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  1. #1
    frustrasted Guest

    Question

    A couple of years ago I was very deliquent in credit card payments. One card in particular would not work with me. They sent my account to a collection agency.It has since then gone to 2 other collection agencies and now to an attorney. In the fall I received a court summons--from the attorney with a court date (the letter came in the mail, as regular mail) It was sent to a home we own in Mass which I am no longer a legal resident of. I currently live in Florida. The other day I received another letter from the Hampden Sheriffs Office that says I have a court date this Jan and if I fail to show they have a warrant for my arrest. This too was not sent via special mail instructions. Came as regular mail. I am not in Mass and will not be during the court date. Is this a valid summons? Can they in fact arrest me? What are my rights if any? Waht do suggest I do? Please help. I was under the impression the credit card company had written me off as a bad debt.
  2. #2
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Without even discussing the propriety of the summons notification, you need to understand the terms used in the credit business.

    The fact that the creditor has 'written off' the debt does not mean that you no longer owe it. It is a 'financial' term used to show that the debt is no longer 'performing'. When a debt is not paid, and there appears that it will continue to be unpaid, the creditor 'moves' the debt from the 'performing debt book' to the 'non-performance (write off) book'. it is purely an accounting term.

    The debt is still outstanding and unpaid. The creditor can directly pursue payment, or in most cases, will send the debt to an outside 'collection agent' for attempted recovery.

    Now, as to the summons service... some jurisdictions (and even only for some courts; ie: Small Claims) allow for 'alternate service' by mail if service is not available by 'normal' process. I am not sure if MA is one of those (or if this court allows it).

    You might consider contacting the court and talking with a clerk. (NOTE: I suggest that you ask in the form of a relative (son, father, wife, etc., since your contacting the court about a specific case could be deemed as acceptance by service). You can tell them that you received mail for the Defendant at your address and opened it. Ask if regular mail is considered proper service in that court (it probably is).

    Here is the problem that the Plaintiff will have.... he should have to convince the court that YOU were notified of the court setting. If not, then he can only get a default judgment' which CANNOT be transferred to your current state of residence.
  3. #3
    frustrasted Guest
    Thanks for your help. Will need to do some phone calling.

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