By Sanette Viljoen
It often happens that somebody receives telephone calls, letters, reminders and even summonses for somebody else’s debt. Sometimes it is the result of previous owners who lived at your address, or of a person who mistakenly gave your cell phone number, or it could be due to identity theft.
The first step would be to let the debt collectors or the attorneys know that they are contacting the wrong address or person. It is also important to provide these attorneys or debt collectors with proof that they are wrong. For intstance, send them your lease to confirm that you are the new resident at that address and that the debtor no longer lives there.
Should the sheriff try to serve such a faulty summons on you, you must refuse to accept it and tell the sheriff in clear terms and even show him that you are the wrong person. A summons can also be served by means of attachment where the sheriff leaves the summons at your gate or front door. You will then have to contact the attorney and confirm that they have the wrong address.
The situation could also be the other way around and judgement could have been obtained against you but the summons was never served on you. In this case you will have to bear the cost and frustration of having to see an attorney to have that judgement set aside on the basis that you never received the summons and that it was served at the wrong address. If you have repeatedly notified the other party of your new address an confirmed that you did not receive the communication or court documents and those attorneys simply keep on serving the documents at the wrong address, you can ask the court for an order as to costs.