Yesterday, I received a summons and complaint from the Sheriff that was served by a local law firm on behalf of a collection agency. Here’s the thing, this summons was never actually filed with the court, and I’ve verified this with the court clerk. I need advice how to handle this situation.

This account is out of the SOL (6 years in my state), as they’ve only furnished me with a statement from 2003 - and the Date of Last Activity (DOAL) on my credit report lists 2002, but I want to get them off my back, and need to build a strong case if they do, for whatever reason, file an actual suit.

I’m not going to bore you with all the fine details, but sufficed to say, in 2002, I lost my job of 15+ years and fell behind on bills. Most creditors were willing to work with me, but not this account (for a credit card). It’s gone through four different collection agencies since, and after requesting validation of debt owed from each one - I would never hear from them again.

This specific collection agency “reportedly” bought the debt in 2008, and I first received communication from them through this same law firm in February 2009; a letter that simply stated that they had bought the account. I again sent a certified letter (within 30 days), to both the CA and law firm requesting verification of debt owed.

I heard nothing back until this week, when I suddenly received a statement from the law firm, dated 12/03. Yesterday, I was served the summons. Everything about the summons seemed odd - especially since the Sheriff told me that I didn’t have to file a response with the court, only to the law firm, and that the summons had no court date or case number on it. I called the court clerk today, and she told me that there is no record of a summons filed for me.

If you can help with any (or all), my questions are:

1. Is it illegal to send a summons, without filing it through the court?

2. Can a credit statement alone, with no actual proof that they even own the account, legally satisfy my validation request? If not, are they violating the Fair Debt Collection Act by continuing to collect and report after I sent a request for validation?

3. They stopped reporting on my credit report in September - the last month before 7 years passed - but when they were still reporting, they changed my “first” date of delinquency to 2008, despite that the DOAL still lists 2002 on my CR. Is this also against the law, since I haven’t made any payments since the DOAL, nor had any communication other than requesting validation.

4. Any other advice relevant to this situation.