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How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Arkansas (2022 Guide)

George Simons | October 19, 2022

Winning your debt collection lawsuit is like ^^

Summary: You have 30 days to respond to a Summons for debt collection with a written Answer in Arkansas, and luckily, you don't have to pay a fee to do so. Use SoloSuit to draft and file your Answer in minutes.

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 and even help you to stick it to your debt collector.

Below, we'll cover everything you need to know to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Arkansas, including state-specific rules, deadlines, fees, and forms.

Let's jump right in.


Arkansas deadline to Answer a debt collection Summons

Arkansas civil procedure law outlines the deadline you have to respond to a Summons and Complaint. Ark. Dist. Ct. R. 6(b) states:

Time for Filing Answer or Reply. A defendant shall file an answer with the clerk of the court within thirty (30) days after the service of the complaint upon the defendant. An answer to a cross-claim and a reply to a counterclaim shall be filed with the clerk of the court within 30 days of the date that the pleading asserting the claim is served. A copy of an answer or reply shall also be served on the opposing party or parties in accordance with Rule 5(b) of the Rules of Civil Procedure.”

In other words, you have 30 days to respond to a Summons for debt collection in Arkansas. That's right, you only have 30 days to respond once you have received the Summons and Complaint documents.

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 in time.

Most Arkansas courts count the Answer filed based on the filemark: the date the court receives and processes the document. You should start the process of drafting and filing your response as soon as you are notified of the lawsuit. Using an Answer form can help you speed up the process.

Arkansas Answer to Summons forms

It can be confusing and challenging for an inexperienced person to know which forms to send to respond to a debt collection Summons. SoloSuit solves this challenge by giving you several options that will help you fill out the correct form.

Use SoloSuit's Answer form to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Arkansas.

Here's a sample Answer form from SoloSuit, so you have an idea of what your response will look like

Additionally, Arkansas provides an online program to help you create an Arkansas Online Answer Form. Even though this program helps with Arkansas legal aid forms, it isn't great—complete with faceless attorneys, looming courthouses, and 1980s graphics.

That's why it's easier to use SoloSuit to respond to your debt collection case. 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.

Arkansas courts do not charge an Answer filing fee

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.

That being said, there may be a filing fee to file a counterclaim, motion, or other type of court document into your case. Each court has a fee schedule that outlines said fees. Check with your court clerk to determine how much you need to pay if you

Follow these steps to respond to a debt collection case in Arkansas

You might think you have to hire a lawyer to help you respond to an Arkansas Summons form. But finding an attorney can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. You can save yourself the anxiety money by representing yourself in court. Here's how.

The first step to winning your Arkansas debt collection case is to respond with a written Answer document. You're probably wondering what your Answer document needs to include. Ark. Dist. Ct. R. 6(a) outlines exactly what you need to include in your Answer document:

Contents of Answer. An answer shall be in writing and signed by the defendant or his or her attorney, if any. It shall also state:

(1) the reasons for denial of the relief sought by the plaintiff, including any affirmative defenses and the factual bases therefor;

(2) any affirmative relief sought by the defendant, whether by way of counterclaim, set-off, cross-claim, or third-party claim, the factual bases for such relief, and the names and addresses of other persons needed for determination of the claim for affirmative relief; and

3) the address of the defendant or his or her attorney, if any.”

SoloSuit's Answer form includes all of these requirements, and it only takes about 15 minutes to complete online.

To respond to your debt lawsuit in Arkansas, follow these three steps:

  1. Answer each allegation listed in the Complaint.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses.
  3. File the Answer with the court, and send a copy to the opposing attorney.

As you can see, these steps mirror the Answer requirements listed in Arkansas laws. Now, let's take a minute to break down each step in detail.

If you don't like reading, check out this video instead:

1. Answer each allegation listed in the Complaint

The Complaint document lists the specific allegations, or claims, that the opposing party is making against you.

