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I am being sued for an unpaid credit card do I need to answer lawsuit in 3 days

Conneaut, OH |
Filed under: Litigation

I am being sued for an unpaid credit card. The letter says I need to send an answer in three days. What answer do I send?

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Posted

When a lawsuit is filed in Ohio, a legal document (called a Complaint) is served on the defendant (in your case, that's you) either by certified mail or by personal service. If the mail is ignored or refused, then it can be served by ordinary mail in most cases. In most cases, except Small Claims Court, the lawsuit is served with a letter (from the Clerk of the Court where the lawsuit was filed) that says you have to file a legal document (called an Answer) in court with the Clerk's office within 28 days after you received the Complaint. If the lawsuit is "real" then it will be accompanied by legal document (called a Summons) signed by the Clerk of Court which tells you how long you have to file your Answer to the lawsuit and giving you the address for the Court and the name and address for the credit card company's lawyer. In credit card collection cases, however, some credit card companies hire people to send out papers that threaten a lawsuit, but the papers aren't really a lawsuit at all --- they just look like one. That kind of document often will say that you have to answer them in a very short time, often just days, or they may proceed with legal proceedings to garnish wages, etc. Of course, it is very likely a violation of federal law (the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) for a collection company to send out a fake lawsuit. The only way to tell if they really filed a lawsuit against you is to call the Clerk of the Court where the supposed lawsuit was filed or, better yet, go there with your lawsuit papers and ask them in person. If the lawsuit is real, then you need to deal with it immediately (see an attorney). If not, then you should see an attorney who handles this kind of debt collection abuse. You can call your local attorney's Bar Association.

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Posted

You need an attorney who is familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and with the activities of and defenses that can be raised against debt collectors.

There are many issues that can usually be raised, but there is no way you can do this yourself properly. The good news is that there is an organization called the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) which consists of consumer attorneys who know exactly how to defend these cases. There is a geographical listing of NACA member attorneys on the web site, www.naca.net

Good luck.

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Posted

You need an attorney who is familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and with the activities of and defenses that can be raised against debt collectors.

There are many issues that can usually be raised, but there is no way you can do this yourself properly. The good news is that there is an organization called the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) which consists of consumer attorneys who know exactly how to defend these cases. There is a geographical listing of NACA member attorneys on the web site, www.naca.net

Good luck.

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Posted

The question is whether you are actually being sued or whether they are threatening to sue you. If a lawsuit has been filed against you and you have been properly served with the summons and complaint, you should have more than 3 days to file a response. In Florida, you would have 20 days to file a response after you have been served. It sounds like you just received a letter stating that they credit card company, or someone who has bought the debt, is threatening to sue you. Under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the debt collector is required to give you certain written notices, including notifying you that you can contest the validity of the debt and ask for proof of the debt. If they don't provide you with the proper notices, they could be in violation of the the Act, but that is not going to do much for you at this point. In other words, you could sue the debt collector in Federal Court, but that may not pan out for you. So...to answer your question, assuming there is a case open and you have been actually sued in state court., then you need to file a response to the complaint in with the clerk of the court in the county you have been sued in. You can tell that from the caption on the complaint. Your answer will depend on what has been alleged, but if you deny the amount of the debt, then you must say so in your answer....

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