Small Claims Procedures

Small Claims Procedure

Many debt collection lawsuits in Iowa are brought in small claims court. Small claims procedures are more informal and relaxed than in district court, but there are still procedures that need to be followed.

Electronic Filing Your Small Claims Answer

Go to the Iowa Court electronic filing page and do what you need to do to file your answer. Alternatively, contact us to see if we can assist you. Do not default on the lawsuit. You probably have defenses you do not even know about and/or the debt can be settled for less than what you would pay if a judgment is entered against you. Also, the judgement will remain on your credit report for years if you default.

Be Cautious in Mediation

After you file your answer, a court date will be set. Be sure you show up or you will be defaulted even if you file your answer. Another option would be to contact us to see if the matter can be resolved prior to the hearing.

In most cases you will be required to do a mediation prior to the hearing in your case. Mediation does not always work well for consumers, because you will be mediating with an experienced debt collection attorney. Mediators like to obtain settlements, and many consumers report they feel intimidated by the process. Remember the mediator is not the judge. Mediators frequently indicate they know how a proceeding will come out if you refuse to settle. Many times they are wrong.

Be Prepared

Be sure you know what your defenses to the lawsuit are going to be and that you have a plan for litigation. What that strategy should be depends on the case. You could get information from the Internet, but many times that information is wrong. You should at the very least contact us to be sure that great defense you are planning to raise is even a defense in Iowa. We might also be able to help you with defenses you do not even know you have. If you think you owe the debt, do not just go to court and admit the debt and let the creditor have a credit crippling judgment that could result in wage or bank garnishments. 

Do You Have Unfair Debt Collection Counterclaims?

The best defense is a good offense. Were there unfair debt collection violations in the collection process? A counterclaim can frequently be used to reduce or even eliminate a debt. Many times we can defend a consumer with a good unfair debt collection claim and get our attorney’s fees from the creditor. It depends on the claim. Contact us to find out your options.

Sued in Iowa District Court?

If a debt collection lawsuit was filed against you in Iowa District Court, you probably will not be able to represent yourself. You should contact us, or see our instruction on representing yourself in District Court.