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Did you know that you can get Jailed for debt?

It's not a crime to owe money, and debtors' prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely jailed for debt. "The law-enforcement system has unwittingly become a tool of the debt collectors," said Michael Kinkley, an attorney in Spokane, Washington (map), who has represented debtors. "The debt collectors are abusing the system and intimidating people, and law enforcement is going along with it."

Find national consumer debt statistics.

Arrests are taking place across the country, and collection companies are making huge profits.


Asked by gammie at 9:09 AM on Jul. 3, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 26 (28,613 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • Those bastards try to rip you off too. They charge people debt they dont even own! I was told I owed 1200 on a med bill that I never received one notice about. Had a debt collector call and say I owed this etc. I asked them to send me proof that I owed the debt. They said I needed to call the hospital. I did and they said they give all info to the debt collector and that if I owed money they wouldn't know about it. Yea went in circles for a month! They finally sent me a piece of paper with their company's header and below Total owed 1200 Total Paid 0. I laughed and called them... they threatened to sue me and I told them until they showed proof of the debt I owe they could kiss it. Haven't heard from them since!

    Answer by Crissy1213 at 3:30 PM on Jul. 3, 2010

  • Terrible thing to have on your record because now you have to put down on jobs applications if you've ever been arrested question.

    Answer by musicmom08 at 9:18 AM on Jul. 3, 2010

  • I read about the lady from Richfield in our Sunday paper,the Minneapolis Star Tribune and I was shocked! That is just disgusting to arrest IS like Debtors' Prison. How can we stop this?

    Answer by gertie41 at 9:19 AM on Jul. 3, 2010

  • Here is another story:
    Take Joy Uhlmeyer, who had been arrested while driving home to Richfield, Minn., after a visit with her mother. Uhlmeyer spent a night in a holding cell. Then, handcuffed in a squad car, she was taken to Minneapolis (map) for booking. Finally, after 16 hours in limbo, jail officials fingerprinted Uhlmeyer and explained her offense.

    got the stories from MSN

    Comment by gammie (original poster) at 9:11 AM on Jul. 3, 2010

  • Why don't they come get my almost ex-SIL then???

    Answer by MommyH2 at 9:28 AM on Jul. 3, 2010

  • actually it is illegal to do don't owe the person collecting the owe the company. the person collecting has only bought it from the company so really you don't "owe" them anything

    Answer by shay1130 at 9:34 AM on Jul. 3, 2010

  • That's bad

    Answer by mamaofficer at 10:32 AM on Jul. 3, 2010

  • I really am wondering about the legality of it...and everything I've found says it's not legal. Evidently when I was 22- so 11 years ago... i had my identity stolen. The person managed to get one small card opened in my name of about $300. I found out last year. With interest and fees, that debt is well over 2000.

    When I told the company I was disputing the debt, they told me I had to pay it, and then they would pay me back if I could prove it wasn't mine. Well, I know that's not true. so I told them to pound sand and blocked the number while I am working with the original company who gave out the card. The woman who called is mean and rude.
    I don't want to go to jail over this. The original company doesn't really care, because they sold the debt off already.

    Answer by lovinangels at 11:30 AM on Jul. 3, 2010

  • actually it is illegal to do don't owe the person collecting the owe the company. the person collecting has only bought it from the company so really you don't "owe" them anything

    Your mostly right. Collection companies don't buy the debt, the creditor sends it to a collection agency so they can try and collect off of it if they don't collect it is eventually sent back to the creditor.

    Answer by matthewscandi at 11:53 AM on Jul. 3, 2010

  • While your right you don't owe the collection agency you will either have to pay the collection agency or pay the creditor.

    Answer by matthewscandi at 11:56 AM on Jul. 3, 2010