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. So, you need to respond to every numbered paragraph listed in the Complaint. You shouldn't just say whatever you want in your Answer. Instead, choose from one of these three responses:

  • Admit: this is like saying, “This is true.”
  • Deny: this is like saying, “Prove it.”
  • Deny due to lack of knowledge: this is like saying, “I don't know.”

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 win, especially if they don't have enough evidence to prove their claims.

Let's consider an example.

Example: Greg is getting sued by debt collectors in Arkansas. He finds SoloSuit online and uses its services to draft and file his response. In his Answer document, Greg denies all the allegations listed in the Arkansas Complaint.


2. 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 asserting one of several available affirmative defenses.

SoloSuit helps you make the right affirmative defense the right way.

Here are some common affirmative defenses for debt collection cases:

  • 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.

Let's take a look at another example.

Example: Susan is being sued for a credit card debt in Arkansas. After doing some investigating, Susan realizes that the debt account in question has been inactive for almost six years. Since the statute of limitations on credit card debt is only five years in Arkansas, Susan asserts this as an affirmative defense in her Answer document. She uses Solosuit to draft and file her Answer before the deadline. When the debt collectors suing her find out about the statute of limitations being expired, they dismiss the case.


3. File the Answer with the court, and send a copy to the opposing attorney

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 at 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 probably 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. 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.

SoloSuit can file your Answer for you in all 50 states.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

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


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

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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 by suing you. Once the deadline has passed, they can no longer take to you to court. They may try to get you to pay off the debt still, but they cannot legally sue you for it anymore.

The table below outlines the statute of limitations on different types of debt in Arkansas:

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Oral

3

Written

5

Promissory

3

Open

3

Credit Card

5

Judgements

10



Each state has a unique timeline for the statute of limitations on debt. Arkansas law outlines the statute of limitations on debt for the state of Arkansas. Below, we've listed the specific laws regarding Arkansas statute of limitations.

AR Code § 16-56-105 (2019) states:

“The following actions shall be commenced within three (3) years after the cause of action accrues:
(1) All actions founded upon any contract, obligation, or liability not under seal and not in writing, excepting such as are brought upon the judgment or decree of some court of record of the United States or of this or some other state;
(2) All actions for arrearages of rent not reserved by some instrument in writing, under seal;
(3) All actions founded on any contract or liability, expressed or implied."

This is a fancy way of saying that all oral contracts, rent, and expressed or implied contracts have a statute of limitations of three years. In other words, you cannot be sued for any of these types of contracts if there has been no activity on the account for more than three years.

AR Code § 16-56-111 (2017) states:

“Actions to enforce written obligations, duties, or rights, except those to which § 4-4-111 is applicable, shall be commenced within five (5) years after the cause of action shall accrue.”

Similarly, this law means that any written contracts have a statute of limitations of five years. So, if you have a written contract and you have taken no action on your account associated with that contract for more than five years, you cannot be sued over the debt involved.

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. You can find out more about their services, including Arkansas legal services forms and Arkansas legal aid forms, by contacting them using the following information:

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

Arkansas court locations

Sometimes the location of your court isn't clear from the Summons. So we've linked to a list of Arkansas state courts here. This information should be helpful in finding the location of the specific Arkansas court forms for the court in which your case is filed. Use this Arkansas court directory to find your courthouse and court clerk's phone number.

Key Takeaways

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

  • You have 30 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Arkansas.
  • Use an Answer form to respond to your lawsuit in minutes.
  • Arkansas courts do not charge an Answer filing fee.
  • Your Answer document should focus on responding to the allegations listed in the Complaint and asserting your affirmative defenses.
  • You should file your Answer with the court and send a copy to the opposing attorney.
  • SoloSuit can help you draft and file your Answer in Arkansas.

Good Luck!

