If you don’t pay your bills, there is a small chance that after skirting your lender for awhile you may go to jail.
Debtors prisons have been illegal in the United States since 1833. However, new-age debt collection thuggery is allowing creditors to get creative when trying to wring money out of you.
In many cases, they will attempt to collect on a debt for a long time. Eventually, they will sue you. If you don’t appear in court, then of course, a warrant is issued for your arrest. That’s where the whole “indirect comeback” is in serving time for debt. It’s not the actual debt that lands you in the slammer, but rather a failure to respond to the court summons.
The practice is backhanded, of course. But what’s even crazier is that some states still allow debt collection companies to harass debtors at this level. Judges don’t know how to fairly protect people in court (i.e., what practices are legal or not, etc.). In some jurisdictions, though, they are allowed to seek your arrest specifically for outstanding debt. The trend is that some states are doing whatever they want, despite federal mandates.
And these aren’t five and six-figure payouts the debt collection companies are always going for. Some of the bills, according to an NPR article, are under $1,000. In some cases, the bail money goes toward the debt.
Ain’t this some sh*t?!
This is why I’m trying to get myself on the path to completely debt-free living. Having unknown warrants out for your arrest over an outstanding medical bill is NOT a good look ever! These collection companies have one goal in mind only and that is to MAKE MONEY!