How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Arkansas (2020 Guide)

George Simons

May 15, 2020

Summary: Live in Arkansas and need help responding to a debt collection lawsuit? Our automated service guides you through the process for Arkansas in 15 minutes. That's less time than it takes to read this article.

How many debt collector jokes are there? None, they're all facts.

Dealing with debt collectors is brutal. It's even worse when you are getting sued by a debt collector. But lucky for you, we wrote this article to ease the pain — nay, it is designed to fully reverse the pain and even help you to stick it to your debt collector.

Below, you'll find helpful topics on how to answer a summons for debt collection in the Natural State.

(Helpful resources to protect against debt collection. Find them here.)

Arkansas Deadline for Answering a Debt Collection Summons

In Arkansas, you only have 30 days to respond to a Summons for debt collection. That's right, you only have 30 days to respond once you have received the Complaint and Summons. If you don't respond within that time, you will automatically lose your case by default judgment. And you will most likely have to pay added interest and attorney's fees. That is a strong incentive to respond.

Most Arkansas courts count the Answer filed based on the filemark: the date the court receives and processes the document.

Arkansas Answer to Summons Forms

There are some programs that can help you create your response to the debt collection lawsuit. A debt lawsuit begins when the Complaint and Summons are filed with the court and given to you, the defendant. To not lose the lawsuit, you need to respond with an Answer document. Thankfully, Arkansas provides an online program to help you create an Answer document, but it is really bad: complete with faceless attorneys, looming courthouses, and 1980's graphics. That's why we made our own service called SoloSuit. You can use our simple service to generate your response in 15 minutes, and we'll even have it reviewed by an attorney and filed for you.

(FAQs about Solosuit. Check them out here.)

Answer Filing Fees for Arkansas

In most courts in Arkansas, there is no filing fee to file your Answer document. That may seem unsurprising, but actually many state courts charge a huge filing fee. So count yourself blessed.

Steps to Respond to a Debt Collection Case in Arkansas

Responding to a debt lawsuit isn't quite as easy as tying your shoes, but with SoloSuit it can be easier than you'd expect. Generally, there are four steps.

  1. Create an Answer Document
  2. Answer each issue of the Complaint
  3. Assert your affirmative defenses
  4. File the answer with the court

Let's take a look at each step.

(Getting calls from Covington Credit? Read this.)

1. Create an Answer Document.

First step to responding is creating your Answer document. In steps 2 and 3 we will finish filling out the Answer document. And in step 4, you will file it with the court.

The Answer document is a specific type of formal legal document. It isn't just a note, it isn't a love letter, it isn't an email, and it isn't a phone call. It is a formalized legal document that needs to be created properly or it may not be accepted.

The first part of it includes the basic information of the court; this is called “styling” for some weird reason. This includes:

  • Personal information: address, name, etc.
  • Plaintiff information: the attorney suing you, the company suing, etc.
  • Court information: the name of the court the case is in, the State, the address of the court, etc.
  • Case information: the case number, index number, or civil number, the amount of the lawsuit, etc.

Include all of this information. If you mess it up, the court may not be able to locate your case and may not accept your Answer. That said, sometimes courts accept hand written letters, but they don't have the same impact as a legitimate Answer.

2. Answer each issue of the Complaint.

The substance of the Answer is a response to the Complaint document. That is why it is called an “Answer,” because you are answering the Complaint. To answer the complaint, you need to respond to every numbered paragraph in the Complaint. Again, you can't just say whatever you want in your answer: you can choose from three responses.

  • Admit: This means you agree with everything in the paragraph.
  • Deny: This means you disagree with something in the paragraph.
  • Defendant denies the allegation for lack of knowledge sufficient to know the truth or falsity thereof: This is the extra fancy way of saying ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Select your response and list it in your Answer with the corresponding number.

Many attorneys recommend making a “general denial.” To do this, just deny each paragraph. You can even deny paragraphs that simply say who you are. Each paragraph you deny, the plaintiff needs to prove; so denying a paragraph makes the case more difficult for them.

3. Assert your affirmative defenses.

“Assert your affirmative defenses” means: make your defense. Once more, making your defense doesn't mean: say whatever you want and ramble on about how your doctor charged you extra and you couldn't pay because your wife ran off with your credit card. It means making one of several available affirmative defenses. SoloSuit helps you consider and apply every defense.

Here are some common defenses.

  • The statute of limitations has expired. More on this below.
  • The debt collector harassed you.
  • The creditor broke the contract.
  • You're active duty military.
  • The account with the debt is not your account
  • The contract was already canceled. Therefore you don't owe the creditor anything.
  • The debt has been paid or excused.
  • The debt has been partially paid.
  • You were a co-signer but were not informed of your rights as a co-signer.

Select the appropriate defenses and add them to your document beneath your responses.

(Don't recognize the name of the company suing you? That's normal.)

4. File the answer with the court and serve the plaintiff.

Believe it or not, a lot of people get this far and then never actually file their answer. That's why we file for you with SoloSuit. Filing can be a complicated mess. Here's how one SoloSuit fan described it (edited for clarity).

These companies like Midland Funding just spam e-file hundreds of thousands if not millions of cases, but it is not easy to e-file an answer, you have to set up an account, pay fees, go to notary publics, scan and convert to pdfs etc. I ended up having to buy a printer, print out the document [and] deny on all the grounds . . . My last question is this, DO I MAIL them the stamped filed answer copy or do I HAVE to have someone ELSE mail it and what is the time requirement? I got the answer in to the court, do I have to also mail it to the plaintiff or I have to get someone else to do it and what is the time limit? I got a stamped copy that I filed an answer within the 20 days time. All this stuff is so ridiculous it reminds me of the Vogons from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Indeed, the filing process is ridiculous, which is why many people just have SoloSuit do it for them.

In short here's what you need to do to file your answer.

  • Print two copies of your Answer
  • Mail one copy to the court
  • Mail the other copy to the plaintiff's attorney.

The address of the attorney should be in the Summons and Complaint you received in the mail. The address for the court though will likely be hard to find. Usually it isn't listed on the Summons and the court mailing address is different from the physical address that shows up on Google about 20 percent of the time. The best and usually only way to find the mailing address of your court is to call them on the phone like it's 1990.

(Is zombie debt haunting you? Read this.)

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Arkansas

The statute of limitations is essentially the expiration date on your debt. It is a law that says for how many years a collector can collect on the debt. Once the deadline has passed, they can no longer collect. Here is a list of the deadline for each type of debt.

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt
Debt Type Years
Oral 3
Written 5
Promissory 3
Open 3
Credit Card 5
Judgements 10

So, if you had a credit card debt, and the last time you made a payment towards the debt was six years ago, and the debt collector tries to sue you for the debt, then the statute of limitations has expired and you need to bring that up as an affirmative defense.

Each state has at least one government-funded organization that can provide free legal help. Arkansas has a couple.

Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc.
714 South Main Street
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(800) 952-9243
www.arlegalservices.org

Center for Arkansas Legal Services
1300 W. 6th Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
(800) 950-5817
www.arlegalservices.org

(How to Get Back on Track After a Debt Lawsuit Check out the course here.)

Key Takeaways

Congrats! You made it to the end of the article. So, we whipped up some takeaways just for you.

  • The deadline to file your response to a debt collection lawsuit in Arkansas is 30 days.
  • You can use SoloSuit to make your response.

These are the general steps to respond

  1. Create an Answer Document
  2. Answer each issue of the Complaint
  3. Assert your affirmative defenses
  4. File the answer with the court

Good Luck!

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection Guides for Other States

Looking for another state? We're working on all 50.

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