What You Should Know About A Summons 


  1. Before a summons can be delivered to you, the creditor or the debt collector representing them, must first issue you with a Summons section 129 letter or sometimes referred to as a Letter of Demand. This is normally delivered by registered mail. So do not ignore registered mail slips delivered to you. You only have ten days in which to respond to this letter. We advise that you collect it as soon as possible and contact the sender.
  2. Relax And No Need To StressThe Sheriff will not just arrive unexpectedly and start attaching your goods. There are legal processes and procedures that must be followed. You can also not get arrested for the debt that you owe, even if there is a judgement against your name. But you can be sequestrated, liquidated, or have an emoluments attachment order placed against your salary, often known as a “garnishee”. Any assets that you own could be attached. But you can be arrested if you are summoned to appear in court and you ignore that court order. You could, therefore, be arrested for contempt of court, but not for the debt.
  3. What To Do -When you receive the summons, seek legal advice, and defend the matter as soon as possible. If you follow the steps below to defend yourself, there should be no problem. Remember, a summons is part of the normal debt collecting summons 3 procedures that creditors follow to recover the debt owing to them, if the debtor does not cooperate and pay the monies due by him or her. Seen from the creditor’s viewpoint, it is only fair that they try and recover their money, and this is how the law assists them.
  4. The Process
    As mentioned above, you should already have received a letter of demand/section 129 letter for the debt by the time a summons arrives. The summons is sent to you because you ignored or failed to respond to their letter for payment.
    1. A Section 129 or a Letter of Demand must first be sent to you by the creditor. This is sent if you fail to respond to their requests for payment and/or ignore their calls and correspondence. You are given 10 working days within which to either pay the debt, make an arrangement to pay or to defend the matter.
    2. A Summons will be issued after a period of 10 days as stated in the Letter of Demand/Section 129 letter.
    3. The Summons also allows you 10 working days to defend the matter.
    4. If you ignore the summons and do not defend it, a default Judgement will more than likely be granted by the court against you. Once the Judgement has been issued, the Sheriff will be entitled to attach any movable assets that you might have in your name. The judgement, once issued, will be recorded on your credit record and remain there for five years. But the judgement remains in force for thirty years. This means that the debt cannot prescribe in that time and the creditor can pursue their claim at any time during the 30-year period.
  5. Important
    It is not always easy or even possible to settle one’s debt. If it were, you would not have received the Summons. What is important though, is to respond to the Summons immediately and not ignore it.
  6. Plan of action
    1. Consult an Attorney and obtain full and proper advice regarding your position and your options. Be careful though, as not all attorneys are fully acquainted with debt collection. If they were, no one would likely lose a case. Make sure that the one you consult has experience and knowledge of debt collection matters.                summons 2
    2. Defend the matter – irrespective of whether you agree with the outstanding balance or the account or not.
    3. If you are of the opinion that the Summons is incorrect or that you do not owe the money, which often happens, dispute it. When disputing the debt follow the correct legal process. Any competent attorney will be able to do this.  
    4. If you do owe the money and cannot settle, arrange with the Creditor to pay it off based on what you can afford. The courts are mostly sympathetic to consumers who are over-indebted these days. It is advisable to have the agreement in writing signed by both parties.
    5. Once you have settled your account, ensure that you receive a settlement letter from the creditor or debt collector. If the debt is recorded on the credit bureaus, send the credit bureaus the settlement letter to have the listing removed.

Receiving a Summons can be stressful and scary, but if handled correctly it need not be. In fact, it is possible that the whole case can be turned around in your favour.

If you need assistance with a summons you are welcome to contact us for free advice or assistance with your debt.

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and accordingly strive to protect your interests, no matter how small.

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