How to Reply to a Civil Action Summons for Credit Card Debt

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It is always best to reply to a civil action summons for credit card debt as soon as possible. A civil action summons is subject to a strict deadline that you must meet to avoid a default judgment. A default judgment is issued by a court when a defendant fails to show up in court to defend against a claim made by another party. A judgment for debt can remain on your credit file for 12 to 20 years, depending on your state. Always defend against any debt claim that is incorrect, incomplete or expired.

Review the civil action summons for credit card debt, which will arrive by mail within the time period specified by the court.

Reply by phone. Contact the telephone number printed on the civil action summons. Follow the instructions provided and give notice of appearance. Not all courts permit you to reply to a civil action summons by phone.

Reply by mail or file a notice of appearance form at the county courthouse. Enter your legal name and a mailing address where future notices can be sent. Sign and date the form and hand it back to the county clerk.

Mail copies of the notice of appearance form to the attorney representing your creditor if required.

Declare an answer to the complaint made against you. Frequently, you can disagree with the complaint made against you or state you do not know if the complaint is valid or not.

File your answer with the county clerk. Filing fees apply. Ask any questions about your scheduled hearing date, such as how early you should arrive and where you should check in once you arrive.

Defend yourself against the complaint with supporting documents, such as payment records, a bankruptcy filing or a credit report that proves statute of limitations.

Tips & Warnings

  • Provide the court with copies of your supporting documents, not the originals.

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