Debt Collectors Threatening You With Jail Time? You Have a Claim Under the FDCPA

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits harassing and abusive conduct as well as false, deceptive, or misleading representations in connection with collection of a debt. If a debt collector is calling you and/or sending letters threatening that if you do not pay your debt, you could go to jail, you likely have a claim against the debt collector under the FDCPA.

A consumer recently came to The Langel Firm and complained that he was being harassed by a debt collector. Upon further investigation, it turned out that the debt collector was in fact harassing the consumer, and had violated several provisions of the FDCPA. The collector placed over 150 calls to the consumer over a six month period, and during these calls, the collector often threatened the consumer that if he did not pay, he could end up in jail. The collector even left messages with an unauthorized third party (another FDCPA violation) stating, "He needs to call us back … He has a debt that he needs to pay or he will go to jail." This is a classic false, deceptive, and misleading representation and you do not have to allow it. Call The Langel Firm if you've been threatened with jail time and explore the possibility of bringing a cause of action under the FDCPA.

The applicable subsections of the FDCPA (15 USC § 1962e - False or Misleading Representations) are as follows:

A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:

  • 15 USC § 1692e(4) - The representation or implication that nonpayment of any debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of any person or the seizure, garnishment, attachment, or sale of any property or wages of any person unless such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to take such action.
  • 15 USC § 1692e(5) - The threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken
  • 15 USC § 1692e(10) - The use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer
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