debt collection lawsuit

Answering a California Debt Collection Lawsuit Summons

Receiving a debt collection lawsuit summons is not the most pleasant experience in the world. However, when you’re sued by a debt collector, you must respond to the lawsuit. Otherwise, the court will enter a default judgment in favor of the debt collector. In other words, if you don’t respond, you’ll automatically lose your case. Below is an overview of how to answer a California debt collection lawsuit summons. 

Deadline to Answer

After being served with a debt collection lawsuit summons in California, you have 30 days to file an answer. However, if the documents were served on someone else in your household, or they were sent to you in the mail, you have 40 days to file an answer. 

Steps to Respond to a California Debt Collection Lawsuit 

(1) Answer every issue raised in the lawsuit: Answering a lawsuit can be intimidating, but it isn’t as difficult as it seems, especially when you have the assistance of a debt collection lawsuit defense attorney. For each numbered complaint, you can respond that you agree, disagree, or don’t know. 

(2) Assert affirmative defenses: An affirmative defense is basically a reason why you don’t owe the debt or shouldn’t lose the lawsuit. Common affirmative defenses include:

  • The debt isn’t yours.
  • The contract was canceled. 
  • The period by which the debt collector was required to file a lawsuit to collect the debt has passed.  
  • The debt has been partially paid. 
  • The debt has been excused or paid.
  • You were a co-signer on the debt but weren’t informed of your rights as a co-signer.

Although these are some of the most common affirmative defenses, a debt collection lawsuit defense attorney will be able to help you choose the most appropriate affirmative defenses for your case. 

(3) File your answer and serve the debt collector: Once you’ve completed your answer, you must file it with the court and provide a copy to the debt collector who filed the lawsuit. If you don’t have an attorney, you must:

  • print two copies of the answer,
  • mail a copy to the court,
  • pay the court’s filing fee, and
  • mail a copy to the debt collector’s attorney.

However, filing without an attorney isn’t advisable. In order to give yourself the best chance at a successful outcome in your California debt collection lawsuit case, you should contact a debt collection lawsuit defense attorney.

Contact a California Debt Collection Lawsuit Defense Attorney

If you’re facing a debt collection lawsuit in California, you should contact a debt collection lawsuit defense attorney immediately. At the Fullman Firm, our debt collection defense attorneys have nearly half a century of combined debt collection lawsuit defense experience. When you choose us to fight your debt collection lawsuit, we will do everything in our power to ensure your case is a success. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.