Debt collectors can sometimes use the court’s contempt powers to enforce their debts. Even though “Debtors’ Prison” were outlawed in the 1830s, in the ultimate form of bullying people collectors can actually have consumers put in jail under some circumstances. Here is how it works:

  1. Debt collector files a lawsuit against you. You ignore the summons and complaint and the collector subsequently gets a judgment against you.
  2. Debt collector issues a subpoena for you to appear in court for a creditors examination. This is where you are required to testify about your assets so the debtor collector can take them. (Although you must be served with a subpoena in order for it to effective, sometimes debt collectors don’t always follow the law. A famous lawyer in Michigan was caught, several years ago, filing bogus proofs of service.)
  3. You ignore the subpoena like you ignored the summons and complaint.
  4. You get stopped for a traffic violation and the nice officer informs you that he must take you to jail because there is a warrant for your arrest.

Our neighbor to the west, Illinois, recently passed a bill, the Debtor’s Rights Act of 2012 that is designed to prevent people who don’t pay their debts from going to prison. No more collectors manipulating the court system to scare people, and no more predatory collection practices. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan had tough words on her website for aggressive debt collectors:

“Creditors have been manipulating the court system to extract money from the unemployed, veterans, even seniors who rely solely on their benefits to get by each month. Too many people have been thrown in jail simply because they’re too poor to pay their debts. We cannot allow these illegal abuses to continue.”

We wholeheartedly agree here at Michigan Consumer Credit Lawyers. Consumers have laws to protect them. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA allows consumers to hire lawyers who can sue debt collectors for violating the law. These lawsuits cost you nothing.

We fight the debt collectors that wish to harass and intimidate consumers, and we do it all for FREE. We make them stop the harassing calls immediately and get you paid for damages. The consumer walks away with a measure of justice and a check from the debt collector.

If you have been victimized by a debt collector or have items on your credit report that are incorrect, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin for a free consultation at (888) 293-2882. For more information about your credit rights as a consumer, visit our blog at Visit our website at for informative, how to videos on consumer financial protection.