LIFT Wisconsin Introduces Consumer Debt Resource to Empower Wisconsin Residents

June 12, 2024

The 20% of Wisconsinites who are burdened by debt in collections now have a free way to end debt harassment, thanks to the newest addition to the award-winning Legal Tune Up Tool (

Creditors that hold unpaid debt often end up pursuing court judgments, but while a majority of creditors in small claims court are represented by attorneys, less than 10% of alleged debtors have legal representation. Consequently, over 61% of Wisconsin small claims debt cases result in default judgments - a number that has more than doubled since 2021.

The result is often a debt larger than the original claim because court fees and interest are included. Default judgments also mean that claims are not “right-sized”; for example, medical debt for uninsured persons is based upon an inflated list price that no insurance company pays.

Creditors can pursue debts for decades, following alleged debtors to new jobs and savings accounts. Some creditors harass and threaten people and disclose debts to employers, co-workers, family members, and friends. These debt collection abuses may result in additional debts, made worse by confusing court procedures that unjustly benefit creditors.

Legal Tune Up is designed to equip individuals with the tools and knowledge necessary to effectively navigate small claims court, respond and file answers to contest debt claims, and end debt collection harassment. “This new addition to the LegalTuneUp tool will be a game changer for the thousands who are saddled with debt but cannot afford the assistance of an attorney to help them resolve the claims. This tool navigates an otherwise intimidating process, putting power back in the hands of the people so they can achieve greater economic security,” said LIFT Wisconsin Executive Director Erica Nelson.

The Consumer Debt resource joins Legal Tune Up’s other resources to reinstate driver’s licenses, remove criminal and eviction records, and right-size child support. This launch underscores LIFT's ongoing commitment to help Wisconsin residents understand the legal systems that work against them and remove these legal barriers without an attorney. By offering accessible resources and guidance, LIFT Wisconsin aims to lessen the justice gap and empower individuals to take control of their legal health.