I would guess that I meet with at least two people daily here in my Arizona consumer law practice who tell me that they know a process server has been coming by the house but they have been avoiding him and the lawsuit they know the process server is bringing with him. I even have people ask for advice on how to avoid a process server.
Here is the thing…you shouldn’t try and avoid a process server, particularly here in Arizona.
One Way or Another They Will Get You Served
Once a debt collection lawsuit is filed with the court under Arizona law the debt collector has 120 days to serve you with a copy of the summons and the complaint. Service of the lawsuit is accomplished when a process server brings a copy of the summons and complaint to your residence and leaves a copy with you or someone who looks responsible at your house.
If they come to your house and you don’t open the door or generally try and avoid the process server eventually they will report back to the court that they have made multiple attempts to serve you but they either can’t catch you at home or they believe you are trying to avoid them.
The debt collector can then ask the court to allow them to serve through an alternative method. In the past here in Arizona this was often done through publishing a copy of the complaint and summons in a newspaper with local circulation. This was known as service via publication.
However, with the demise of most newspapers most Arizona courts are now requiring the debt collector to tape a copy of the lawsuit to your door and then to send you a copy via certified mail.
Once the debt collector accomplishes these two steps the clock starts ticking for you to file a written response to the debt collector’s allegations in the complaint.
If you don’t file a written Answer a default judgment will be entered against you and the debt collector will get everything that they are asking for.
It is Better to Face the Debt Collector Head On
If you were able to actually avoid a lawsuit by avoiding the service process it might make some sense to try and avoid them. However, because you will be served one way or the other my recommendation is to accept service of the documents as soon as you can. This will give you adequate time to speak with a consumer attorney and put together a strategy on how to deal with the debt problem.
Sometimes it will makes sense to fight back against the debt collector, sometimes debt settlement is an option, and sometimes you need to just pull the plug and file for bankruptcy.
Regardless of which option is best for your situation if you accept service of the lawsuit you can make a decision before the debt collector has a judgment – because once they get a judgment the power shifts tremendously to the debt collector as they can then garnishment your wages and take money out of your bank account.
Schedule a Free Consultation!
John Skiba, Esq.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your debt problem and help you put together a game plan to eliminate your debt once and for all. Give us a call at (480) 420-4028