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Will unpaid debt (in collections) cause issues with CBP?

Will unpaid debt (in collections) cause issues with CBP?

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Old Feb 19, 19, 11:29 pm
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Will unpaid debt (in collections) cause issues with CBP?

I am a US Citizen with NEXUS (and thus GE). I am also currently the target of a debt collection -- the agency calls me daily but I've blocked their number. The creditor is the Department of Motor Vehicles in North Carolina. The debt is probably valid as I never returned my license plates, but I did cancel my NC liability insurance, when I left the state two years ago. Apparently NC fines you $50 if you cancel insurance prior to returning plates. In any case, I never received a bill, the debt collector doesn't have my current address, and NC can go pound sand.

Unless I receive any sort of written communication at my current address, I plan to take no action on this debt. It's not on any of my credit reports.

With that long backstory, a few simple questions. Does this have any bearing on my Trusted Traveler status? Will I run up against any hassle when I re-enter the country? Does the answer change if I re-enter through a North Carolinian port (CLT, RDU)?

Last edited by davie355; Feb 19, 19 at 11:37 pm
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Old Feb 19, 19, 11:45 pm
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Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
I am a US Citizen with NEXUS (and thus GE). I am also currently the target of a debt collection -- the agency calls me daily but I've blocked their number. The creditor is the Department of Motor Vehicles in North Carolina. The debt is probably valid as I never returned my license plates, but I did cancel my NC liability insurance, when I left the state two years ago. Apparently NC fines you $50 if you cancel insurance prior to returning plates. In any case, I never received a bill, the debt collector doesn't have my current address, and NC can go pound sand.

Unless I receive any sort of written communication at my current address, I plan to take no action on this debt. It's not on any of my credit reports.

With that long backstory, a few simple questions. Does this have any bearing on my Trusted Traveler status? Will I run up against any hassle when I re-enter the country? Does the answer change if I re-enter through a North Carolinian port (CLT, RDU)?
Unless they can issue a warrant, I doubt they can do anything. If they are hassling you daily, seems $50 isnít a very high amount to be rid of the uncertainty.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 6:12 am
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Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
I am a US Citizen with NEXUS (and thus GE). I am also currently the target of a debt collection -- the agency calls me daily but I've blocked their number. The creditor is the Department of Motor Vehicles in North Carolina. The debt is probably valid as I never returned my license plates, but I did cancel my NC liability insurance, when I left the state two years ago. Apparently NC fines you $50 if you cancel insurance prior to returning plates. In any case, I never received a bill, the debt collector doesn't have my current address, and NC can go pound sand.

Unless I receive any sort of written communication at my current address, I plan to take no action on this debt. It's not on any of my credit reports.

With that long backstory, a few simple questions. Does this have any bearing on my Trusted Traveler status? Will I run up against any hassle when I re-enter the country? Does the answer change if I re-enter through a North Carolinian port (CLT, RDU)?
Unless the debt to a state/local government institution also comes with an arrest warrant, CBP wonít do anything because of such a situation.

FWIW, even people owing more than $51,000 to the IRS and subject to debt collection actions for such are still generally able to get or keep alive GE/NEXUS status as long as their US passport is valid and they arenít the target of a warrant or court order restricting their mobility and/or passport holding.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 8:35 am
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No.

It would have to escalate to a court and warrant for us to be concerned with you. Even then, many warrants we see are "no extradite" to the state the person is wanted in.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 1:58 pm
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The fine is civil not criminal. CBP deals with criminal databases.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 2:24 pm
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Apparently NC doesn't suspend the individual's DL which some states do when there are unpaid fines (civil or criminal). That may have cascading impacts on many features such as GE, but the mere fact that you have a civil debt to what happens to be a state won't affect TTP.

I
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Old Feb 20, 19, 2:45 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyingUnderTheRadar View Post
The fine is civil not criminal. CBP deals with criminal databases.
CBP deals with more than just that, and even the use of TECS for civil enforcement purposes is part of the picture at times.

Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Apparently NC doesn't suspend the individual's DL which some states do when there are unpaid fines (civil or criminal). That may have cascading impacts on many features such as GE, but the mere fact that you have a civil debt to what happens to be a state won't affect TTP.

I
A suspension of a DL by itself has no general impact on GE status. That which may lead to a DL suspension may. But then for a situation like the OPís, it comes back to whether or not there is a warrant or court order in play; and when there isnít, CBP wonít do anything about this kind of thing. Much the same for a civil debt to the federal government, even if itís hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to the UST/IRS.

Last edited by GUWonder; Feb 20, 19 at 2:52 pm
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Old Feb 20, 19, 4:00 pm
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OP may want to do a bit of research before he is quite so cavalier.

NC law provides that cancelling insurance before returning plates is a violation of NC's statute requiring one to maintain continuous coverage. That is a class I misdemeanor crime.

It is entirely possible that the collections agency is chasing him for some fine he defaulted on but that there is a local warrant out (for which NC would seem unlikely to extradite).

This comes under the heading of tempting fate for no particular reason. I'd ship the plates back to the address listed on the website, pay the $50 and be done with it. Chances are that the collections company has authority to negotiate the $50 down if OP wants to waste more time.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 5:05 pm
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If the state has sold the debt to a collections agency the state has no right to collect the debt. OP may want to settle to limit credit score number lowering.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 6:01 pm
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How do you know that the state sold the debt.
1. The state could have a debt collector on contract to collect debts for the state.
2. The state could sell debt to collectors who in turn pocket what they collect.
3. The state could sell debt to investors who in turn hire collectors

No idea what North Carolina does.

None of the above has anything to do with a warrant which based on the misdemeanor, might or might not happen and is not something a debt collector ought to be involved in. If there is one, it's not as though NC is going to actually send people looking for OP. They just let those things sit on the books until the fugitive eventually gets stopped for something.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 9:44 pm
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Exclamation Moderator's Note: Topic Drift

Folks,

This thread is about whether unpaid debts cause issues with CBP.

While some natural deviation from the topic is perfectly fine, the mechanisms that states may use to collect unpaid obligations have absolutely nothing to do with Travel Safety/Security.

Future off-topic post will be summarily deleted without further notice.

Thank you for understanding,

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