Can I be arrested for not paying a bill?

UPDATED: Sep 7, 2011

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Can I be arrested for not paying a bill?

I called an adult phone service but was never billed on my credit card. Yesterday I got an invoice in the mail saying I owed $227. Now they called me today threatening that if I don’t pay in 24 hours that they are going have me arrested. I offered to pay them when I had the money and they just yelled at me saying I was committing fraud. When I called in they said I was pre-approved for service without even checking my credit card. When they called today they said I owed $400. I don’t know what to do? I’m just 19 year old that messed up.

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In all states in this country and under federal laws, there are statutes prohibiting unfair debt collection practices by creditors and third party collection companies. It is illegal throughout this country for a person or entity that is owed money to threaten a criminal action to gain an advanatage over a civil dispute.

This is what happened to you with the threat of being arrested if you did not pay what is owed for an adult phone service call.

If you actually made the call and agreed to what the charges would be, then you should pay what was agreed to and learn a lesson form this unfortunate episode. As far as worrying about being arrested for non-payment, don't. If you receive any future threatening calls fron a representative with the adult phone service, get his or her name, mailing address and telephone number and advise this person what he or she is doing is illegal and the reasons for it. When done, ask for that person's supervisor to speak with.

Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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