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I've been sued by a Debt Collector. What should I do?

If a process server knocks on your door with a summons, or if you receive one in the mail, DO NOT IGNORE IT!  You've been sued and are a defendant in a lawsuit.  The documents you receive may include:


The summons will include a Statement of Claim. which states the name of the plaintiff, the creditor with account number, and the amount claimed - principal, interest, attorney fees, other fees, and costs.  The hearing date and time will be noted, along with the address of the court.  The name of the attorney representing the plaintiff will be listed with contact address and phone number.


Exhibits are supporting documents and may include account statements or written agreements.

Instructions from the Court

You will be advised to:

  • Gather documents to support your defense, such as cancelled checks, bills of sale, correspondence with the creditor and/or collector, paid receipts, correspondence, etc.
  • Determine whether you must have, or need to hire, an attorney to represent you.  In some courts you may be able to represent yourself.
  • Contact the Court and notify of your intent to defend.

Hearing Date

If a hearing date is inconvenient, contact the court immediately. You may be able to have it rescheduled.

Default Judgment

If you ignore the hearing date and do not appear in court, a Default Judgment may be entered against you. Judgments may result in bank attachments, seizure of personal property, or in some states, wage garnishment.

Seek Legal Advice

If you have been sued for an auto loan deficiency, credit card debt, or other personal obligation, do not ignore the summons.  Contact a qualified consumer protection attorney to discuss your options.