Being sued by a debt collector in Arizona is scary. You wonder, is this really happening to me? You don’t know what to do. But remember, it is not the end of the world. You can fight back.
Take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, and come up with a plan. Looking for help on line is a great start. Here are some ideas of how to begin dealing with this. You can also watch the video at the end of this post for more ideas.
What not to do
Can you avoid the debt collection lawsuit by avoiding service? Probably not. In Arizona, a process server can come to your house, and give the papers to someone that answers the door. If that person appears somewhat responsible, then you have been served.
Imagine if the process server gives the papers to your teenager who was texting and listening to music on their earbuds. They might then put them in the pile of papers on the kitchen counter with all the bills and other things that you don’t want to look at.
Just answer the door yourself, take the papers, and do what you need to do. (Including going through that pile of bills and papers at least once a week).
What to do if you have been sued by a debt collector in Arizona
You must do two very important things if you have been sued.
Write down the day that you were served papers
This is super important. When you get served papers, write down the date and time you were served the papers. Write it on the back of the Summons.
If you do not do this, you will forget the exact date. Hundreds of people have come to my office with their lawsuits, and they cannot remember the day they were served. Then we have to rush to file the answer, and hope we do not miss the deadline.
Every lawsuit has to be answered within a certain time. If you miss that deadline, a default judgment can be entered against you.
File an Answer at the courthouse within twenty days
In Arizona, you have to file an answer to your debt collection lawsuit within twenty days of being served.
Answering the lawsuit does not mean calling the courthouse, or faxing them some papers, or emailing something to the Clerk. You must actually file something in writing at the courthouse.
Here is a video made by John Skiba of the Skiba Law Group. John is an Arizona consumer protection attorney. In this video, he will give you some tips on how to handle being sued by a debt collector in Arizona.
If you have been sued by a debt collector, do not panic. Accept the papers, write down, the date that you were served, and file an answer with the Court.
By Steve Harton
Steve is a practicing attorney licensed in Wyoming, Florida and Utah.