Many consumers I speak to believe this. But it is not true. Failure to pay a debt is a civil matter, not criminal. This is true even for pay day loans. If debt collectors threaten filing criminal charges if you don’t meet their demand for immediate payment, not only is the threat a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, but it is just not something that can happen; it is just a threat and intimidating tactic.
If you fail to pay a debt, you may be sued and, if you don’t defend, or lose the case, a judgment may be entered against you. That creates a judgment, a civil debt, still not a criminal offense not to pay.