Collections Law/Court Summons

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Question
Hello, My friend was served a summons with a court date , this was from a collection agency, it doesn`t say who the orginal creditor is.
I have not seen the summons, my friend is bringing it over tomorrow to see if I can be of any help.
This is what I think my friend needs to do, get his credit reports and see if he can find who the orginal creditor is and when last payment was made. SOL here in NH is 3 years from last date of payment.  If the SOL is passed , does my friend go to court with the credit report showing the SOL is passed?   And also , online I found info about filing an answer before the court date?  My friend says it doesn`t say that , but my friend sometimes does not read correctly, he has a hard time understanding and if I was not prepared to help him , he would go to court and set up a repayment plan, no matter what the SOL is. This happened to him in the past,  he went and had no defense planned and the debt collector won the judgement, Back to this present summons, what would you recommend?   It is too late to ask for debt validation I believe, but we need to find who the orginal creditor is and last payment .....So hopefully the credit report will say orginal creditor but also I have seen some reports that only have the collection agency listed, so how would we find out the orginal creditor?
And lastly, if the summons says to reply or something similiar, do we have to do anything? Can`t we just show up on the court date?
Thank you

Answer
Hello Steve:

If the SOL is passed , does my friend go to court with the credit report showing the SOL is passed?   

Limitations is an affirmative defense Ė and if the statute has already run, showing the credit report to indicate the last date of activity on the account may be satisfactory proof.   However, just showing up in court with the credit report may not work.   There is a procedure to follow in order to ensure that the case is dismissed and the claim is fully and finally resolved.    Chances are a judge is not going to pay a  whole lot of attention to the credit report evidence unless it is presented in accordance with the courtís rules.



And also , online I found info about filing an answer before the court date?  My friend says it doesnt say that , but my friend sometimes does not read correctly, he has a hard time understanding and if I was not prepared to help him , he would go to court and set up a repayment plan, no matter what the SOL is.

Whether an answer has to be filed or not depends on what court the complaint was filed in.  For example, in small claims cases (or whatever your state calls small cases) sometimes they just have you served with a complaint and then you show up.    That doesnít mean you canít file an answer, and then file a motion to dismiss, but your friend saying that the summons doesnít require him to file an answer is consistent with what a small claims summons would require.    

This happened to him in the past,  he went and had no defense planned and the debt collector won the judgment, Back to this present summons, what would you recommend?   It is too late to ask for debt validation I believe, but we need to find who the original creditor is and last payment .....So hopefully the credit report will say original creditor but also I have seen some reports that only have the collection agency listed, so how would we find out the original creditor?  And lastly, if the summons says to reply or something similar, do we have to do anything?

This is a real concern, because if you donít do anything, they will get a default judgment.   Also, even if it is a small claims action, and he does show up without having specific facts about the original creditor, I know itís not fair, but there is a real chance the judge will rule against him on the spot by simply stating that there was a valid assignment of the debt to the collection agency.    Most of these small claims judges are very, very much on the side of the creditors and collection agencies.


Cant we just show up on the court date?

Depends on what the court date is for.   Is it for trial, is it a status conference,   what is it?   You just donít give enough facts about what the summons says.

How do you find out the original creditor?   The credit report is a good idea.     There is a way that he or you can pull his credit report right now and figure this out and it will not cost you anything to do so.     

This would probably be easier to talk about on the telephone.    You can call me right now if you want.   I will not charge you just to talk on the phone.  

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