Has a creditor threatened you with jail if you don’t pay them? FDCPA says this is illegal!
October 6, 2011 Leave a comment
Has a creditor threatened you with jail for non-payment of a monetary debt? This is most probably illegal according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Collectors often harass and threaten debtors with all sorts of things that they have no right to threaten. They will often threaten jailing you if you don’t pay today! A person just contacted me with this problem and the client was threatened by a creditor to have police show up at their work and arrest them if they did not pay today! And this creditor did not even file a lawsuit yet!
This is clearly illegal! With no lawsuit filed there is no judgment and with no judgment no legal right to collect on this debt. This creditor would have to first obtain this judgment which would give them the right to collect but in California there is no going to jail for owing strictly monetary debts. And to threaten that police will show up at someone’s work and arrest them when they cannot is a violation of FDCPA section 807(4).
In that section it clearly states that an implication that non-payment will result in arrest or imprisonment unless that action is legal and intended by the party is a violation of this law. In my client’s case there is no arresting or jailing someone for owning monetary debts so this threat was a violation of the law. If my client could prove it then we could win damages against this collector. I told this person to tell the collector that they were recording the call next time and see how fast he hangs up.
Section 807(5) restates this and says that any threat to take any action that is not legal or intended is a violation of the FDCPA. So this collector violated this section too. My question is can we get this guy to say this clearly into the microphone so we can replay it for the judge?
So don’t take any crap off of these creditors. I hate to hear these stories and I answer these e-mails immediately. We live in a great country where we pride ourselves in our freedom but if these collectors can violate the law with impunity then it threatens all of us.
In a previous blog I discussed how these collectors by far receive the greatest number of complaints to the Federal Trade Commission. They routinely harass, threaten, bother and annoy people and they are now routinely violating the law I believe. So know your rights and don’t allow them to bamboozle you.
I am an attorney who practices bankruptcy law in California. For more information please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com . Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015. Call now for free credit report and analysis!
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