Debt collectors cannot threaten to arrest you.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act makes no qualms about this rule, prohibiting “any representation that nonpayment of a debt will result in arrest or imprisonment.”  Collectors also may not threaten to seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property if they do not already have a judgment against you.

Despite this black-and-white rule, debt collectors commonly make these threats.  The Federal Trade Commission announced last week that it completed an enforcement action against the Vice-President of a debt collection company that routinely engages in this conduct.  The FTC’s lawsuit alleged that Commercial Recovery Systems claimed to be attorneys, associated with attorneys, threatened to call “the legal department,” or claimed that they were calling regarding “a legal matter pending.”  This type of conduct is illegal and, thanks to the FTC’s suit, this company has been banned from the debt collection business.  Here is the full release:

If you have been the victim of similar conduct, please call us to see if we can help.

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