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

Sep 25, 2012, 16:22 ET from ACA International

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ACA International, representing the credit and collections industry, disavows the notion that "debtors' prisons" are returning to America as alleged. Following is a statement from ACA International Chef Executive Officer Pat Morris:  


"The claim that debtors' prisons are returning or that debt collectors are manipulating America's judiciary system for their exclusive benefit is simply wrong and runs counter to judicial independence. 

Third-party debt collectors are hired as a service provider to assist in the recovery of unpaid consumer accounts in which they 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.

Debt recovery is one of the heaviest regulated industries in America, governed by federal, state and local laws.  ACA members do not advocate for, nor can they cause, a consumer to be arrested or jailed for an outstanding debt because a consumer in jail does not further the ability of a debt collector to recover a rightfully owed debt. Like any other civil court case, only a judge, at their sole discretion, can issue an arrest warrant that calls for jail time; and only when an individual has been ruled by a judge to be in contempt of court for failing to respond to a court order.

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 $55 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 million and 650,000 hours assisting charitable organizations in our communities.

Consumers with questions about their rights when contacted by a debt collector have a resource in, which was created to provide reliable information."

ACA International ( is the comprehensive, knowledge-based resource for success in the credit and collection industry.  Founded in 1939, ACA brings together nearly 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. 

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

SOURCE ACA International