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Question
Mr. Shear:

I am being sued in Buffalo City Court over an old credit card debt.  I hope you can help me.

A LVNV Funding, LLC (by Forster & Garbus)complaint and summons is dated January 3, 2012, has a hand written index number, and the last of its 3 pages shows a copy of a court payment receipt matching the index number dated November 2011.

An affidavit of service for substituted service was filed with the court on January 6, 2012 (there is a barely visible stamped date).

Setting aside issues with the affidavit of service and summons and complaint copies, when does the 30 days to answer start and then expire? This would be for substituted service.
I am confused because the summons refers to "after service is complete within which to answer". When is service completed for substitute service?

Thank you for your help.  I live in Buffalo, NY.

Answer
Good question.  When substituted service is used, the filing of proof of service is required.  It must be made within 20 days after the delivery or mailing, whichever is effected later.  Service then becomes complete 10 days after proof of service is filed, which means only that your responding time will not start until then.  

The responding time is 30 days.  Integrating the 10-day period, the easiest way to remember this point is that when substituted service is used, you actually have 40 days in which to respond, measured from the filing of proof of service.  

Remember, in the lower courts, such as Buffalo City Court, both the delivery and the mailing must be carried out within the statute of limitations.

If you have been sued on a debt, you do not have to simply roll over and pay it.  You may dispute that you owe the debt at all, or its amount; you may be unable to pay the debt due to your particular circumstances; or you may have been taken advantage of in an unfair transaction or through unfair add-on fees and charges.  Regardless, it makes sense to an attorney and consider your options.

In many cases, consumers have meritorious defenses to debt collection  lawsuits brought by debt buyers.  Simply hiring a lawyer and aggressively defending the lawsuit is sometimes enough to cause the Plaintiff (debt buyer) to dismiss their claims or negotiate a favorable settlement. And you may find that you have claims of your own that could entitle you to recover damages.

Also, look at my previous posts for defenses to this case.

If you have any questions or require further assistance, please do not hesitate to ask.

Jason A. Shear
Attorney at Law
Buffalo, New York
Phone: (716) 566-8988
Website: www.jasonshearlaw.com  

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Jason Shear, Esq.

Expertise

I can answer questions for residents of New York and New Jersey regarding creditor harassment claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA); credit reporting errors under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); debt collection defense/credit card defense; student loan law; and consumer class actions. I can also answer questions relating to consumer debt defense/collection agency defense, specifically pertaining to consumers being sued or harassed by collection agencies or NY collection attorneys. If you live in New York and have been contacted or sued by firms such as: Mel Harris & Associates, Forster & Garbus, Rubin & Rothman, Choi Law Office, Lacy Katzen, Malen & Associates, Solomon & Solomon, Daniels & Norelli, Cohen & Slamowitz, Pressler & Pressler or others; give us a call at (716) 566-8988.

Experience

I have obtained settlements for consumers in NY and NJ under the FDCPA and FCRA. I have successfully defended consumers who were sued by collection agencies/debt purchasers in the New York State courts.

Organizations
National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) Law Offices of Jason Shear Consumer Attorneys 3957 Main Street, Second Floor Buffalo, New York 14226 (716) 566-8988

Education/Credentials
BA/BS, Accounting & Political Science, Hunter College. Juris Doctor, Univ. at Buffalo Law School. LLM (Criminal Law), University at Buffalo.

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