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Old 27.07.2021, 10:33
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Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

Good Morning to all of you on the forum

I just rented a new apartment in Zurich and I had to pay 3 months deposit, plus the current month's rent, so over 7000 CHF in total. I am basically broke. This is my first month on my first job (fresh college grad), so no savings to cover expenses. I have enough money for food, and that's basically it. No wiggle room here.

I got a letter from the "Stadtrichteramt" that I owe them 430 CHF for a train ticket from 2 years ago that I forgot about. It is my due August 5th, and I don't get paid again for another month. So here's what I'm thinking:

I've heard that you can serve some time in jail to "pay" off a debt collection. I've spent some time in the Zurich drunk tank back when I was unemployed, so I'm familiar with the system. Solitary confinement sucks, but I'll suffer for a bit if it involves getting this debt collection paid off.

Does anyone know more about this? I'm heading to the Kreisburo now to gather some more intel. Cheers and thanks
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Old 27.07.2021, 10:39
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

I would call them or write them and *kindly* ask them if it's okay if you pay it when you receive your paycheck on such and such date. Explain your circumstances. I think that's much better than simply not paying it on time.

The boyfriend of a neighbor of mine did have to spend some time in jail due to not paying his debts (I think it was actually that he didn't pay the employees of a company he was running or something -- not sure). But basically, he had to spend every weekend in the jail for about 6 months or so. I guess it was only weekends so that he could more easily continue to work.
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Old 27.07.2021, 10:44
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

Not sure how it works in Zürich but I would doubt that serving time would pay a debt to a company or a person. Perhaps to pay a court fine, but not a debt.
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Old 27.07.2021, 10:50
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

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Good Morning to all of you on the forum
[...]
I'm sorry you are in this situation.
I don't have experience with how things are going around here but spending time in jail might very well mean that something like that is going to be on record and will haunt you for a long time (even reducing chances of getting a decent job years from now).
So this is why I would would definitely first try, as Pancakes said before me, to first to kindly tell them the whole story as you have here and give them a specific date when you can pay after you get your pay check (and it has to be a date you are sure of), maybe even sending them any proof of employment you have and your empty bank account.

Good luck!
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Old 27.07.2021, 10:58
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

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I'm sorry you are in this situation.
I don't have experience with how things are going around here but spending time in jail might very well mean that something like that is going to be on record and will haunt you for a long time (even reducing chances of getting a decent job years from now).
So this is why I would would definitely first try, as Pancakes said before me, to first to kindly tell them the whole story as you have here and give them a specific date when you can pay after you get your pay check (and it has to be a date you are sure of), maybe even sending them any proof of employment you have and your empty bank account.

Good luck!
The fine will go on the recored if the amount is high enough to be recorded.

I know the accountant at a company I worked for got a 6k fine or 2 days in prison option (Drunk Driving). He took the 2 days in prison & finalised the end of year accounts whilst there
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Old 27.07.2021, 10:59
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

Good advice given - besides having a mark on your history, wouldn't you also have to be worried about missing work with your new job? Making money right now to get out of financial trouble is most important. Good luck!
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Old 27.07.2021, 10:59
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

That’s just crazy!
You said in the other thread that you’re working in a bank.
1) something doesn’t add up in your story, banks check you out through and through
2) if you take the suggested route you could mess up your future.

You sound as if you really need a hand.

- switch your rent guarantee to swisscaution.ch pronto
- contact the debt collection and make a payment arrangement

- call your parents.
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Old 27.07.2021, 11:00
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

Stupid question, but do you have friends or family that can lend you 450 chf for 3 weeks? (you're fresh grad, surely you met someone at university)
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Old 27.07.2021, 11:11
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

Oooeee! The next improbable story from the new to Switzerland, American raised, banking top shot surprized by being called up by the army shortly after rocking up here “on a whim”. Perhaps noting your fictional CV/timeline and sticking to the script before posting BS might help.
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Old 27.07.2021, 11:25
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

If it wasn't for the criminal record record and risk of never being employed again it sounds like a pretty good option..

2 days in jail vs paying 6k .. I'd jump at the chance.

I'm sure many people would too and just not bother paying their taxes and take a couple of weeks in jail instead. Schedule two week holiday from work, get a break from kids, free food, meet some interesting people..

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Old 27.07.2021, 11:28
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

If you want to hide your identity as a silly troll, try not using a Pepe as an avatar next time. Mods , banhammer?
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Old 27.07.2021, 11:29
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

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Oooeee! The next improbable story from the new to Switzerland, American raised, banking top shot surprized by being called up by the army shortly after rocking up here “on a whim”. Perhaps noting your fictional CV/timeline and sticking to the script before posting BS might help.
You seem to have an issue with Americans - if you knew anything about us, you would know we are all petrified of jail.

