One of the causes of financial burden of a lot of Filipinos is their credit card bills. With the availability of various credit cards issued by banks and the convenience of “buy now, pay later” cashless purchase, a lot of Filipinos enjoy shopping using their credit cards. Without proper credit card usage, it can lead to huge credit card debts eventually having you as slave as you work for the rest of your life just to pay for it.
With a number of credit card bills left unpaid in the Philippines and the threatening practice of credit card debt collection agencies, the big question that leaves the minds of these credit card holders is:
Will I go to jail if I have credit card bills left unpaid?
The answer to this question is a big NO as the case involved is just a CIVIL CASE called SUM OF MONEY. This is what I learned upon my employment in an asset management firm before.
Banks usually get the services of debt collection agencies on a “no cure, no pay” basis. They are on a commission basis. That means, if they have not collected any amount, then they wouldn’t be paid for their services. That’s why you can see these agencies threaten you with demand letters and text messages ordering you to pay your credit card bills or else they will file a lawsuit against you and that they will put you to jail. Yes, they can file a case called SUM OF MONEY but this can not put you to jail even if you insisted not to pay for it.
What is RA 8484?
Some of these credit card collection agencies threaten to file a criminal case called Republic Act 8484. As long as you did not fake your identity in your credit card application, be calm. This is the case they can file if and only if you defraud your identity. Again, they can not put you into jail by merely not paying your credit card bills even if they send demand letters threatening you to pay for it. Remember that they are doing all they can do to force you to pay for it because their services are on a “no cure, no pay basis”.
Setback of Not Paying Your Credit Card Bills
Since you won’t be jailed by not paying your credit card bills, I am not encouraging you to just leave it unpaid because it will haunt you in the future. One of my readers before who is working as a manager had an unpaid credit card bills due to fraudulent purchases. She told me that the bank where she is working had a recent audit of the credit history of their employees. Her concern is her fear on losing her job as the company policy dictates that all managers and executives should be cleared from the list with bad credit history.
Aside from company policies whenever applicable, the bad thing about not paying credit card bills is that your name will be listed under the directory with bad credit history. This will give you a hard time securing any type of credit or loan in the future as the database is mostly shared by banks.
The best way you to take is to manage and discipline yourself in using your credit cards. Moreover, you should also secure your credit card against fraudulent transactions.
Unfair Debt Collection Practices
As a rule, banks, affiliate debt collection agencies, and debt counsels may resort to all reasonable and legally permissible means to collect amounts due them under the credit card agreement. However, in the exercise of their rights and performance of duties, they must observe good faith and reasonable conduct and refrain from engaging in unscrupulous or untoward acts. The following are considered unfair collection practices which are considered illegal according to BSP Circular 454 (Amendments to Provisions on Credit Cards)
a) The use or threat of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
b) The use of obscenities, insults, or profane language which amount to a criminal act or offense under applicable laws.
c) Disclosure of the names of credit cardholders who allegedly refuse to pay debts, with certain exceptions.
d) Threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken.
e) Communicating or threat to communicate to any person credit information which is known to be false, including failure to communicate that a debt is being disputed.
f) Any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a cardholder.
g) Making contact at unreasonable/inconvenient times or hours which shall be defined as contact before 6:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m., unless the account is past due for more than sixty (60) days or the cardholder has given express permission or said times are the only reasonable or convenient opportunities for contact.
If you are having problems paying off your credit card debts, here’s a good debt settlement plan from no other than Robert Kiyosaki, author of the famous Rich Dad Poor Dad book.