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Summons on a Credit Card Debt

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In some cases, the first time you know that you are being sued on an alleged credit card debt is when you receive a Summons and Complaint.  In small claims cases, the Summons may also be accompanied by a Notice to Appear for a Pretrial Conference.  This post explains what these terms mean for the people being sued for credit card debts.

The “Complaint” is the formal document that begins a lawsuit.  That is where the Plaintiff (the person or company that is suing) sets out their claim or claims against the Defendant.  The “Summons” is the formal legal document notifying you that you are being sued, and gives you instructions on how and when you must respond.

In Florida, you must file a formal response called an “Answer” or other responsive document unless you are being sued in small claims court.  In small claims court (the division of county court where the dispute is for $5000 or less), you do not need to file an Answer, but it is still often a good idea to do so.  That way, if you dispute the credit card debt, or if you are unsure whether you owe the amount being sued on, you can formally document your dispute.

If you receive a Summons or a Summons and Notice to Appear for Pretrial Conference, it is absolutely CRITICAL that you respond appropriately.  If you don’t show up, or if you don’t respond appropriately, you may lose the entire lawsuit before you can present your evidence.  There are also other important safeguards you may lose if you don’t respond by the deadline.  You should definitely speak to a credit card lawyer before those deadlines expire, so please call, email or fax us for a free consultation.  There is nothing so disappointing as a person who has a valid defense not being able to defend their case because the deadlines expired!