Can i be arrested and charged with a crime for not paying on a payday loan?

Asked almost 5 years ago - Pittsburgh, PA

I am getting calls from collectors for payday loans that i owe. They tell me that a case is being charged against me and if i don't pay someone will be coming to arrest me. Is this true? can they have me arrested? Can they get me in trouble with my employer? I have been paying them back, but while i am paying them off, the water at my house has been turned off and my phone has been turned off, because all of my money is going to paying off payday loans. There were 2 payments scheduled to come out of my paycheck yesterday and they didn't come out and i don't know what to do, I know they will be calling me. At the same time since the money is in my bank I was thinkning of paying my water bill, so they can turn my water on. I have 3 kids at home and my mother and no water. CAN SOMEONE HELP?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Daniel Andrew Pallen

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Please understand that they under no circumstance can you be arrested for this. We do not have debtor's prisons anymore. Understand that creditors have been using increasingly reprehensible, immoral, and frightening tactics to force people into paying debts. If the payday company want their money, they must file a complaint in a Pennsylvania Magisterial District Court. Only after a full hearing on the matter can they obtain a judgment against you. Even then, you may have some defenses to paying the debt depending on the interest rate. I would suggest that you explain to the callers that you are aware that: (i) you cannot be arrested for failure to pay a debt; and (ii) the creditor must use the civil process to obtain and enforce a judgment.

    I would also suggest getting in touch with personnel or the help line with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking. I started out my legal career working there and know that they investigate unscrupulous collection practices and usurious loans: www.banking.state.pa.us Visit their site and find the 1800 help line to call.

    Good luck.

    Disclaimer: This response does not create an attorney/client privilege nor does this response constitute legal advice.

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