If you do not show up in court, you will lose the case and be responsible for the debt. You cannot be jailed for not paying a debt. The worst case scenario is that your wages or you bank account will be garnished after the court enters a judgment against you.
If you have any defenses and do not show up, you waive them. The statute of limitations for judgments is much longer. If the plaintiff is a debt collector, you can beat the debt by making them prove that they have a right to come after you.
Jail time is not a punishment for civil suits.
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Agreed they cannot throw you in jail for owing money. If you don't show up they will get a default judgment against you for the amount in the lawsuit. They can go after wages or other assets once they have a judgment. If they do whats called a citation to discover assets in Illinois you should show up for that as a judge could issue a bench warrant for failure to appear. When it says you must appear you have too. If it says you may appear then it is not mandatory.
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GE Money Bank is very unlikely to be the Plaintiff in this case. It is most likely a debt purchaser such as Asset Acceptance, CACH LLC, Gault Financial, Portfolio Recovery, Midland Funding, etc., that is the assignee of GE Money Bank; i.e., the debt purchaser bought it from GE Money.
These matters can be defended and there is the potential for counter-claims as well. However, yes, you must appear or a default will be rendered against you. You will not go to jail, but wage garnishment, bank levy, and attachment to real and personal property can happen.
You would be right minded to consult with a consumer protection attorney that is used to the General Sessions Courts of our state.
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Nashville, Tennessee 37221
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No jail. Not for a civil debt. If the Bill Collector threatens you with jail, you probably have a good claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
But you need a lawyer, or this thing will haunt you for a long time.
If you go to court yourself I am more than 90% sure GE Money will get a judgment against you just because you aren't familiar with how to defend yourself.
I suggest hiring Attorney Matthew Duggin in Knoxville. (865) 357-9988.
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