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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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My wife has been served with a District Court Civil Summons

Customer Question

My wife has been served with a District Court Civil Summons asking for response within 21 days to an unpaid credit card debt. From what I can tell is that another company has purchased the delinquent account probably for pennies on the dollar from the original creditor and is now pursuing collections. In the papers served, under First Claim For Relief I find two items listed as not accurate, first is that they make a statement that she resides in a neighboring county, second the amount stated is the previous balance amount and not the new balance shown on a copy of a statement that is included in the summons. And what puzzles me is that they are three months short of the last statement according to my records. I wanted to make an offer but at this time I think I should hold for better options. How would it be best for my wife to respond to the summons?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Your wife must file an answer to the complaint (if she does not, the creditor will get a "default judgment" for the entire amount they seek).

Once an answer is filed, she will be in a better position to negotiate a settlement.

See this link for general steps on how to defend a debt collection suit:

For help with tips on negotiating a settlement:

  • When trying to settle a debt, creditors generally prefer lump sums over payment plans. They are often willing to accept an amount less than the full debt (the trade off is that they get a quick payment and don't have to worry about ongoing collection costs or administration). If you do not have the ability to offer a lump sum for something the creditor will accept (some will accept a small portion, while others want close to the full amount), you can try a payment plan, these are less satisfactory to the creditor (especially if they have a lien on your property already), but if you are willing to offer something with a reasonable chance to get the creditor a large amount of their debt back, you are likely to get them to accept it.

    Whenever working with a creditor, make sure that you keep your communications in writing (if you speak to someone by phone, promptly send a confirmation letter to summarize your conversation), as this will help to ensure that there is no confusion later on, and you will be able to enforce your settlement against any future collection efforts.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

What would I include in the answer and how in what form would I submit it. and would I go to the court in the next county. Being they have the wrong county will they be able to resubmit it in our county at a later time?

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

They have the wrong "venue" by filing in the wrong county.

Your wife (remember, your wife is the named party, not you) has 2 (really 3) options here:

  1. File an answer in the other county and defend the action there, she can file a motion to change venue once she files her answer.
  2. File a motion to strike the complaint as it is in the wrong county (this is filed in the court where the action is located).
  3. Simply contact the attorney representing the creditor and notify him/her of the error. (Make sure to do so in writing so that there is a record). Most attorneys will simply dismiss the action in the wrong county and refile in the proper county. It is not worth their time and effort to continue to prosecute a case in the wrong venue.

Option 3 is generally best.

Once the action is properly filed, she still needs to file an answer (use the link I provided above for more detailed help with this, as well as your county law library.)