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Can Overdue Library Books Hurt My Credit Score?

Overdue Library Books and Your Credit Score

Did you hear about the woman in Beloit, Wisconsin who served six days of jail time for failing to return her library books? She was pulled over for something non-library related, but the police saw she had a warrant and arrested her. The library had issued three overdue notices and a following citation when she didn't respond to the notices, but the woman claimed she never got anything because she was in the middle of moving. This story got me thinking about what other effects overdue library books might have, like whether or not it could mess with your credit score. To find out just

According to the New York Times, libraries are treating borrowed materials as debts if they've issued a bill to the patron. The Queens Public Library is one example of a library who takes their late fees seriously — it has used Unique Management Services to report late fees to credit bureaus. The Times article explains that it's not clear how many people are actually reported to credit agencies, but Experian and TransUnion (two national credit bureaus) accept reports from Unique. According to spokesmen for those companies, they'll only include debts of more than $50 on consumers' credit reports.

A spokesman for Unique said that fewer than 10 percent of the library patrons contacted by Unique are actually reported to the credit bureaus. He added a reassuring note that even if a library debt is reported, once you pay the debt it typically has "minimal to zero influence on a person's credit rating."


Join The Conversation
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
That's just crazy and stupid!
tee0206 tee0206 9 years
Yikes...I need to return some of my library books!
aem2006 aem2006 9 years
i actually work at a library in a large city. Fines are a necessary evil to keep things circulating of course. I feel bad for some people because most of the time they are just busy people and books are the last thing on people's minds. But, there are a lot of people who abuse the system and have almost a grand or more in fines! How they pull it off I do not know! haha The whole jail time thing is still shocking though!
Fiend Fiend 9 years
5-6(?) years ago i ignored the over due notices on my library books since i had never had adverse consequences before when returning books late other then a $5 fine here or there. Then i received a collections notice stating i either had to return the books or pay the replacement value. I returned the books within 1 week of receiving the collections notice but i didnt know it would stay on my report; the librarian assured me it would come off and i didnt know better back then to call the collections agency to make sure they took it off. i now have a collections on my credit report for $60 (2 hard cover books valued at $29.99 each according to them)that wont disapear for another 1-2 years. life lesson learned.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
ErieIndiana ErieIndiana 9 years
My library gives me a month to return books, so it usually isn't a big deal to return them on time. Arrested for a book though? What happens when you are late on returning your book you checked out while in jail? Do they add time to your sentence?
DreaAST DreaAST 9 years
This is insane!
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
Back in 2002, this one girl was supposed to return some library books that I had checked out in my name for her to use. She never returned them and I got a fine notice right before I left college to go home. I hope she returned them and paid the fine, because I'd hate to think there's a possibility that I might get arrested for that the next time I'm back in Boston.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
will205 - That's not how it is at my local library. I can tell them that I can't pay it today and they'll let it slide and let me take out my books as usual. I try to be good about returning them, but sometimes it's just out of the way or I get home too late. But my fines are currently paid up and no late books!
will205 will205 9 years
i am actually going to pay off my library fine today - this story surprised me when i saw it. that is ridiculous! but fines aren't fun anyway - they're unnecessary and you can't check out anything until you've paid them. just something to think about...
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
That's crazy! I usually return my books on time though. :)
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