The doorbell rings and you are handed a summons regarding one of your past due credit accounts.
What do you do when you receive a summons?
- You are not going to jail!
- You will not have to go to court!
- They are not going to garnish your next paycheck.
- They are not going to garnish your bank account.
- They are not going to come take all of your belongings!
Next…DON'T IGNORE THE SUMMONS!
For the sake of this post, we're talking about unsecured debts such as:
- Credit cards
- Personal loans
- Medical bills
- Personal line of credit
- Store cards, etc.
- Auto Repo
After numerous phone calls and letters, a creditor may decide to start legal action in order to collect the debt that you owe. Not knowing how the process works, most people are intimidated and somehow find a way to pay the entire debt. Once you understand the summons process, you will find that you can still settle that debt for less than the full balance.
The Summons Process
(The entire process usually takes 3 months or so.)
- A CLAIM will be filed in the county court where you reside.
- You will receive a SUMMONS. This is usually hand delivered and will state something to the effect that you have 20 or 30 days after receipt of the summons to ” ANSWER THE CLAIM.”
- An answer is your side of the story that you would file ONLY if you feel you do not owe the amount of the claim. Even though you don't like the additional interest, late fees and now court costs, you still owe that as part of the debt.
- If you owe the debt, there is no reason to spend the time or money for an answer and, YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO TO COURT.
- Contact the attorney for the plaintiff (the creditor). If you are employed and receive normal W-2 wages, you need to try and work out a repayment plan so they do not proceed with the legal action.