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

George Simons

May 21, 2020

Summary: Are you a Connecticut resident facing a debt collection lawsuit? If so, we invite you to respond to that lawsuit with the help of SoloSuit. Our automated service will make responding to the lawsuit and protecting your rights easy.

Did you hear about the debt collector who went to a mind reader? — There was no charge.

That's right. Debt collectors are those aggressive types who do not have a whole lot going on upstairs. So, if you push back a little by responding to a debt collection lawsuit, you might find that the debt collector will back off pretty quickly. That is good news for you.

When faced with a debt collection lawsuit, many people ignore it in the hopes that the debt collection problem will go away. But, trust us, ignoring a debt collection lawsuit won't help you in the long run. In fact, the more you avoid the issue the higher your debt, and the lower your credit score, will be. So, let SoloSuit give you a helping hand.

In this article, we will discuss how to answer a summons for a debt collection lawsuit in the State of Connecticut. As you will see, it is not that difficult, and it will really help you get rid of that debt collection cloud that you may be carrying with you.

Connecticut Deadline for Answering a Debt Collection Summons

Connecticut law allows you 30 days to answer a lawsuit. That is 30 days from the “return date” that is printed on the summons you receive.

Filing an answer is actually not that difficult, and it is worthwhile given the alternative. If you do not respond to a debt collection lawsuit, then the court will assume that the debt collector should win.

As a consequence, the court will enter what is called a “default judgment” against you. That means that you owe the debt stated in the debt collector's lawsuit. Worse still, the court will add additional money to your outstanding debt by tacking on attorney's fees and interest.

That is all to say that it is better to answer a debt collection lawsuit, rather than ignore it. Answering a suit is not that difficult, and it saves you from automatically losing the case. Don't forget that you need to make sure that you respond within 30 days.

Connecticut Answer to Summons Forms

In Connecticut, there are two documents that you need to send to the court in order to respond to a debt collections lawsuit. Those documents are as follows:

  1. An “Answer,” and
  2. An “Appearance.”

To make things easier, there are online forms that you can fill out, making those two documents very easy to create. Where can you find those fillable forms online? You can find them in two places:

First, you can use the answer and appearance forms provided by SoloSuit. They are created especially for lawsuits in the State of Connecticut. They are, without question, the easiest and most user-friendly forms you can use to answer a debt collection lawsuit in Connecticut.

Second, you can use the forms provided by the Connecticut court system. They are available by clicking below:

  1. Connecticut Answer form.
  2. Connecticut Appearance form.
SoloSuit's form is easy

Remember, you must file both forms to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Connecticut. If you file only one and not the other, there is a chance the court could enter a default judgment against you.

Why use the forms above? The court system in Connecticut, like all other states, has very specific rules regarding what information needs to be included when answering a complaint. So, using the forms above will make sure that you are abiding by all of those specific rules. SoloSuit makes sure you comply with Connecticut rules.

Answer Filing Fees for Connecticut

Luckily, there is no filing fee when answering a lawsuit in Connecticut.

Steps to Respond to a Debt Collection Case in Connecticut

When a debt collector sues you in court, the collector must send you two documents, (i) a Summons and (ii) a Complaint. If you have been sued, then you have probably already received those two documents.

The Summons is just a fancy way of putting in writing that the debt collector (the “plaintiff”) is officially notifying you of the lawsuit.

The other document — the Complaint — is what the plaintiff uses to lay out all of the facts surrounding the debt collection case. In the Complaint, you will see a lot of legalese. Do not get worried. It is just a lot of jargon that essentially states that you owe a certain amount of money, and explains why the plaintiff thinks you owe that money.

So, when you get a Summons and Complaint in the mail, you know that the Summons is just notifying you of the lawsuit, and the Complaint lays out all the facts that the plaintiff must prove to get a judgment against you.

Once you receive the lawsuit, the “ball is now in your court,” as they say. As mentioned above, if you do not respond to the lawsuit, then you will automatically lose the case. In addition, the court will enter a default judgment that says that you owe the money (plus fees and interest) that the plaintiff says you owe.

So, you are better off responding to the lawsuit. Accordingly, there are two ways to respond, either by filing a “Motion,” or filing an “Answer.” You will want to respond with an Answer in this context, particularly if you are representing yourself. And remember, you have 30 days in which to file that Answer. So, don't wait too long.

In responding to a debt collection complaint with an Answer, there are four basic steps you need to go through. They are as follows:

  1. Create the Answer document;
  2. Provide an answer to each issue in the complaint;
  3. Assert your affirmative defenses; and
  4. File one copy of the Answer document with the court, and serve one copy on the plaintiff.

No need to worry if you are feeling a little overwhelmed at this point. We are now going to go through each step in some detail so it is easy to understand.

1. Create an Answer Document.

Before you can get to the nitty gritty of telling the court all the reasons why you do not owe all the money that the debt collector says you owe, you need to make sure that you give the court some basic contact information.

The good news is that the Summons and Complaint has most, if not all, of the information that you need to put into your Answer document. That information includes the following:

  • Your personal contact information. Your name, address, and (if applicable) your attorney's name and address;
  • The contact information for the plaintiff. The name of the attorney suing you, the name of the company or other debtor suing you, and other information.
  • Information about the court. The name of the court in Connecticut where the lawsuit was filed, the court's address and other contact information.
  • Case identifying information. Every case has a case number (sometimes called a docket number, civil number or index number), and the debt amount at issue, among other important pieces of information.

