Chicago Debt Collection Defense Attorney
Protecting You from Debt Collector Abuse in Illinois
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides rules that debt collectors must follow when attempting to collect a debt. Even if you have no actual injuries resulting from a debt collector’s abusive conduct, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act allows you to recover up to $1000 in damages if those rules are violated. Depending on the situation, you may also be able to obtain compensation for actual injuries.
A debt collector cannot legally contact you once you have advised them that you have retained a debt collection attorney.
If you have experienced abusive behavior by a debt collector or faced debt collection harassment, consult with a Chicago debt collection attorneys at Edelman Combs Latturner & Goodwin, LLC. Our FDCPA lawyers have successfully sued dozens of collection agencies to stop debt collection abuse and have obtained monetary damages for many clients.
Who Is a Debt Collector?
A debt collector is somebody who is in the business of trying to collect a debt for another party or somebody whose principal business is collecting a delinquent debt.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) does not apply to companies or individuals trying to collect on a debt owed directly to them unless they pretend to be a third party or are in the principal business of purchasing or collecting defaulted debts.
How Debt Collection Works
Unless you pay the debt, a debt collector is required to send you a written notice of your rights within five days of their first contact.
Debt collectors cannot contact you if you ask them in writing or inform them that you refuse to pay. If you really do owe the debt and have no defense, asking them to stop contacting you might result in them filing a lawsuit to collect the debt. They may also report the debt to the credit bureaus if they had not already done so.
You have the right to ask the debt collector for more information about a particular debt. Our debt collection lawyer suggests that you sent a certified letter or fax the request so that you have proof of receipt.
Harassing or Misleading Conduct by Debt Collectors
Our debt collection defense lawyers in Chicago can assist you with misleading or harassment committed by debt collection agencies. There are many laws regarding what debt collectors cannot do when they contact you to seek debt collections.
Debt collectors cannot:
- Make false, deceptive or misleading statements
- Contact you without identifying the company calling
- Place repetitive and harassing phone calls
- Threaten you with violence or harm to your person, reputation or property
- Tell or threaten to tell other people (your employer, neighbors, credit references or friends) that you owe a debt
- Use foul or abusive language or call you names
- Accept a postdated check and cash it prior to its date
Far too often, debt collectors use deceitful practices to intimidate and trick borrowers. It is not uncommon to see debt collectors take advantage of people through lies and threats.
Common misrepresentations made by debt collectors include:
- Inflating the amount of the debt
- Stating that you must make immediate payment to avoid being sued
- Using false names or pretending to be an attorney, police officer, investigator, or similar official
- Threatening you with false claims of arrest, imprisonment, or prosecution for a crime
- Misrepresentations or failure to provide you with information about your rights
- Attempting to collect old debts that are no longer legally enforceable through misleading collection letters and settlement offers
If you are the victim of debt collection abuse, be sure to save copies of all letters to and from the debt collector. Take notes about each incident, including the date, time, and name of the collector. If they have not identified themselves, write down their phone number. You should also save any abusive messages left on your answering machine or voicemail (Illinois does not permit you to tape calls unless you inform the other party.) Our debt collection lawyers can help you navigate documentation when you are facing abuse from debt collectors.
There is a Time and Place for Collection Calls
A debt collector cannot contact you at inconvenient times or inconvenient places. The law presumes that calls between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time are convenient. You will need to inform them if you want them to call at other times or communicate only in writing.
Debt collectors cannot contact you at work if they know that your employer does not permit it. If you are not allowed to take calls at work, or if you do not want them to contact you at work, tell them not to call you at your work number.
A debt collector is also not allowed to make robocalls to a cell phone unless you have provided the number to the collector or creditor and must stop calling your cell phone if you ask them to stop making the calls.
Statute of Limitation for Debts in Illinois
Creditors can go after individuals for a certain period. The most common time limits include:
Written contracts: 10 years
Oral contracts: 5 years
Sale of goods and automobiles: 4 years
Store Credit: 4 years
Credit cards: 5 years
Bad check penalties: 2 years
Checks other than bad debt penalties: 3 years
Money judgments: 7-27 years
Parking tickets and red-light tickets: no time limit
Consumers may still be sued by creditors after 5 years; nonetheless, consumers have the legal right to request the Judge dissolve the suit established by the Statute of Limitations. Our experienced Chicago debt lawyer has experience handling scavenger creditor and helping clients defend against debt collection lawsuits.
Know Your Rights
You have rights when it comes to dealing with debt collection agencies and employees. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) you are protected from abuse, harassment, and unfair debt collection practices. Under the act, debt collectors in violation if they:
- Call you before 8 A.M. or after 9 P.M.
- Contact you during your work hours if you have told them that your employer does not permit you to receive such calls in your workplace
- Contact a third party about you for any reason other than contact information
- Harass/abuse you or anyone close to you regarding your debt
- Be dishonest about the amount you owe
- Lie about being enforcement officers
- Claim to arrest you
- Threaten to seize or sell your property or wages unless they are allowed to by law
- Give false credit information about you
- Using a fake company
If any of the above has happened to you, do not hesitate to contact Edelman Combs Latturner & Goodwin LLC. Our Chicago debt collection defense attorneys are here to make sure you get the representation you deserve. Call us today for a consultation.
Contact a Chicago Debt Collection Defense Lawyer Today
Above all, be sure to consult with a Chicago debt collection defense attorney who can help protect your rights and end debt collector abuse against you. At Edelman Combs Latturner & Goodwin, LLC, we have provided countless clients with the resources and representation they need to stop the abuse and find peace of mind.
Our debt collection lawyer reviews collection letters and other communications from debt collectors without charge.
- Illinois Statute of Limitations on Debt
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Issues
- Collection Attorneys Seek FDCPA Exemption
Call (312) 626-3585 for a free consultation with an FDCPA attorney in Chicago. Se habla español.