Can you be arrested for not paying a title loan?

Quick Answer No, you can't be arrested for not paying a title loan. Not repaying a title loan is a civil matter, not a criminal one. So, while a lender may be able to take legal action to recover the amount owed, they can't have you arrested for non-payment of a title loan.

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Tobi Opeyemi Amure Answer updated on Jun 26, 2023

Fact checked by Doreen Dumesle

No, you can't be arrested for simply not paying a title loan.

However, if you're dodging your lender's calls and making repossession difficult, legal issues may arise. Let's delve deeper. 🧐

A car title loan uses your car's title as collateral. So, when you default, a lender can legally repossess your vehicle. It's their way to recover losses. So, you might lose your vehicle; however, you won't face jail time.

Learn: What happens if you don't pay a title loan back?

But, things can take a bad turn if your lender can't find your car or is unable to reach you.

If your lender suspects that you're intentionally evading, they might turn to the law — which could mean lengthy legal proceedings and a judgement against you. Be aware, a judgement might result in wage garnishments or liens being put on other properties you own.[1]

Even in this escalated scenario, we're talking about civil proceedings. These are not criminal. However, ignoring court orders could result in serious problems. So, if things get legal, ensure you don’t miss any court proceedings — as that DOES HAVE the power to land you in jail in certain states.[2]

Learn: How late can you be on a title loan payment?

But, again, merely failing to pay a title loan? You can rest assured that you'll remain free as a bird. In fact, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits lenders from threatening you with arrests if you default on a title loan.[3]

My advice? If you can't make payments, be proactive. Communicate with your lender as they might be willing to reconfigure your payment plan, and help you avoid losing your vehicle or going to court.

Learn: Can you file bankruptcy on a title loan?

Also, as tempting as it may be to borrow as much as a lender is willing to offer you, always remember to borrow with caution and don't overextend yourself financially. It's better to be safe than sorry.

  1. Can a debt collector garnish my bank account or my wages? ↩︎

  2. Failure to Appear in Court ↩︎

  3. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ↩︎

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