Can an internet payday loan company really charge you with check fraud?

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Can an internet payday loan company really charge you with check fraud?

I tried explaining to the company that I couldn’t pay because my wallet had been stolen. He was rude and threatened I’d be hearing from their legal department. I received a phone call from someone claiming to be in their attorney group. She said that I had 30 days to pay or else I would be charged with intention to pay, fraud and check fraud. This was an internet payday loan. No check was given to them from me. Can they really press such charged against me?

Asked on July 22, 2011 Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

People don't go to jail for owing money. Debtor's prison went out about the time Dickens. A person who has borrowed money cannot be threatened with criminal action for non-payment, unless they had committed a fraud of some sort in obtaining the money. That would be a crime. For example, if you took out a loan with no intention to repay it (and if a creditor makes that claim they would have to prove it). Absent that, neither a debt collector or creditor may threaten you with imprisonment or even the possibility of criminal charges. 

The fact is that these empty threats are made all of the time. If such threats are made, you could actually bring suit against them.  Additionally, they can not harass or otherwise intimidate, etc.  It's the law. However, this doesn't mean that you don't owe the money.  In setting up a re-payment plan just be careful in just what information that you give them (especially banking information). 


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