I received a summons from a collection agency, what should I do and how should I respond?
I recently received a court summons from a collection agency. The plaintiff is a collection agency named Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC. The amount of debt they are pursuing is in the neighborhood of $700 plus interest and court costs. The summons states that I have 20 days to respond, or 23 if received by mail. The debt they are claiming comes from an old credit card account which has been closed for nearly 4 years. In my state, this would still fall within the statue of limitations. I was under the impression that I had paid this account, however this may not be the case, I am still looking through paperwork to see if I can find payment verification. From doing some research on PRA, LLC they seem to be shady and often lack the proper documentation. If I can find verification I am confident that I will have a solid defense, however if I am mistaken and did not pay this or cannot provide verification what should I do?
Seeing as it is such a small amount I cannot justify, or really afford to hire an attorney. I just became aware of this situation when I received the letter in the mail and have been sort of blindsided. Is there anyway that I could still possibly negotiate with PRA and settle this outside of the lawsuit? If they would be willing to offer me a reduced payment, say maybe without interest, I would rather just pay it and settle the whole thing. Seeing as they have already filed the suit though I am afraid to contact them and possibly say something that could then be used against me in court.
One final question, when do I need to respond by? I received this through the mail, so I have 23 days. Is this from the postdate on the envelope, the date on the summons, or the date the complaint was filed? Also is it possible to seek an extension on such matters, and if so should I?
Thank you in advance.
- Anonymous6 years agoFavorite Answer
Call the court house and make sure it's the real summons. If it's not legit, do nothingSource(s): Retired bill collector 35 years
- Steve DLv 76 years ago
If they have already filed suit and are confident that they will win, they no longer have any incentive to settle - the time to settle is before the suit. As it stands, if you can get a settlement, it will be for a somewhat reduced amount plus any costs incurred (court costs, etc.) since they have already put this out of pocket. Don't count on them playing nice anymore.
Respond as quickly as you can asking for the court to require the collection agency to verify that the debt is legit and that they have legal authority to collect the debt (either a contract selling the debt to them or an agreement naming them as an agent of the creditor).
- chris3fikeLv 46 years ago
First of all, is this petition for a Breach of Contract, you don't owe them anything, this is a scam. Look up Privity of Contract, no third party can insert themselves between the original two parties in a contract. You don't owe them any money because they don't have standing. They committed misconduct when filing a suit against you. You need to file an Answer and Counterclaims when you go into court, you can do this the day that you are due to appear in court. I did this, the plaintiff had to provide me all the answers that I asked them for. They will literally provide you with the date in which you made your last payment, if it's been long enough that the Statute of Limitations would apply, then you would file the paperwork for Dismissal using that reason. If you need free examples of an Answer and Counterclaims, then email me.
When you go into court with your Answers and Counterclaims, lawyers will often try to speak to you before you appear before a judge to find out your intentions. You just need to let them know that you want time for Discovery, in other words, find out what they know. Let your response to them be one sentence, then shut your mouth.
The plaintiff's lawyer that sued me, gave me everything that I needed to win and I already told you the secret, Privity of Contract. They will never be able to show that they have a contract with you, you will never have to argue your case before a judge, it's all a scam and they will never never let there become a case that could be used against all third party debt collectors. My plaintiff's lawyer on my 4th visit to the courtroom gave me the paperwork for Dismissal with Prejudice which means that the plaintiff committed misconduct when filing for a suit. They never had grounds to sue me in the first place and they don't have grounds to sue you. You owe them nothing.
- TiLv 76 years ago
The lawsuit has already been filed within the statute of limitation.
Whatever you do, don't fail to answer the lawsuit. Otherwise, the plaintiff will get what he asks for whether he deserves it or not.
Portfolio Recovery is a junk debt buyer. Since this debt is already four years old, chances are that it has been sold and resold numerous times.
Whatever you do, don't admit that you owe. Let the plaintiff prove it.
You have the right to demand validation of the debt.
Debt validation includes,
1. Can the plaintiff prove that he owns the debt. He must provide you with proof of sale from the original creditor in addition to proofs of sales from each subsequent owner of the debt. My guess is that he can't.
2. He must provide you with the original contract between you and the original creditor. Since most old debts are transferred electronically between buyers and sellers, chances are that he can't do that.
3. He must provide you with a detailed description of what the debt is for. That means credit card statements describing each transaction. A printout from his own computers won't do. He would need to subpoena the original creditor for those records.
4. Can he prove that he has the right to the fees and interest he is charging you? A bill collector cannot charge fees, penalties, and interest that were not specified in the original contract with the original creditor.
5. Is he licensed to collect debts in your state? If not, he cannot collect in your state.
There may be more, but that is all I can think of off hand.
Answer the summons within the proscribed time. Send the bill collector demand for validation. File a copy with the court with proof of service. Send all correspondence to the plaintiff by certified mail return receipt requested. Keep copies of everything for your records. I bet you pebbles to dimes that the lawsuit will be dismissed by the Plaintiff.
Sometimes these junk debt buyers file suits hoping that the defendant will ignore the summons thereby earning them an easy default judgment. Give them Hell.
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- KLLv 66 years ago
You have 23 days from the date you were served. I would not sit on this. Answer the suit and file it w/the court otherwise they will get a default judgment and it will look a lot worse on your credit report. Once you answer PRA will have to PROVE you owe this debt. If they don't it will get thrown out. OR you can call them directly and settle the amount you allegedly owe.
- 6 years ago
they will almost always settle for a reduced payment because something is better than nothing