Debt Collection FAQs

What Should I Do if I Received a Summons & Complaint From a Debt Collector?

Don’t ignore it!

If you receive a Summons & Complaint for a consumer credit transaction, a lawsuit has been initiated against you in Supreme Court for unpaid debts.

You only have 20 to 30 days (including weekends and holidays) to formally answer the Summons, depending on how you were served:

  • 20 days if the Summons was personally delivered to you by hand; or
  • 30 days if the Summons was delivered in any other way, such as mail.

How to best respond, depends on the facts of your case. You can either:

For more information about your options, please reference the following websites:

What Happens if I Don’t Respond?

If you don’t respond to the Summons & Complaint, the Plaintiff will likely place a lien against you in the form of a default judgment.

The default judgment gives the plaintiff the right to collect on the amount owed, plus interest and court costs.

Money judgments are enforceable in New York State for 20 years and will show up on your credit report for up to 7 years.

The lien will be filed against your name in the Broome County Clerk’s Office and will likely prevent you from buying or selling property or getting personal loans until the debt is fully satisfied.

What Steps Can a Creditor Take To Satisfy a Judgment?

Usually, they’ll file an Income Execution to garnish your wages until the debt is fully satisfied. 

For more info, visit

How Do I File an Answer?

For instructions on how to file an answer, please visit

Answer Form:

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Starting a Consumer Credit Transaction?

The Statute of Limitations for starting a debt collection case is usually 6 years from the last payment you made.

If you make a payment on an old debt, the statute of limitations starts anew.

How Can I View All the Documents Filed in This Credit Action?

Visit our website at

  • Search Records as Guest
  • Search for your name in the Party 1 field (Ex. Smith Paulette).
    • Last First
  • Click the “View” button on the left-hand side to view the case.

What Happens After I Pay the Judgment?

After you’ve paid the judgment in full, the creditor (Plaintiff) must file a Satisfaction of Judgment with the Broome County Clerk’s Office.

This removes the lien from your name.