Until 1969 in California, if a plaintiff did not have a process server serve a summons and complaint on the defendant personally, there was no service at all.
After 1969, substitute service was allowed if a copy of the summons could not be delivered personally with reasonable diligence. Substitute service is customarily certified mail to the defendants street address (PO boxes are not allowed) plus first-class mail as well. If the street address of the defendant is unknown, then constructive service is allowed. Constructive service can be public notice (such as an ad in an area newspaper), posting a notice on the defendants property, registered mail, or some other notice "served in a manner which is reasonably calculated to give actual notice to the party to be served and that proof of such service be made as prescribed by the court."
A plaintiff in a California court must provide a document similar to SC 104, which is a sworn statement explaining to the court when, how, and to whom the complaint was served. Failure to do so, or falsifying a record of the service may result in a dismissal of the case or sanctions on the plaintiff's attorney.
For readers in other states, search your state government’s Web site to learn the civil procedure statutes appropriate for residents in your state. All states follow the same basic rule -- notice must be given to the defendant -- but the details of how this rule is implemented in each state vary.
Negotiating the Debt
See the Bills.com resource Debt Negotiation and Settlement Advice to learn tips and tactics for negotiating debt with collection agents.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.