Edit: Ah, now I see OP's post history - seems like a troll, no American wants to go to jail. (Even a cosy Swiss one)
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Old 27.07.2021, 11:31
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

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If it wasn't for the criminal record record and risk of never being employed again it sounds like a pretty good option..

2 days in jail vs paying 6k .. I'd jump at the chance.

I'm sure many people would too and just not bother paying their taxes and take a couple of weeks in jail instead. Schedule two week holiday from work, get a break from kids, free food, meet some interesting people..

The 6k fine is recorded in both cases, it gets removed after a few years from the Criminal Records print out. A smaller fine is not recorded at all

You even choose the date, same with his 3 month driving ban.
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Old 27.07.2021, 11:31
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

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You seem to have an issue with Americans - if you knew anything about us, you would know we are all petrified of jail.

Edit: Ah, now I see OP's post history - seems like a troll, no American wants to go to jail. (Even a cosy Swiss one)
The OP doesn't seem to be:
"I've heard that you can serve some time in jail to "pay" off a debt collection. I've spent some time in the Zurich drunk tank back when I was unemployed, so I'm familiar with the system. Solitary confinement sucks, but I'll suffer for a bit if it involves getting this debt collection paid off."
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Old 27.07.2021, 11:34
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

Not a troll, just a 24 y old kid.
A clueless one at that.
Call your parents
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Old 27.07.2021, 11:41
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

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Oooeee! The next improbable story from the new to Switzerland, American raised, banking top shot surprized by being called up by the army shortly after rocking up here “on a whim”. Perhaps noting your fictional CV/timeline and sticking to the script before posting BS might help.
Everything I've said thus far is true; why would I waste time on a Swiss forum if I wasn't seeking location-specific advice? Yes my life is kind of chaotic but I'm trying to sort things out as they're thrown at me. I don't have all the answers, but I'm seeking them out as we speak.

If you don't believe me and think I'm some LARPing bragger, keep coping buddy boyo. I start these threads to seek out some possible solutions for the problems that have arisen in my time here. Many people here have spent more time in Switzerland and have more experience than me. Lots of practical advice and wisdom to be absorbed. Live and learn.

When things settle down and I have more time on my hands, I'll begin contributing to other threads with what knowledge I have.
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Old 27.07.2021, 11:42
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

Ask your Swiss parent to help you to research this, and find a solution. Since you don't have a command of any local languages, you'll need linguistic support, which your Swiss parent can also, presumably, provide easily.
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Old 27.07.2021, 11:45
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

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The OP doesn't seem to be:
"I've heard that you can serve some time in jail to "pay" off a debt collection. I've spent some time in the Zurich drunk tank back when I was unemployed, so I'm familiar with the system. Solitary confinement sucks, but I'll suffer for a bit if it involves getting this debt collection paid off."
Drunk tank is a bit better - but yea, if OP is not a troll, he seems like a very sheltered kid.

OP, even if you are still somewhat sheltered by living in CH, jail is never good anywhere.
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Old 27.07.2021, 12:00
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

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OP, even if you are still somewhat sheltered by living in CH, jail is never good anywhere.
In CH you probably won't be locked in a room during the day, you will even be allowed to go to work & do your normal job if it's more than a couple of days.
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Old 27.07.2021, 12:01
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Re: Spending Time in Jail for Debt Collection

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Many people here have spent more time in Switzerland and have more experience than me. Lots of practical advice and wisdom to be absorbed. Live and learn.

Worth noting that many people in life will comment, with no knowledge at all. You'll see things claimed as fact on the board here, that are false sometimes. I don't believe people have bad intentions in life by-and-large; I think ego just has such an allure, that it's not always instinctive to be quiet and humble, and let others with an informed opinion guide (or to caveat bold assertions with "but I've no real clue at all, and am just guessing").


People don't often have the time or inclination to fact-check what they assert, I would say, where it might be possible to for eg read the respective legislation, and dramatic opinions and behaviour can be far more compelling, and result in far more attention, than advocating with dry pieces of info.



I observed someone I know give completely wrong directions recently (it ended up not mattering thankfully). I saw the person giving directions was fumbling. I asked when we were alone why they didn't just say they didn't know, and they said something akin to, it would feel like they were unhelpful, if they did that, they felt under pressure to have the right answer, and they wanted to be helpful.


For official advice, or advice that has a great significance legally, by all means ask if anyone has such an experience, but don't bank on it being truthful or accurate, and don't make decisions based on it, I would say. Seek in addition the guidance of the local voluntary org's that focus on the specific thing you'd like support with, or paid org's that can also guide legitimately.



Even if a person here has had 1 such experience, each of those types of org's will come across tens, if not hundreds, if not thousands, of such cases.
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