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Didn't answer summons in time BUT so far no default judgement has been issued- help?


Jon Mohr
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We are in Georgia.

On June 2nd my wife was served a Summons from an attorney representing a credit card (discover). We did NOT respond in the 30 day time frame. (I know stupid, but we just learned this).

We called the Magistrate's office today (7/28/11) and they stated that a default judgement has not been ordered. I then asked if we could still answer the summons at this point (since we are past the 30 days) and the clerk said we could, BUT it was up to the judges discretion if he would allow it. She also suggested I should try calling the plaintiff and talk/work out a settlement with them.

What should we do?!? This is for a balance of over $8500, which we of course do not have the funds to pay.

We have tried to negotiate with the attorney in the past and the best they say they will do is $5200. Still I cannot afford that! They seem to not budge from that figure at all and I'm typically a good negotiator.

1. Should I file an answer now and hope that the judge allows it? How do I even answer this? And wouldn't I have to state a valid reason for answering the summons late.

The summons contains my wife name, the discover balance, then attached as exhibit A is a credit card statement from discover with the balance on it. I also want to point out that the summons itself had no court date or time filled out on it, that part of the form was blank.

2. Is there any strategy on getting the attorney to settle on something less than the $5200? They just seem hell bent on not negotiating below that amount.

I've read a lot of sites that say for a charged off credit card balance, we should be able to clear it for 25% or so. Should I write a letter with a $2500 cashiers check and state that if they deposit it, they are agreeing to accept that payment in full and cannot go after us for the difference?

Any advice on how we should proceed would be wonderful as we are trying to put our financial hardships behind us.

To whomever answers, thank you so much for your time.

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to seek counsel and only learned of the need to answer. so answer and file and mail CMRRR(certified mail return receipt requested) don't call them until after you file your answer it might remind them to file a default which would make it harder to vacate.

there are many examples here of answers to complaints. they won't negotiate further without leverage from you so find violations of the FDCPA for cross complaint.

You might not even owe that much discovery process may make it easier to leverage them.

Step 1 is to craft the answer check the courts website for forms for answer.

Like a fresh cut you have to staunch the bleeding first. unfortunately you have to deal with a little pressure.

here is a good link:Council of Magistrate Court Judges :: Forms and this: Judicial Branch of Georgia :: Self Help Resources :: Civil Cases also check the forums here for answer.

This will get your feet wet.

Edited by Seadragon
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Seadragon,

Thank you for the info... I of course have a couple of questions.

1. Is answering the summons stating "I was seeking council" a good enough reason/answer? (also you reference sending certified mail... my court has e-filing, does it matter which I do?)

2. When you state "so find violations of the FDCPA for cross complaint." First, what is FDCPA, second... when do I try and find these violations? When do I file a cross complaint?

Thank you again for the response. I'll file my answer today and also visit those links.

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Hey John

It's kinda amazing but my aunt is in the exact same situation but with an Amex bill. Let's keep in touch and let each other know how we solve the issue.

I'll pm you my email address.

So far we went ahead and directly contacted Zwicker and they are at their normal games. It does seem like even though she was late with her reply they are in no hurry to try to go to court.

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