How Long After Summons Do You Get a Default Judgment

If you don’t answer your credit card summons, collection agencies/junk debt buyers do not hesitate for one minute. They take advantage and act straight away.

If your summons states you have 20 days to answer and you fail to do so, they will get a default judgment against you the very next day. If you have 30 days to answer, the same thing is true.

This is exactly what they are hoping for. The perfect scenario for them would be: they serve you, you don’t answer, they file for their default judgment and get it. They then come after your bank account to garnish your wage check.

If your state allows a certain percentage of your check to be garnished, you will quite possibly receive an order from the court telling you to appear at a garnishment hearing. This is totally degrading. They will ask you where you work, how much you make and then proceed to dock your check at the highest percentage that your state allows.

With so much information to help you answer your summons, it’s difficult to understand why so many people allow the plaintiff to get an easy default judgment. Even if you know it is your debt, answer the summons. These companies probably do not have the actual proof to prove it.

Below is a time line of how fast these collection agencies act after you decide not to answer your summons and it is quite scary:


Event Time Span
Suit filed Within 2 days of receipt of costs
Summons served Normally within 14 – 28 days of filing suit
Filing for default 20 days after service of summons
Entry of default 14 – 28 days from filing *(unless court requires hearing which could add 30 additional days)
Issuance of execution:
– bank garnish
– wage garnish
– sheriff’s levy
Any time after entry of judgment
Return on execution:
– bank garnish
– wage garnish
– sheriff’s levy

– within 20 days from service of garnish
– within 20 days from service of garnish
– 90 days from issue date
Proceedings supplemental Any time after 10 days of judgment entry; varies by county but generally can be requested every 90-180 days to examine debtor

As noted above, these companies do not hesitate. They serve you and hope you default. Look again at how fast they go after that judgment and once they get that judgment, look again and see how fast they come after your wages and bank account.

So, what’s the lesson? Answer your summons!