How do I respond to a summons from a credit card company?

UPDATED: Oct 22, 2011

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How do I respond to a summons from a credit card company?

The debt is approximately $2,900 and I know that it is valid and that I owe that amount. I, like many others, have been unable to work/find work for 4 years. I have no assets & live with family that cannot help. I am willing to make payments, & the credit card lawyers suggested I send them a hardship letter to see if I would be eligible. I need to know if I need to admit that I owe the debt on the summons, as I cannot afford a lawyer or a trial. I know this will be a judgment against me but I have few options. Do I send a copy of the letter to the judge as well?

Asked on October 22, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Alabama


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You will need to file an answer to the complaint.  The complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons.  You will need to file your answer to the complaint with the court and serve it by mail on the attorneys for the credit card company within the time specified in the summons.  If you don't file a timely answer to the complaint, you will lose by default and a judgment for default will be entered against you.  If that happens, you will need to file a motion to set aside the default.  If the court grants your motion, the case is then back on track and litigation will continue.

The answer to the complaint denies the allegations in the complaint.  At the law library, look in the index of Pleading and Practice under answer to complaint.  This will give you the general format for an answer to a complaint.  At the end of the answer is the verification which you sign and date under penalty of perjury attesting to the veracity of your statements in the answer.  File the answer to the complaint with the verification and attach a proof of service when filing your documents with the court.  You can use a court form proof of service or you can write your own.  If you write your own, it just says that you are over 18 and the attached documents were sent via first class mail unless stated otherwise to __________ (name and address of opposing attorney) on _________ (date).  Sign and date the proof of service at the bottom.  The date you sign should be the same as the date of mailing and the same date you file your documents with the court.

As for a hardship letter, file your answer to the complaint first.  Then, you can try to negotiate with the credit card company's attorney and send a hardship letter.  The hardship letter is not sent to the judge.  If you want to, you can file it with the court, but that is not necessary.  If it becomes part of a settlement with the credit card company, you can file it with the court as a part of the settlement, but again this is not required.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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