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Advice about Civil Summons on Credit Card Debt

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Daniel Cohen
UpdatedJun 12, 2024
Key Takeaways:
  • Review all your options for resolving debt, before you file for bankruptcy.
  • Speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, to see if you qualify for bankruptcy.
  • Make sure to understand if your bankruptcy discharges your debt obligations or if you must repay them.

I was served a civil summons recently for non payment of a credit card, if I file for bankruptcy, will it be revoked?

I was served a Civil Summons from the District court for a credit card that we quit paying on due to our finances. This is not the only credit card we had to quit paying on. My husband was laid off and I just had a baby. By the time we got on our feet our minimum payments were ridiculous. My question is If we filed bankruptcy, would the summons be revoked?

If you file for bankruptcy, then all ongoing cases against you will be put on hold. It does not mean that the summons will be revoked; rather it will be put on hold till the bankruptcy court determines if you qualify for chapter 7 or chapter 13. If you qualify for chapter 7, then in all likelihood, this debt will be dismissed along with the other qualifying debts. If you qualify for a chapter 13, even then, the court will decide on the payment terms for that debt. I will discuss more regarding bankruptcy in just a moment. offers advice on how to file for bankruptcy if you chose to take that route.

Quick tip

Concerned about what is appearing on your credit report now? Check your credit report today and get a free score instantly.

Before you decide to file for bankruptcy, I encourage to speak to one of's approved debt help providers, to see what your available options are.

Types of Bankruptcy

There are two basic types of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also called a liquidation bankruptcy, a bankruptcy trustee will examine your assets, and if you have any assets which are not exempt, sell those non-exempt assets to repay your creditors. Once your non-exempt assets have been sold to pay your creditors, all remaining unsecured debts will be discharged by the bankruptcy court.

Many people who file for Chapter 7 protection are able to keep all of their property because they have no non-exempt property. Each state has its own schedule of exempt assets, so you should consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney in your state to find out if Chapter 7 is a workable solution for your situation. An attorney will also be able to tell you if you qualify to file Chapter 7 under the new guidelines enacted by Congress in 2005.

You mention in your question that you may lose your home in bankruptcy, so it sounds like Chapter 7 was the bankruptcy chapter you discussed with your attorney. There is an alternative, though, in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also called a "wage-earner’s bankruptcy", allows you to propose a plan to repay creditors over time, usually five years. Your monthly payment amount will be based on your monthly disposable income as defined by the bankruptcy code.

After you have made payments to your creditors for five years, any remaining unsecured debts will be discharged. Chapter 13 is commonly used by debtors whose assets exceed the exemptions offered by state law. It is also used by many consumer debtors who do not qualify for Chapter 7 relief under the means test, which went into effect in 2005 with the Bankruptcy Reform Act.

Consult with an attorney to find out if bankruptcy will benefit your financial situation. Read more about bankruptcy at the Bankruptcy Information page.

I hope you will be able to resolve your financial problems without the need to file bankruptcy.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.



Debt statistics

If you are struggling with debt, you are not alone. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Quarter Q1 2024 was $17.69 trillion. Student loan debt was $1.60 trillion and credit card debt was $1.12 trillion.

According to data gathered by from a sample of credit reports, about 26% of people in the US have some kind of debt in collections. The median debt in collections is $1,739. Student loans and auto loans are common types of debt. Of people holding student debt, approximately 8% had student loans in collections. The national Auto/Retail debt delinquency rate was 4%.

Each state has its rate of delinquency and share of debts in collections. For example, in Vermont credit card delinquency rate was 2%, and the median credit card debt was $389.

Avoiding collections isn’t always possible. A sudden loss of employment, death in the family, or sickness can lead to financial hardship. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with debt including an aggressive payment plan, debt consolidation loan, or a negotiated settlement.



JJohn, Mar, 2012
What are the charges and the consequences if u r unable to pay the credit card payments which was past due more than 4-5 years old.
BBill, Mar, 2012
The article Collections Advice answers your question. It contains links to other resources if you want to drill down deeper into the collections process and consumer liability for delinquent accounts.
RRocky, Mar, 2012
Thanks for the prompt reply, i would like to know.. i don't have any job neither any assets nor any mortgage and no bank account...have no money not even penny to pay to collectors ..what will be the worst collectors can do?
BBill, Mar, 2012
You can still be sued. A judgment can be entered against you. A lien can be filed. If you start working, your wages could be garnished. If you open a bank account, it could be levied. You could receive collection calls and letters. You can't be thrown into jail for having a debt.

So, the worst that can happen right now, based on your description of your income and assets, is that you could receive calls and letters that increasingly become more aggressive. If you feel you are being harassed, read up on your rights under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.
JJohn, Mar, 2012
I am in the same boat and the agency who is summoning me waited until a few months prior to the SOL expiring for credit card debt. I haven't worked, nor own anything nor have a bank account, for 6 years now. Sort of funny they can crawl up every orifice I have to get summons on me but can't tell that I have nothing to give them? Irony at its best.Wonder what they will do when they come up with nothing to seize or garnish?What happens when the 7.5 years lapses for the bad credit debt on my credit report and they have a judgment on me?
BBill, Mar, 2012
Think of a credit report as a specialized newspaper. Just because an event does not appear in a newspaper does not mean the event did not occur. Let me put this another way: A credit report is not a legal ledger containing a person's complete list of legal and financial obligations. Sometimes a credit report will contain erroneous information about a debt the person does not owe. Other times a credit report will not contain a large debt the creditor never got around to reporting. Therefore, do not consider a credit report for anything other than it was intended — a tool used for potential creditors to make a guess about a consumer's creditworthiness.

Judgments appear on a credit report for 7½ years from the date the judgment was entered, or the length of the judgment, whichever is longer.

The fact a judgment ages-off a credit report has no relevance to whether it may be used to start a wage garnishment, account levy, or lien.
RRocky, Mar, 2012
Thanks for your update..i hv gone thru all the phone calls as well the letters from the creditors so i don't worry about all this...the last payment i hv paid in December 2008 to my credit card. I m in Oklahoma n heard that the statute of limitation for open account in Oklahoma is 3 years..n if its true then in my case the statue of limitation is already expired..would you please enlighten me little more what I can do best for this.
BBill, Mar, 2012
RRockyh, Mar, 2012
What is the purpose of this letter? I m gettin letters sometimes but this time i hv received the summon letter and the debt collector submitted petition after 3yrs of my last payment. Do you think i should mention that the statue of limitation has expired ??
BBill, Mar, 2012
Sending the creditors a cease-communication letter will cause them to stop communicating with you about the debts. Consumers have a right to be left alone by collections agents under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, a federal law.

The statute of limitations question is a non-issue. Why? A statute of limitations for debt is an affirmative defense used in court. A statute of limitations is not a bar to private collections activities. By private collections activities, I mean calling the debtor on the telephone, sending the debtor letters, and so on. If a creditor filed an action against a debtor, and the state statute of limitations had passed, the debtor/defendant could raise the statute of limitations as a defense. He or she would say something like, "All of what the plaintiff says may be true, but because the plaintiff filed its action after the statute of limitations for this type of contract expired, I ask the court to dismiss this case." The court will look at the dates, and if the defendant/debtor is accurate, the court will dismiss the case.

In some states, such as Wisconsin and Mississippi, the state statute of limitations also prevents an original creditor or collection agent from collecting the debt when the statute of limitations expires. You mentioned Oklahoma, which does not have the expanded rules for its statute of limitations. Therefore, unless the collection agent(s) file a lawsuit against you in Oklahoma, discussing the expired statute of limitations with the collection agents is not helpful.