It is unfortunate, but I find this to be a fairly common question among my clients. It is unfortunate because debt collectors feed this misinformation or deception or plain outright lies to these poor individuals before they come in to see me and I ultimately put them at ease. It is unfortunate that they have spent many a sleepless night worrying about this issue. But, the answer is of course a resounding “No”.
Collection agents frequently advise clients that if they do not pay their debts then they will have them thrown in jail. The practice of putting people in jail for not paying private debts was done away with in the 1800’s. There are no longer “Debtor Prisons” in the United States as they are now illegal. It is also illegal for collection agents to tell you that they can have you thrown in jail. It is a violation of the FDCPA and my partner, Ron Sykstus, has written many a fine blog about this issue.
Many people find it difficult to make their debt payments whether it be for credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, payday loans, home, or cars. If the situation becomes too difficult most people will only pay the things that are the most important to them. When this starts to happen creditors will start calling if they fall into the other category. After the creditor has tried to call and still not received payment, they will likely refer your case to a collection agency. Collection agents often tell all kinds of lies to people in the hopes of trying to collect payment for their debts. The common, but as I said above illegal, threat is that the person could be thrown in jail.
After calling with no result, the collection agency might file a lawsuit. If you are served with a lawsuit, you need to contact our Bond and Botes attorneys at this point as it is very likely you can win this lawsuit. But, a lot of people who receive a lawsuit unfortunately procrastinate and do not respond or come to see us immediately. Many people even fail to attend the court date which will result in a default judgment being entered against you. Even if you do not attend this hearing you still will not be thrown in jail.
So if you think you are remotely in danger of having a lawsuit filed against you, head it off at the pass and please call us at Bond & Botes immediately at one of our affiliated offices. We offer free initial consultations. Please feel free to call one of our conveniently located offices to set up a private consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We will analyze your situation and help you to make the best decision possible to help you eliminate your debt once and for all.
Grant McNutt is a Managing Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Florence and Haleyville, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. He has been practicing Consumer Bankruptcy Law since 1999.Read his full bio here.