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2 Bumps

Go to prison for unpaid bank fees?

In 2005 my husband opened a bank account and we deposited our tax refund check. We went to the coast for the weekend and when we got back received a letter stating that we owed tons of overdraft fees cause we used the money before it hard posted. Got a call from a lawyer today saying that we owe $1,800 and if not paid my husband can go to prison. We argued with the bank when it happened and closed out our account and never heard about it again until now. The lawyer says that they sent numerous letters, but in honesty we never got any. Anyone know of the laws regarding this and if he can REALLY go to prison? We dont have 1,800 to pay right now so my hubby is freaking out. We did not know we could not use the money and think it's unfair of the bank to stick us with all those charges, but yes I know- it's the government.


Asked by Anonymous at 8:40 PM on Nov. 18, 2010 in Money & Work

This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • They can't do anything but sue you, and they will probably win, so you don't want it to get there, if I were you I would personally go to the bank and speak to a supervisor and have him explain how this came about and after you understand it and are satisfied, then talk about payments, but don't give up easily, they do make mistakes and they are often in their favor, good luck.

    Answer by older at 9:00 PM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • You need to contact a lawyer. This is pretty serious and I would hate to try to give you the wrong advice.

    Answer by beyondhopes at 8:43 PM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • My husband is a lawyer, he is telling me that there is no way you can go to prison for this. What will happen is that other banks won't let you open an account with them until this is paid or cleared up, good luck!

    Answer by older at 8:46 PM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • yeah he probably could, one of my girlfriends got arrested of unpaid library late fees

    Answer by leksismommy at 8:44 PM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • Whether you knew you could use the money or not, the bank has policies in place that they do not hide. It is given to you in your "Terms and Conditions" booklet at the time of opening an account. As well as some have it on their website, in pamphlets, etc. They do not hide these terms for the exact purpose of being able to stick you with costs if they need to. With that said, they are in full right to charge you for overdraft fees if infact you did overdraw the money. Whether you withdrew too much or it wasn't hard posted they still can charge you with those fees. Whether fair or not, that is their legal right to state what can be charged as a fee and in what circumstances.

    Now, with anything that goes unpaid you have the possibility of being charged and going to jail. Whether it's unpaid medical bills, unpaid parking tickets, or anything else of that nature. They can arrest you if you choose not to comply.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 8:45 PM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • If the information about their fees are posted for public viewing, whether you've read about it or not, they are in full compliance with the law to charge you. Now that you have been charged and have refused to pay (Whether intending to or not) they can charge you with a crime. Now what that crime is in particular is up to the judge, but you can serve jail time. You need to contact a lawyer, whether court appointed or otherwise, and get to know what your legal rights are. Maybe call the bank and see if you're able to set up a payment system, etc. Whether they sent those letters out or not the case was never fully closed, and by ignoring it and not varifying it was cancled, you have an obligation to the bank to pay. They don't have to harrass you to pay, but you do have an obligation to pay unless otherwise stated by the bank.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 8:48 PM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • I'd speak to a lawyer if I were you. But honestly, I don't think any judge is going to send you to prison over this. But then again, I'm not a lawyer myself, so don't listen to me, lol.

    Answer by LovingSAHMommy at 8:51 PM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • You can be sued, and the only way charges will be filed against you is if they have proof of fraud.

    Answer by older at 8:53 PM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • OLDER-

    We did not do any fraud or purposely go against the banks policy. We have a checking account now and nothing has ever been said about this past one. We are finding it strange that it's brought up all of a sudden. Does your husband know if they can suspend license or anything like that? We can pay payments but not 1.800 at once.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 8:56 PM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • I wouldn't even talk to the Lawyer on a telephone. Make sure you get everything in writing. VERIFY that he is indeed a lawyer for the BANK and not for a COLLECTION AGENCY. VERY IMPORTANT. And until you know who exactly you're dealing with, DON'T admit that you owe any money... Cover your ass, and document everything that's happened from when the "Lawyer" first contacted you.

    It is becoming very common for Collection Agencies to purchase old debts from banks and then go after the person for the amount plus interest.

    Good Luck!

    Answer by GoodyBrook at 9:04 PM on Nov. 18, 2010