Debtors' Prisons Don't Exist, Nor Are They Returning

MINNEAPOLIS, April 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ACA International, representing the credit and collections industry, reiterates that while there are shared concerns related to arrest warrants it disagrees with comparisons to the return of 'debtor prisons' as alleged in sensationalistic media coverage.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101018/ACALOGO)

Following is a statement from Patrick Morris, CEO of ACA International.

"To claim that debt collectors are manipulating our judiciary system for their exclusive benefit is simply wrong and runs counter to judicial independence. 

Third-party debt collectors are hired to assist in the recovery of unpaid accounts from consumers that have acquired, but not paid for, goods and services. Typically, lawsuits by debt collectors against consumers are an action of last resort.  If, after several attempts to communicate, the collection efforts fail through the inability to reach a consumer or lack of cooperation, the owner of the account may seek a court's help to adjudicate disputes, determine the proper amount owed and enforce payment.

ACA members follow state law and do not advocate for, nor can they cause, a consumer to be arrested or jailed for an outstanding debt. Like any other civil court case, only a judge, at his or her sole discretion, can issue an arrest warrant that calls for jail time; and only when an individual has been ruled to be in contempt of court for failing to respond to a court order.

The Illinois Collectors Association has met with Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office on this topic and is not opposing proposed legislation in the state. We want to work with policymakers, regulators, courts and attorneys general to identify practical solutions for improving communication so that disputes can be resolved without the need of judicial action.   

The work of debt collectors is vitally important to the national and state economies through the recovery of $54.9 billion in unpaid debt to businesses, government and non-profits. Its impact is also felt as the provider of more than 148,000 jobs; as a taxpayer contributing our fair share to local, state and national governments; and $85.2 million and 650,000 hours assisting charitable organizations in our communities."

ACA International is the comprehensive, knowledge-based resource for success in the credit and collection industry.  Founded in 1939, ACA brings together more than 5,000 members in the United States and abroad, and their employees, including third-party collection agencies, asset buyers, attorneys, creditors and vendor affiliates.  ACA establishes a wide variety of products, services and publications.  For more information on ACA, visit www.acainternational.org.   For more information about debt collection and consumer rights, please visit www.askdoctordebt.org.

Contact: Mark Schiffman, PR Director
Tel. (952) 259-2124 or schiffman@acainternational.org

SOURCE ACA International



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