Start My Answer

Debt Collection Laws in Illinois

Sarah Edwards | November 10, 2023

Sarah Edwards
Legal Expert
Sarah Edwards, BS

Sarah Harris is a professional researcher and writer specializing in legal content. An Emerson College alumna, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the prestigious Boston institution.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: Illinois residents are protected from harassment from debt collectors, thanks to both federal and state regulations. While a collection agency is responsible for providing a debt disclosure document, SoloSuit can help you draft a Debt Validation Letter to stop communication from collectors, stand up for our rights in court, or settle your debt to avoid going to court altogether.

Illinois residents have certain rights that protect them from harassment at the hands of debt collectors. Understanding these rights can help you push back against aggressive or unscrupulous debt collection practices. And if you’re facing repeated phone calls from a debt collector, it’s important to know how to respond and resolve your debt.

SoloSuit can help, but first, you’ll need to know more about Illinois debt collection laws.

Sued for debt in Illinois? Use SoloSettle to settle your debt.

Settle with SoloSettle

Make an Offer

Illinois debt collection laws protect you

In the state of Illinois, debt collectors are governed by two distinct laws. The first is the nationwide Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collection agencies from using such practices as:

  • Calling you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Contacting you more than once per day.
  • Contacting you after receiving a Cease and Desist Letter.
  • Refusing to validate your debt.
  • Contacting a third party about your debt (friends, family, coworkers, etc.).
  • Using vulgar or threatening language.
  • Attempting to mislead you with false information.
  • Falsifying legal documents.
  • Threatening you with imprisonment should you fail to pay the debt.

In addition, debt collectors in Illinois must also abide by the Illinois Collection Agency Act (ICAA). This act largely mirrors the stipulations of the FDCPA, though it also includes prohibitions that prevent debt collectors from:

  • Threatening to seize your personal property.
  • Using an unauthorized badge or uniform.
  • Falsely claiming to represent an attorney.
  • Attempting to intimidate you with attorney fees or other penalties.

The ICAA also requires that debt collectors disclose the details of your debt in writing within five days of initial contact, including the name of your original creditor and the amount of debt you owe.

If your original creditor differs from your current creditor, the collection agency has 30 days to disclose details regarding the original creditor.

You have 30 days from the receipt of this disclosure document to dispute the debt. After this deadline, the debt collector can assume that the debt is valid and continue its attempts to collect. In order to dispute the debt, you can send a Debt Validation Letter to force the collector to verify your debt before taking further action.

Illinois statute of limitations on debt prevents old debt lawsuits

Debt collectors have a narrow window in which to collect your past debts through legal action. And this window varies by the type of debt in question. The table below outlines the statute of limitations on different types of debt in Illinois:

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Illinois

Debt Type Deadline
Oral Contract 5 years
Credit Card 10 years
Medical 10 years
Auto Loan 10 years
Student Loan 10 years
Mortgage 10 years
Judgment 20 years
Source: 735 ILCS 5/13-205, 5/13-206, and 5/13-218

So, in other words, debt collectors only have ten years to sue you for debt, typically starting from the date of your last payment or action on the account.

If a collector doesn't file a suit within this timeframe, then their case will not stand in court. However, that won’t stop them from suing you, and it is your responsibility to raise the statute of limitations as a defense. The judge won’t check for you; it’s up to you.

Don’t let debt collectors talk you into making any payments until you’ve received a disclosure document. Collectors like to pressure you into making a small payment as a sign of good faith, though this will only reset the Statute of Limitations, giving the collector the right to file a debt lawsuit for another 5, 10, or even 20 years.

How to report aggressive debt collectors

Because debt collectors are regulated by both federal and state laws, you can report violators to the appropriate agency. Here’s how.

FDCPA violations

If you believe that the debt collector has violated the terms of the FDCPA, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission. You can use the FTC website or call the agency directly at 877-382-4357.

ICAA violations

Illinois residents may also file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The website also lets you check the licensing status of your debt collector to ensure that the phone calls are legitimate.

How to respond to debt collectors in Illinois

You’ve just been contacted by a debt collector. What’s your next step?

Well, it depends on what stage of the debt collection process you find yourself in. Here’s how to respond to debt collectors at all phases of the collection process.

Validate your debt

The most important thing to do is validate your debt. The ICAA requires that collection agencies disclose the details of your debt, but you can also get the ball rolling by sending a Debt Validation Letter to confirm that the debt is yours and that it falls within the Illinois Statute of Limitations.

If you still have questions about validating your debt, check out this Q&A on Debt Validation Letters.

Send a Cease and Desist Letter

The ICAA also requires that debt collectors abide by Cease and Desist Letters. These letters are official requests to cease further contact.

Sending a Cease and Desist Letter should make the phone calls stop. If they don’t, you can report violators to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. But if you lose track of your debt, you expose yourself to the possibility of a debt collection lawsuit.

Respond to your debt lawsuit

By the time you decide to take action, you may already have a lawsuit on your hands. Luckily, SoloSuit can help you respond to a debt lawsuit in Illinois, stand up for your rights, and increase your chances of winning the case.

To respond to your debt lawsuit, you must file a written Answer into the case and send a copy to the opposing attorney. In your Answer, you will respond to each claim against you and assert your affirmative defenses (i.e. the statute of limitations is expired).

SoloSuit’s software can help you draft and file a personalized Answer in a matter of minutes.

Settle your debt

Save yourself additional hassle and embarrassment by settling your debt. Most debt collectors earn a living by purchasing old debts from existing creditors, such as credit card companies and banking institutions. They may be just as eager as you are to settle the debt — even if it’s for a lower amount.

To negotiate a settlement fast, start using SoloSettle today.

Let’s look at an example of debt settlement in Illinois.

Example: Initially, Kalyn had been ignoring the repeated phone calls. But eventually, the collection agency caught up with her. The collector promptly sent her a disclosure statement. Sure enough, Kalyn had racked up a credit card bill that had never been paid. After searching for advice on how to respond to debt collectors in Illinois, she discovered SoloSuit. She used SoloSettle to negotiate a settlement payment of 60% of her original debt. Now that the phone calls have stopped, Kalyn is looking forward to improving her credit score and accomplishing her financial goals.

To learn more about how to settle your debt in Illinois, check out this video:

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

How to answer a summons for debt collection in your state

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

Guides on how to beat every debt collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.

We have answers

Join our community of over 40,000 people.

You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now are are just look for support, we're here for you.

Get Started

Win against credit card companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get answers to these FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendants Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouses Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

Does Student Debt Die With You?

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

How Long Does a Judgment Last?

Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

Youre Drowning in Debt — Heres How to Swim

Help! Im Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Heres What to Do

How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

How to Stop a Garnishment

Debt Eraser Review

Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?

Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?

How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?

How Long Does a Judgement Last?

​​How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?

How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court

Not sued yet?

Use our Debt Validation Letter.

Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.

Let's Do It

It only takes 15 minutes.

And 50% of our customers' cases have been dismissed in the past.

"Finding yourself on the wrong side of the law unexpectedly is kinda scary. I started researching on YouTube and found SoloSuit's channel. The videos were so helpful, easy to understand and encouraging. When I reached out to SoloSuit they were on it. Very professional, impeccably prompt. Thanks for the service!" - Heather

Get Started