...the number of people subject to third party collections has doubled since 2000, from a little less than 7% to a little over 14% of consumers. Ten years ago, one in fourteen American consumers were pursued by debt collectors. Today it’s one in seven.
One of the characteristics of the new social contract ushered in by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama is the increasing power of creditors to govern outright,...
There are now thousands of people legally jailed because they aren’t paying their bills, ie. debtor’s prisons have returned. [emphasis mine]
Federal imprisonment for unpaid debt has been illegal in the U.S. since 1833.
NPR reports that it’s becoming increasingly common for people to serve jail time as a result of their debt. Because of “sloppy, incomplete or even false documentation,” many borrowers facing jail time don’t even know they’re being sued by creditors:...
More than a third of all states now allow borrowers who don’t pay their bills to be jailed, even when debtor’s prisons have been explicitly banned by state constitutions. A report by the American Civil Liberties Union found that people were imprisoned even when the cost of doing so exceeded the amount of debt they owed.
Sean Matthews, a homeless New Orleans construction worker, was incarcerated for five months for $498 of legal debt, while his jail time cost the city six times that much. Some debtors are even forced to pay for their jail time themselves, adding to their financial troubles.
Stories of surprise arrests for unpaid debt have been reported in states including Indiana, Tennessee and Washington. In Kansas City, one man ended up in jail after missing only a furniture payment.[emphasis mine]
So glad I don't have that problem.