How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in California


Fight your lawsuit here:
(Generate your Answer, we’ll have an attorney review it, and even mail it for you.)

***How to Answer a Summons Debt Collection in California***

Deadline is 30 days
You have 30 days AFTER the date you are served to file a response with the court. The 30 days include weekend days and court holidays. If the last day falls on a day that the court is closed, you have until the next day that the court is open.

If you were served by substituted service, meaning the summons and complaint were given to someone else in your household or place of work, and another copy was mailed to you, you have 40 days from the date of the mailing to file your response. BUT before you count on these extra 10 days, make sure the plaintiff’s proof of service says you were substitute served and not personally served.

Steps to respond
1. Create your Answer document to the summons.
Respond to each paragraph

2. Assert your affirmative defenses.
You do not owe the money
Statute of limitations
Statute of Limitations in California

State California
Oral: 2
Written: 4
Promissory: 4
Open: 4
Credit Card: 4
Judgments: 10

3. File your Answer with the Court and mail a copy to the other party.
Include fee
Court addresses are listed on your summons

Pay the fee
CA Fee Schedule
Over $25k, fee is $435
$10k-$25k, fee is $370
Up to $10k, fee is $225
Small claims, fee is $181

There are 3 ways to qualify for a fee waiver:
If you are receiving public benefits, like Medi-Cal, Food Stamps (CalFresh), Cal-Works, General Assistance, SSI, SSP, Tribal TANF, IHHS or CAPI;
If your household income, before taxes, is less than the amounts listed on Form FW-001 in item 5b; OR
If the court finds that you do not have enough income to pay for your household’s basic needs AND the court fees.
Fee Waiver: (Form FW-001) (Spanish)
If granted, you won’t have to pay fees.
It can be granted with or without a hearing.

Use us to generate your response to the Complaint. Seriously, we’ll file for you and even have an attorney review the document:

50 State Guide on How To Answer a Summons for Debt Collection:

Looking for even more ways to stick it to the man? Listen to our Justice for All playlist on Spotify:



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Comments: 30
  1. Rynan

    How do you know if a complaint is verified?

  2. Tahlua G

    I am considering the Premium package, but the attorney only reads over the response doc and will not help me any further then that. I just want to make sure. I was served last Saturday 10/16/2021 at 7 pm. I am worried.

  3. Poop!

    So I received these same papers and just want to pay it off. Can I just call the collectors or do I still have to go to court. It’s for $800.

  4. Va K

    Awesome! 👏

  5. SoCal Adventure Rider

    i was served with a summons for a credit card debt that i owe by a law firm representing capitol one. i owe this money and i spent it, is it too late to settle with this law firm? do i have to respond to the court or can i call the collectors?

  6. Latino G

    i got a call saying im being sued by a credit card company,but havent got served? how can i find out what courthouse????

  7. Rafael Meza

    I answered a debt suit, in 11/20 which was filed in 9/21/20, I havent heard anything from the collector since. How long does the collector have to follow up on the case? I was a Ca

  8. J. No

    Is the whole "if you are never served" (avoid being served etc) you can't be sued thing true in CA? What are the methods they can serve you, does it have to be in person?

  9. Vicki Kirk

    When my server person mails the attorney my "Answer", does it have to be the one stamped in color from the court or just a black and white stamped? I'm still waiting on the court to return my document (my "answer") after it was filed. They put it on the court website Case Information though, but the stamp is in black and white. Can I just print that one out and have it sent to the attorney? I need to get moving on this. Does it need to be sent certified mail?

  10. WLA21323

    I used your service printed my “answer” mailed it to the court along with the fee plus 1 to the person suing me I received a response from the court in 4 days and have a court case next year that’s here in California too

  11. Leonard JG

    Im filing in CA with Solosuit. Cant get any communication with anybody.

  12. Aina Elias

    What happens when the person who received the service summon is my 11 year old child and on that paper there was no proof of service (be it personal nor substitute? Is the service summon valid?

  13. anthony pelayo

    Have you ever filed a motion to Private Arbitration for clients before?

  14. teresa virgen

    If my 30 days are up in 1 week. And I chose solo suit to file my response. How long will you take to send it to the court?

  15. Milo Ma'alona

    Do you guys offer arbitration? Also if I pay the $39 to have you guys file would I still have to pay the filling fee?

  16. Loren Asaeli

    What is the average fee for a lawyer to handle a debt collection lawsuit?

  17. Will K

    Quick question. I haven't been sued yet. I requested for a validation letter and got an intent to sue letter with a vague validation of the debt. What are my options here? Do I send them another letter requesting for debt validation again?

  18. Tyler Marton

    Buy a good mic… it will increase your subscribers and increase the time a person watches your video.

  19. Kaleb Mulisha

    What if the credit card company has not worked with you with fraud charges and you tried to get them to help for over 2 years and now due to me not paying and now going to collection. If I have no income due to health and have zero bank accounts and on government assistance in California. But own my home paid in full grant deed in hand can they sue you for your home? Since they can't garnish any wadges due to not working?

  20. Chris Dutcher

    Listening to you is not painful, it is pleasure! Terrific speaker! You have given us a path to much much less stress, thanks again!

  21. Chris Dutcher

    Thank You!

  22. Chris Dutcher

    Very Good Information! We qualify for the Fee Wavier!

  23. Vick Nazarian

    Thank you for your video it was very helpful, unfortunately I’ve received a summons for one of my credit cards collection today but it’s surprised me that the date of court is already past due it was supposed to be October 6 of 2020 but now the date I’m writing this post which the date that I received the summons is October 23 of 2020 any idea what am I supposed to do?

  24. K T

    If you haven't filed a c7 bk case but plan to file soon, do you still need to Answer the Summon? If you do, would a Motion to Stay is the correct choice? Does Solosuit help with filing Motion to Stay too? Thanks

  25. Leatherlace71

    I am a bit confused – if one uses SoloSuit signing up for the premium package and qualifies for a fee waiver, does SoloSuit include this in the paperwork they submit to the court? Also, does SoloSuit send copies to the plantif's attorney or no?

  26. Robert Jones

    What is going to happen? I am in the state of CA and received a summons to appear in court for credit card debt. I didn't file within 30 days and received the summons in October of 2019. My court date is in October of this year and I owe $5000. I work 2 part time jobs and make 34,000 a year. What is going to happen? I do not have the money. Will they garnish my wages? Do you have any advice for me?

  27. Luis Quirarte

    What does the 15.00 fee do?

  28. Luis Quirarte

    What would you respond if you do owe money ? Lack of knowledge or not agree? I mean if you agree that pretty much means you lost right?

  29. Timeless Hour

    What do we do after we send the Answers?

  30. Jane Dope

    What if you would rather file a motion to dismiss or quash

    If you want to dismiss the case… you shouldn’t file an answer before you file the motion right?

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