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Consumer Credit Website Weighs In On Return Of 'Debtors Prison' For Non-Paying Borrowers

CHICAGO, Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Can you go to jail for not paying what you owe? Due to a legal loophole being taken advantage of by debt collectors, in some States you most certainly can. That is the warning that has been issued by bad credit services authority The website is calling for the practice to be ended immediately, declaring it a "trick being used that flies against the spirit of justice and law in the U.S."

"Creditors are taking advantage of a trick of law to squeeze money out of debtors," stated Ariel Pryor, site representative, adding, "pay-or-appear orders ignore the circumstances of the borrowers and it is outrageous that such tactics are being resorted to by creditors."

According to the website, victims are issued a court summons for an asset examination, if and when the debtor fails to appear, lawyers apply for a "body attachment" and a warrant to be issued for the arrest of the borrower. Upon arrest, bond is typically set at the amount owed to the creditor and the debtor can either pay or be held in jail until the date of their appointed hearing.

"Even used as a last resort, the jailing of borrowers in default is a perversion of American justice," stated Mr. Pryor.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, more than one-third of States allow for non-paying borrowers to be jailed, with more than 5,000 judge-signed warrants being issued since the start of 2010.

"This is a practice we cannot allow to grow. Hard-working Americans deserve better than a return to financial practices common in centuries past. The squeeze being put on the very families most in financial need is unconscionable," added Mr. Pryor.

Illinois passed " The Debtor's Rights Act of 2012" in an effort to curb the manipulation of the court system by requiring two "pay or appear" notices to be issued before an arrest warrant can be issued. 

According to, it only applies to Illinois residents and doesn't protect the consumer enough, and they only see the practice growing if something isn't done to address the issue on a national level. At this time the FTC fair debt collection practices act outlines a number of unfair collecting practices including harassment, and non-judicial threats.

"It is vital to remember that people who have run into financial hardship, who have a bad FICO score or have fallen behind on their repayments, are still deserving of being treated with dignity and respect," added Mr. Pryor.

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