Illinois Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Harassment from a debt collector can be a frightening experience.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides protection for consumers against harassment or other abusive practices.  Some states have enacted their own laws to protect consumers from abusive collection practices.  In Illinois, there is a state law that applies to debt collectors.225 Ill.Comp. Stat. 425/1 to 425/25

The Illinois debt collection statute covers debt collectors and debt buyers.  The law does not, however, apply to lawyers and financial institutions (banks or lenders), real estate professionals and insurance companies.

The statute is a licensing statute which means it requires the collector to be licensed to collect in Illinois.  Also, the statute prohibits the use of threats, harassment, abusive language, unlawful publication of indebtedness, and conduct which causes the debtor or family to suffer mental or physical illness.  It is also a violation for a failure to disclose the business name, or to simulate legal process. Certain methods of collecting location information can be considered a violation of this act, as well as  communication by a post card or placing information on the outside of an envelope that reveals purpose of communication.  The statute also forbids calls at unusual times or places, calls at the workplace if it is known to be prohibited by employer, and communicating with a consumer represented by an attorney.  Just like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Illinois law also requires the sending of a debt validation notice within 5 days of initial communication and allows consumer to send written demand to cease communication.

There is no mention of a private right of action; however, there is no decision specifically barring one in Illinois.