All of this numerical and identifying information might seem like overkill, but it is very important so that the court can move your case forward properly. As noted, it should not be difficult to provide the information above because you will find it all in the Summons and Complaint that you received from the plaintiff.

2. Answer each issue of the Complaint.

Once you have created the Answer and put in all of the necessary case information, it is now time to tell the court whether the facts stated in the Complaint are true or false. Indeed, the response is called an “Answer” because you literally need to “answer” everything stated in the Complaint.

The important thing to remember, though, is that you do not need to spend lots of time writing out a long narrative to respond to the Complaint. Rather, all you need to do is tell the court in your Answer whether you “Agree” or “Disagree” with the information in each of the numbered paragraphs in the Complaint. If you don't know enough to agree or disagree with the information in a certain paragraph, then you can also answer a paragraph by saying “Do Not Know.”

It's that simple. For every paragraph you see in the Complaint, you simply say “Agree,” “Disagree,” or “Do Not Know.”

SoloSuit walks you through this process to make it easy.

Keep in mind that debt collectors try to be tricky. They may put in facts that are both true and untrue in a single numbered paragraph. In those cases, the best option is to say “Disagree” for a paragraph that might have a mix of true and false information.

3. Assert affirmative defenses.

Once you have had the opportunity to respond to each of the plaintiff's statements in the Complaint, it is now your turn to give your side of the story. In short, you can now assert your “affirmative defenses,” which is another way of saying that you can tell the court why you do not owe the money the plaintiff says you owe.

While at this point you may be inclined to give a long statement about your situation with regard to the debt, keep in mind that “brevity is bliss.” So, try to keep it simple and brief. To that end, here are some common affirmative defenses that you can, and should, include in your Answer when appropriate:

  • The debt is connected to an account that is not yours.
  • You do not owe on the debt, because the associated contract has already been terminated or canceled.
  • The plaintiff waited too long to sue, so the “statute of limitations” has already run out. (For more information about the statute of limitations, see below).
  • You already paid off the debt.
  • The creditor has excused you of the debt.
  • You have paid part of the debt.
  • You are liable for the debt as a co-signer on a contract, but you were not informed of your rights as a co-signer.
  • The complaint is missing paperwork because it does not include the actual contract (such as the initial credit card agreement) on which the debt is based.

There are other affirmative defenses available, but the above are the most common. Please note that, unfortunately, your inability to pay a debt is not an affirmative defense that can be put into an Answer.

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

You are almost done, and this is the easy part — mailing the Answer. Here are the steps to properly file and serve the Answer (and the Appearance document, since Connecticut requires that as well).

  • Step 1 - Make two copies of the Answer paperwork.
  • Step 2 - Send the original (the one you signed) to the court.
  • Step 3 - Mail a copy to the plaintiff's attorney.
  • Step 4 - Keep the second copy for your records.

What are the correct addresses? The address for the plaintiff's attorney should be included with the Summons and Complaint you received in the mail. The address for the court may be on the Summons and Complaint, but if not, use this guide to Connecticut courthouses to find the correct address.

SoloSuit files your Answer for you so you don't need to buy a printer or go to the post office.

Let SoloSuit Help You Through the Process

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that will ask you all the necessary questions to complete your answer to a complaint. When finished, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts. Or, even better you can pay SoloSuit a small fee to file it for you, and also 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


Start My Answer


>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Connecticut

Generally, the statute of limitations for credit card debt, and for other written contracts, is 6 years in the State of Connecticut. That means that a company or individual has 6 years to sue on a debt. If a debt collector fails to try to collect a debt within 6 years, then he loses the ability to collect at all. For more on statutes of limitations, read this.

Please note, however, that there may be a different statute of limitations period for other types of debt. See the table below:


Connecticut Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Oral

3

Written

6

Mortgage

6

Open

3

Credit Card

6

Auto Loan

4

State Tax

15

Judgements

20


Source: Findlaw



SoloSuit helps you assert the statute of limitations

There is legal help out there if you need it in connection with a debt collection lawsuit. Contact the following for more assistance:

Connecticut Legal Aid
62 Washington Street, 4th Floor
Middletown, Connecticut 06457
Phone (860) 344-0447
Fax (860) 346-2938

Connecticut Legal Services
1290 Silas Deane Highway, Suite 3A,
Wethersfield, Connecticut 06109

Each creditor, whether a large enterprise or small company, must follow Connecticut's fair debt collection practices. Even if you owe a debt, you have a right not to be harassed by debt collectors. If you think that a collector has violated your rights, then you should speak to an attorney about possibly adding a counterclaim when you answer a lawsuit. There are some ways you stop a harassing collector from calling you and avoid getting debt collector calls from blocked numbers.

Key Takeaways

You now have the basic tools to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Connecticut. Keep in mind these five important takeaways:

  1. You have 30 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit, so don't wait too long.
  2. Take advantage of SoloSuit to walk you through the process of completing the Answer, or be sure to use the Answer form provided by the Connecticut courts, included above.
  3. Don't forget to also file the Appearance form along with your Answer.
  4. With your Answer, make sure that you:
    • Respond to each numbered paragraph in the complaint;
    • List all of your affirmative defenses; and
    • Don't forget to file the original with the court, send a copy to the plaintiff, and keep a copy for your records.

Good Luck!

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

Guides for other states

All 50 states.