How to Sue Someone for Money Owed in North Carolina


To recoup money owed, you need to file a complaint in a North Carolina Small Claims Court. You must file your complaint in the defendant’s county of residence and the entire suit must be less than $5,000, not including interest and court costs. A magistrate listens to the facts of your case and issues a ruling in favor of you or the person you sue.

Acquire a Complaint for Money Owed from the small claims court in your area. You may also download the form from the North Carolina Court System website.

Complete the complaint in its entirety. Provide your name, address, county and telephone number in the section for the plaintiff. Provide the name, address, county and telephone number of each defendant. Indicate the county of jurisdiction and the amount owed along with any interest, if applicable. Provide the date you and the defendant exchanged the goods or money. Sign and date the complaint.

Visit the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court Small Claims Division in the county of jurisdiction to file your complaint. If your complaint contains multiple defendants from different counties, choose one defendant’s county of residence and sue all defendants in that county.

Acquire a summons and assignment card from the clerk’s office in the defendant’s county of residence. You must complete a summons for each defendant, if more than one. Add the county of jurisdiction, your name and address to the top portion of the summons. Enter the defendant’s information in the “To” portion. The clerk completes the bottom portion of the summons, adds the date and schedules the trial. The trial takes place within 30 days of filing the summons. The clerk’s office will mail a Notice of Assignment/Service Card to notify you of your upcoming court date.

Serve the defendant by sending a copy of the summons and complaint via registered or certified mail with a return receipt. You may also use service via the county sheriff by paying a $15 service fee for each defendant named in your complaint, as of June 2011. If serving by certified mail, complete a sworn statement and attach the postal receipt indicating the defendant received the summons. File the statement with the court clerk.

Pay the complaint fee at the time of filing. At the time of publication, you must pay a filing fee in the form of cash or money order. If you cannot afford the filing fee, request a Petition to Sue/Appeal as an Indigent form from the court clerk. Sign the form in the presence of a notary and return to the court clerk.

Attend the scheduled hearing. You must attend the hearing even if the defendant does not answer your summons.

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