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You have been served a Plaintiff’s Claim in the Small Claims Court.  You admit that you owe the money or part of the amount, but due to the current economy, money is tight right now and you need time to pay it off.  So, what do you do?

  1. Get the Defence form from the Rules of the Small Claims Court Forms webpage.
  2. Fill out the form.
  3. Propose the terms of payment.
  4. File the Defence and pay the Court filing fee.

When you are filling out the form, you have three options:

  1. Dispute the claim made against you;
  2. Admit the full claim and propose an amount to be paid by installments; or
  3. Admit to part of the claim and propose an amount not in dispute to be paid by installments.

The most important thing that you need to do is discuss your situation with a Licensed Paralegal or a Lawyer to consider all of your options.  Sometimes, debts are statute barred, and the creditor has waited too long to collect.  Even if you don’t dispute any part of the claim made against you, you should get independent legal advice to help you frame the proposal in terms most favourable to you.  Those terms should include a letter from the Plaintiff after the last payment to the credit reporting agencies stating that the debt has been paid in full.

If you admit to the full claim, the Plaintiff has 20 days to consider your Defence/Offer.  They may dispute the terms of payment.  If that’s the case, they will request a terms of payment hearing from the Clerk of the Small Claims Court.  On the other hand, if the Plaintiff agrees to the terms set out in the Defence, then those terms act as though as if it were a court order, as set out in Rule 9.03 of the Rules of the Small Claims Court.  What that means is that if you miss a payment, the Plaintiff can get a Default Judgment against you for the amount remaining.

If you have been served with a Plaintiff’s Claim, and you’re unsure as to how you want to handle it, give me a call or send me an e-mail, and set up your appointment today.