Papers Labeled “Summons” and “Complaint” - What are These, and What Should I Do?

If you receive any papers with the words “summons” or “complaint” on them, do not ignore them. These are papers starting a lawsuit against you. If it's about money you owe, the papers should also say “CONSUMER CREDIT TRANSACTION” in bold letters at the top.

If you receive these papers, you must go to court and file an “Answer.” The law has time limits to do this. If someone handed you the papers in person, you usually have 20 days. If they were given to another person in your house, if they came by mail, or if they were attached to your door, you usually have 30 days to respond.

Was this information helpful?

Last Reviewed: May 25, 2023