Check the statute of limitations on debt in Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania typically has a 4-year statute of limitations for most debts. According to Title 42 of Pennsylvania law, Section § 5525 states:

“General rule. Except as provided for in subsection (b), the following actions and proceedings must be commenced within four years:

(1) An action upon a contract, under seal or otherwise, for the sale, construction or furnishing of tangible personal property or fixtures.
(2) Any action subject to 13 Pa.C.S. § 2725 (relating to statute of limitations in contracts for sale).
(3) An action upon an express contract not founded upon an instrument in writing.
(4) An action upon a contract implied in law, except an action subject to another limitation specified in this subchapter.
(5) An action upon a judgment or decree of any court of the United States or of any state.
(6) An action upon any official bond of a public official, officer or employee.
(7) An action upon a negotiable or nonnegotiable bond, note or other similar instrument in writing. Where such an instrument is payable upon demand, the time within which an action on it must be commenced shall be computed from the later of either demand or any payment of principal of or interest on the instrument.
(8) An action upon a contract, obligation or liability founded upon a writing not specified in paragraph (7), under seal or otherwise, except an action subject to another limitation specified in this subchapter.”

This means that ​​the credit card debt statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is four years. It also means that if your last payment on your debt was more than four years ago, a creditor cannot legally sue you. If they do, they are in violation of the statute of limitations.

Regardless, creditors will still try to sue you beyond the statute of limitations and many succeed. Remember that in order to avoid being held responsible for the debt you'll still need to mention the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense in your Answer.

The table below outlines the statute of limitations on different types of debt in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Oral

4

Written

4

Promissory

4

Open

4

Credit Card

4

Judgements

4


Source: Findlaw


Magistrate courts do not require a written Answer, but it can still help

Most magisterial district courts in Pennsylvania do not require defendants to file an Answer like the one you can generate with SoloSuit. Instead, you must call the court to confirm your “Intent to Defend” and show up at the scheduled hearing. Some courts may require you to sign an “Intent to Defend” form and submit it to the court as well, which form usually comes in the packet with the Summons and Complaint.

Magisterial judges do not review the case documents until the hearing, so filing an Answer is unnecessary before the hearing. That being said, the Answer document can help you when you present your case when you show up to your hearing.

While the Answer will help you strengthen your side of a magisterial case, you must give your notice of Intent to Defend in order to officially respond to a magisterial district court debt collection case.

Pennsylvania has several government-funded organizations that provide free legal services. If you have questions or need help, you can contact them using the information below.

Legal Aid of Southwest Pennsylvania - Main Branch
625-627 Swede St.
Norristown, PA 19401
(877) 429-5994
https://www.lasp.org/

MidPenn Legal Services, Inc.
213-A North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
(717)234-0492
https://www.midpenn.org/

Philadelphia Legal Assistance
718 Arch Street, Suite 300N
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 981-3800
https://www.philalegal.org

North Penn Legal Services
559 Main Street, Suite 200
Bethlehem, PA 18018
877-953-4250
https://www.northpennlegal.org/

What if I haven't been sued yet?

If you've only received a collections notice, but not a lawsuit, the best way to respond is with a Debt Validation Letter.

When a debt collector contacts you in any way, whether it's by phone or mail, you can respond with a Debt Validation Letter. This letter notifies the collector that you dispute the debt and requires they provide proof you owe the debt. They can't call you or continue collecting until they provide validation of the debt. This flowchart shows how you can use a Debt Validation Letter to win.

Learn more about the Debt Validation Letter here.

Debt Collection Lawsuit Flowchart

Key Takeaways

In a nutshell, here's a quick refresher on how to Answer a Summons for debt collection in Pennsylvania.

  • You have 20 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Pennsylvania.
  • You can use SoloSuit's Answer form to prepare your response.
  • Most Pennsylvania courts do not charge an Answer filing fee.
  • Respond to the lawsuit by filing a written Answer where you respond to each claim listed in the Complaint and assert your affirmative defenses.
  • After completing the Answer, file it in the court and send a copy to the plaintiff's attorney.
  • The statute of limitations on debt in Pennsylvania is four years.
  • Some Pennsylvania courts have special requirements for responding to a debt collection lawsuit. SoloSuit can help you respond the right way in minutes.

We hope this guide was helpful! Good Luck answering your Summons!

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