Will I Go to Jail for Not Paying My Credit Card Debt? | Summary and Q&A

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January 31, 2017
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Consumer Warrior
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Will I Go to Jail for Not Paying My Credit Card Debt?

TL;DR

Debtors cannot go to jail for unpaid debts, except in rare cases such as contempt of court or evasion of taxes.

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Key Insights

  • πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Debtors cannot go to jail for unpaid debts in the United States due to the abolition of debtors prisons.
  • πŸ˜’ Debt collectors frequently use false threats of arrest to intimidate debtors into paying.
  • πŸš• The only situations that may result in legal consequences for unpaid debts are contempt of court for failing to attend a judgment debtors exam and tax evasion.
  • ❓ Threatening to arrest or jail someone for not paying debts is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
  • πŸ› If a debt collector falsely threatens arrest, the debtor may have grounds to file a claim under the FDCPA.

Transcript

hey everybody it's John Skiba from the consumer warrior project I'm also an attorney at the Arizona Consumer Law Group in Mesa Arizona and on today's video I wanted to touch on a question that I get on a surprisingly regular basis and the concern by a lot of people is that if they do not pay their debts particularly their credit card debts that the... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Can I go to jail for not paying credit card debts?

No, debtors cannot be jailed for unpaid credit card debts, as debtors prisons were abolished in the US in 1833.

Q: Can debt collectors legally threaten to have me arrested if I don't pay?

No, it is illegal for debt collectors to threaten arrest or jail time as a means of collecting debts. Such actions violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Q: When can I face legal trouble for not paying my debts?

If a credit card company sues you and obtains a judgment, you may be required to attend a judgment debtors exam to disclose your assets. Failure to comply with a court order can result in a civil arrest warrant.

Q: Are there any other circumstances where I could go to jail for debts?

In rare cases, deliberately evading taxes or not paying them can be considered a crime and may lead to jail time.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Many people worry about going to jail for not paying their debts, but debtors prisons were outlawed in the United States a long time ago.

  • Debt collectors often falsely threaten jail time to pressure people into paying their debts.

  • In the US, debtors typically only face legal consequences if they ignore court orders or deliberately evade taxes.

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