An Overland Park, Kansas, man ended up more than $2,200 in debt and threatened with arrest after a single speeding ticket. David Jackson's original fine was for just $175.
The government hired a third-party debt collection firm, Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP to handle Jackson's case. Jackson explained he couldn't pay the fine and needed to go to court.
After he missed a court date, Linebarger sent Jackson a letter saying there was an active warrant for his arrest -- and on top of that $175 speeding ticket, Linebarger added a fingerprint fee, DNA fee, jail fee, warrant fee and collection fee, bringing Jackson's total debt to more than $2,200.
Jackson's attorney told our partners at KSHB: "If he doesn't have the ability to pay a $200 fine, and you're doing everything you can to prevent him from paying the fine, you're not running a municipality that's collecting speeding tickets; you're running a debtors prison."
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is designed to protect consumers from "abusive" debt collection practices. That includes outlawing the threat of arrest for nonpayment of bills.
According to KSHB, that act doesn't apply to government third-party collection agencies.
Overland Park told KSHB it ended its relationship with Linebarger in 2012. It has since determined Jackson couldn't pay his fine, so it eventually waived his debt.
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