acceptance of service

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Acceptance of service is defined as an agreement by the defendant (or the defendant's attorney) to accept papers or a complaint without having the papers served by a process server or a sheriff.  Acceptance of service is accomplished by signing a "receipt and acknowledgment of acceptance of service" (or similarly titled instrument).  This satisfies the notice requirement of due process.
This is a cost-reducing device adopted in many U.S. jurisdictions.  The defendant may refuse to accept service, but if so, the defendant will be liable for the costs of having the papers/complaint served

[Last updated in February of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]