Can I go to jail for not returning merchandise from a rental contract if I tried to return it but they said it was too late?

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Can I go to jail for not returning merchandise from a rental contract if I tried to return it but they said it was too late?

I am being harassed by a collection company regarding a musical instrument that I rented for my daughter years ago. I paid on the instrument for 2 years and when she was going to no longer play the instrument I thought it was returned by the school. However, after being contacted by these people I found out it was not. They say that they can put me in jail for theft. I called the original creditor who stated that they had written it off as a bad debt and would not accept the merchandise back at this point and that I must deal with the collection company who is rude and uncooperative. Can I go to jail for this? What can I do stop these calls and protect myself?

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You need to realize that the calls that the third party debt collection company is making to you seem to be an unfair debt collection practice. One cannot threaten a criminal proceeding to obtain an advantage in a civil matter. You cannot go to jail for the unpaid debt.

I would write the third party debt collection company stating that it is engaging in unfair debt collection practices under federal and state law requesting no further contact. Keep a copy for future reference. If you keep getting contact by the debt collection company, you should consult with an attorney who practices debt collection law about your situation.


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