affidavit of service if you got the papers personally.

A word of caution: don’t try to dodge the process server or pretend you didn’t get served properly. There’s no requirement that you get served with any formality, or that the court papers be mailed by certified mail, or that it look at all like it does in the movies or on TV.

When you get the lawsuit papers, consider yourself served. If you think service was somehow flawed, bring it up in the context of your response.

File Your Response. A complaint filed by a student loan company is flimsy at best, and makes claims without any proof. By filing a timely response and forcing the law firm representing the student loan company to prove the case, you’re way ahead of the game.

For example, consider these points that the student loan company must prove (if you force them to do so):

  • Does the company suing you have the legal right to collect from you?
  • How did they calculate the amount they claim to be due?
  • Is all their paperwork in order such that they can prove they own the debt?
  • Has the time to sue you expired under the law?

Make the student loan company prove every single element of the case. You can do that only if you file a response to the lawsuit – if you don’t, they win automatically.

This isn’t to say that filing a response will be enough to win the student loan lawsuit, but it’s a vital step in the right direction.

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About the Author:

I've been a consumer protection lawyer since 1995, working to help people end their bill problems. I'm a faculty member at the Student Loan Law Workshop, a nationally recognized speaker, and a long-time member of both the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.