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Sample Answer to Credit Card Debt Summons

When confronted with summons, you feel like you are facing a mixture of threats, legal jargon and pressure to act. The resulting and overriding feeling is nothing less that sheer terror.

However, it needn’t be so daunting. Start at the beginning by understanding the terminology and then take it step-by-step. Many of us have found The Defendant’s Package a huge help with this and has a proven success record.

Firstly, it’s crucial to understand the individual elements and what it required of you, the defendant. Then you can consider what you may include in your own answer.

The Summons

This is a legal document telling the defendant that he or she is being sued and that the court asserts power to resolve the case. It orders the defendant to appear in court to answer the complaint made against them.

The summons is usually answered with a notice of appearance. This is an official document stating that the defendant wishes to participate in the case and requests notification of all procedures. This notice is not a complicated document and you may well find a template at your court house or on their website.

Your notice of appearance should include the caption which includes all of the information regarding your case. You will find this on the summons itself and you can just copy that straight onto your notice of appearance.

You can then state your intention to proceed with the case. For example, you may write:

The undersigned enters an appearance in this action, and demands notice of all further proceedings. Any notices may be sent to:

You can then list any address (not necessarily your residential address) where you would like any legal documents and communication to be sent.

The Complaint

This is the legal document that accompanies the summons and lists the accusations that the plaintiff is asserting against the defendant. It comprises of separate, numbered paragraphs, each of which is a distinct complaint.

Your response to this is called ‘the answer’ and requires much more than your response to the Summons itself.

As with all pleadings (legal documents in a lawsuit), as mentioned above, the answer must begin with the caption. Use exactly the same information in your summons and complaint and that you used for your notice of appearance.

Next, you will list the admissions and denials where you have the opportunity to respond to each complaint against you.

Follow your court rules carefully regarding the wording. They may specify exactly what phrases you must use in this section. If you fail to use the appropriate terminology, it will be regarded as a total admittance.

You must address each and every complaint against you. This can be done with a general denial or a general admittance or, you must go through each paragraph of the complaint and state whether you 1) Admit the allegation; 2) Deny the allegation or 3) Lack sufficient information to admit or deny the allegation (this has the effect of a denial).

Depending on whether your court provides you with a blank answer form or not, the wording will vary.

An example may look something like this:

  • Deny. All statements are untrue in paragraph numbers: 2, 5, 6.

  • Admit. All statements are true in paragraph numbers: 1, 3.

  • Partially True. The information in the following paragraphs is partially true and partially false: 7.
    In these partially true paragraphs, I deny everything except the following statements, which are true: The defendant opened an account with Capital One in June 2006.

  • Insufficient Information. I don’t have enough information to know if the following paragraphs and/or statements are true: 8

In other instances, where you have to compose your answer without a pre-prepared form, you may want to include explanations for your denial.

For example, you could write:

  • Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 1 of the complaint as Defendant is without sufficient information to form an opinion as to the truth and accuracy of alleged assignments and entitlements.

  • Defendant denies all allegations contained in paragraph 2 as there is not, nor has there ever been any agreement, written, oral or implied between Plaintiff and Defendant.

Once you have addressed each complaint, you can move on to the affirmative defenses.

These are a list of facts that the defendant raises that, if proven true, can negate the original charges against the defendant, even if they are true.

There are many affirmative defenses and not all of them will be obvious at first glance. Your prepared answer form may have a list for you to tick the applicable defense.

For example:

Arbitration and award
Discharge in bankruptcy
Other __________________________

You will then be given a space to provide facts in support of the affirmative defences you have ticked.

In the above example, you might write:

Defendant attaches receipts of payment totalling the debt fee of $1500 made to Capital One between January 2005 and January 2006 showing that the debt has been paid in full and cannot be sued upon.

In other formats, you can state your Affirmative Defense alongside your supporting evidence.

Here is a sample list in this format:

  • I received the summons and complaint, but it was not properly served.
  • I do not owe this debt
  • My only source of income is , which is exempt from collection.

Remember to check if there is a preferred format required by your court and if they give instructions for listing affirmative defenses. Do your research into each and every defense and if there is a chance it applies to you, use it.

The Defendant’s Package gives details and explanations regarding affirmative defenses and how to use them.

Bear in mind that you will have to provide evidence in support of your defenses, so do your research and dig deep into your records. It is very likely that you will find quite a few defenses in your favour that ultimately may mean that the plaintiff cannot proceed with the case. So these are a very important part of your answer.

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