what is a summons

The Difference between a Summons and a Demand Letter

DISCLAIMER: We are not lawyers and are not giving legal advice. We strongly recommend speaking to a professional attorney.

You’ve gotten a letter from your creditor. What action do you need to take? It depends on what type of letter you get. You may receive a demand letter or a summons letter. They are distinct, and each requires a different level of action.

Demand Letter Versus Summons Letter

A demand letter gives you formal notice that your creditor is considering legal action. It may come from an attorney or from the creditor. There will be a demand for action, such as repaying your debt. A demand letter will include a threat of legal action.

A summons letter comes from the court system. It is a formal notification that you are being sued in court. It will contain the name of the court, the case number, the parties involved, and what you must do. The summons letter will either be delivered by a law officer or by registered mail.

What is a Demand Letter?

You may receive a demand letter that looks something like this:

Letter of Demand Sample

Disclaimer: We are NOT LAWYERS and ARE NOT GIVING LEGAL ADVICE.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

You are protected from harassment by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Your state may also have a Fair Collections Practices Act that adds additional protections. Your demand letter, whether it comes from a lawyer or debt collection agency, must respect the FDCPA.  The federal law includes:

Debt collectors can NOT:

  • Charges more than 10% interest
  • Garnish more than 25% of wages
  • Use/threaten physical force or criminal tactics to harm you, your property, or your reputation
  • Accusing you of committing a crime for not paying the debt
  • Make/threaten to make defamatory statements to someone else
  • Threaten arrest, to seize assets, or garnish wages, unless actually planning to take such action
  • Use obscene or profane language
  • Cause you to spend money you wouldn’t otherwise have spent (ie long-distance telephone calls)
  • Call you repeatedly or let your phone ring repeatedly
  • Call frequently
  • Contact your employer, except to verify employment or health insurance status, garnish wages or locate you
  • Reveal information about debt to anyone except your spouse or your parents if a minor.
  • Publicly publish your name for failing to pay
  • Send a postcard or letter with revealing information on the envelope
  • Claim to be someone other than a debt collector, including a governmental official
  • Use stationary that appears to be from a law firm (unless they are)
  • Charge you collection or attorney’s fees unless legally allowable
  • Threaten to report you to a credit reporting agency if they have no intention of doing so
  • Send a letter claiming to come from a claim, credit, audit, or legal department unless it is

Debt collectors must:

  • Disclose caller identification
  • May contact your family to locate you
  • Must serve you with notice of a lawsuit if suing you

If you receive a letter that violates any of these, you may have a case to sue the collection agency. Make sure you keep a written record of all letters, emails, or phone calls. You may have to speak to an attorney in order to stop harassing behavior.

We are NOT LAWYERS and ARE NOT GIVING LEGAL ADVICE.

The Summons Letter

If you receive a letter delivered by a member of the sheriff’s office, or as a registered letter, it is a summons letter. You may be asking yourself what is a summons letter?

It will look very formal and make look like this:

Summons Letter Example

Disclaimer: We are NOT LAWYERS and ARE NOT GIVING LEGAL ADVICE.

References
https://www.thelegalseagull.com/write-great-demand-letter/
https://litigation.findlaw.com/filing-a-lawsuit/how-to-demand-payment-in-a-letter.html
https://www.thebalancesmb.com/what-to-do-if-you-receive-a-summons-or-a-subpoena-398483
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-to-do-when-you-receive-a-demand-letter.html
http://articledge.com/summons-response-template.html
https://www.sample-resignation-letters.com/writing-a-demand-letter-for-money-owed-with-sample.html
http://protectingconsumerrights.com/debt-collection-problems/debt-collection-lawsuits/
https://www.michaelmatthewssa.com/what-to-do-when-you-receive-a-summons-and-what-not-to-do/

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