Plan how you will respond to debt collectors.
Summary: Receive a summons for credit card debt? Learn how to respond with this Sample Answer. Use the right affirmative defenses when you file your response and you can win in court.
Getting served with a Summons and Complaint related to unpaid credit cards is an awful and traumatizing experience for many people. When you are served with a Summons and Complaint for a debt, it means a process server likely visited your home or place of work, asked you for your name, and presented you with a copy of the Summons.
If you have endured this experience, do not give up hope. You may be feeling overwhelmed and intimidated at the prospect of potentially taking on a large bank or financial institution in a court of law. This is perfectly understandable, but keep in mind that you have legal rights and are fully capable of challenging the allegations levied by the credit card company in the accompanying Complaint. Many debt collection lawsuits are rife with errors or you may not even owe the amount alleged in the lawsuit. This is why you should stand up and assert your rights by filing an Answer to the Complaint.
Review the Summons and Complaint for Your Debt Collection Lawsuit
When you are served, make sure to take the time to review both the Summons and Complaint thoroughly. This is important because you need to determine what company or financial institution is suing you and what account they are alleging is delinquent. Once you establish which bank, credit card company, or debt collection agency filed the lawsuit, you can get to work compiling information and documents necessary to respond to the lawsuit.
When compiling relevant information, it is important to determine the age of the debt identified in the lawsuit. Why? Because most states have laws in place regulating how long debt collectors can pursue a debt. These state laws are known as the statute of limitations. Once a debt is past the statute of limitations, a debt collector is generally prohibited from suing you in an attempt to collect on that debt.
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Respond to the Allegations in the Complaint Promptly
When you are drafting your Answer to the Complaint, it is important to be methodical and address each allegation raised in the Complaint. In most instances, you will want to respond with an admission, denial, or indicate that you lack the knowledge to respond.
If an allegation in the Complaint is true, you should respond as such in your Answer. For example, if the Complaint alleges you reside at 2121 XYZ Lane and you do reside there, you should respond affirmatively that you reside at that location. Here are some sample “Affirm” responses that could be used in your Answer:
- Defendant admits they reside at the residence listed on the Complaint.
If, on the other hand, an allegation in the Complaint is untrue, you can affirmatively deny it in your Answer. You should use this option if, for example, you believe the allegations against you are for a debt that is not yours. Here are some sample “Deny” responses that could be used in your Answer:
- Defendant denies using a Target credit card
If you are unsure of the veracity of an allegation in the Complaint, such as the exact amount you owe or the last time you paid the credit card, you can respond that you lack sufficient knowledge regarding the claim. Here is an example of how to use this response in your Answer:
- Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge to confirm or deny the information within this paragraph and therefore denies the allegation.
In certain instances, an allegation in the Complaint may contain claims that are partially true and partially false. In this situation, you can use a combined response. Here is an example response you can use in your Answer:
- A paragraph claims you are a cardholder of an account and that you owe $8,775. If you agree that you are the cardholder but deny or lack the knowledge to confirm the amount, you can respond by affirming you are the cardholder but you lack the knowledge to confirm the other allegations within the paragraph and therefore deny them.
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Respond With an Admissions and Defense
Another option when drafting your Answer to the Complaint is responding with an admission and defense. This is extremely important if you are planning to contest the credit card debt in court. Affirmative defenses you may be able to raise include the following:
- The credit card debt is not yours
- You already paid the credit card debt
- The statute of limitations on the debt has lapsed
How to File Your Answer with the Court
Once you complete your Answer addressing the various allegations contained within the Complaint, make sure you take the necessary steps to get the Answer filed with the Court on time. When you are served with the Summons and Complaint, there will be a date provided by the Court that indicates when you need to file your Answer.
If you fail to file your Answer within the timeframe established by the Court, it could lead to the debt collector getting a default judgment against you. So, do not delay. Be proactive and take the necessary steps to get your Answer filed with the Court. Here are some other tips for properly filing your Answer to a debt collection lawsuit:
- Print a copy out your Answer
- Personally sign and date the Answer
- Make two copies of the Answer; one will be submitted to the Court while the other should be sent to the debt collector
- File your Answer with the Clerk of the Court.
- Be prepared to pay a filing fee with the Court.
If you are served with a Summons and Complaint related to credit card debt, do not neglect or ignore these legal documents. If you fail to respond to the Complaint, you are waving the flag of defeat and the debt collector will likely secure a default judgment against you. Do not let this happen. Make sure you take the time to review the Complaint and file an Answer.
What is SoloSuit?
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
Respond with SoloSuit
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance
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