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Question regarding summons

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Thanks in advance for any advice you can lend, here is my situation.

My wife and I currently reside in Washington state and recently my wife was served a summons by a law firm for outstanding credit card debt. We had previously received a letter from the same law firm and had sent them a request for validation of the debt but have not received a response as of yet.

The summons we received stated that a lawsuit had been started against her in the superior court in our county in Washington. It has not been filed yet, I checked the court's website.

If we do not want a default judgment entered against us, we are required to respond to the attorneys within 20 days.

My wife and I are in the process of putting together enough money to try to settle for 50-60% of the debt.

Also, this debt is within the SOL but I believe is coming close to the three year mark in our state, so that is why we are being served these papers.

We would like to respond to this summons in time so a default judgment is not entered against us and then possibly work with the collection agency.

I have looked over this page:


Which talks about sending in a response letter and offers a sample letter.

My question is, if we send this response letter in, and then we need to go to court, will using this letter result in negative consequences and complicate matters if we need to hire an attorney?

We had previously hired an attorney to deal with a settlement offer to another collection agency and the attorney charged us $500. I'm unsure if this is a standard rate, but we would prefer not to pay this again if we don't have to and instead put it towards a settlement offer.

Thanks again for any advice that you can offer.

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