Can I be arrested for not paying a debt?

It is a phone call that has struck fear into the hearts of unsuspecting people in New Jersey and across the country. The person on the other end of the line informs you that a warrant for your arrest will be issued if you do not immediately make a payment on an outstanding debt. However, you may have doubts about such a statement. Is the debt collector telling the truth?

If you are receiving collection calls that seem overly threatening or abusive, they may be violating your consumer rights, as Experian explains. In fact, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you and other consumers from misleading, false and abusive practices that collectors have been known to use. The following tactics are prohibited during attempts to collect a debt:

  • Saying you will go to jail or making physical threats
  • Using obscene language
  • Harassing you with incessant phone calls
  • Falsely claiming to be a member of law enforcement, an attorney or a government agent
  • Misrepresenting the amount you owe or to whom you owe

If in doubt, you have the right to ask for the caller’s name and company he or she works for, the exact amount you owe and the creditor in question. You can request by mail that the phone calls stop, as well as direct the creditor to discuss the debt only with your attorney. Dealing with debt collectors, stopping creditor harassment and negotiating payments may be difficult. Therefore, this blog is intended to educate you but should not replace the advice of a lawyer.

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