The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted to make the collection of consumer debts fair. This law is very specific in how that it limits actions and behaviors of third-party debt collectors. It defines how a debt must be verified and gives instruction as to how a debtor can challenge a debt to ensure its validity.
According to the FDCPA, a third-party debt collector is an organization or individual who attempts to collect debts for another party or entity. The Act limits the hours of contact and the frequency of contact while collecting the debt, among other illegal tactics. If you have been the victim of a scrupulous debt collector in Illinois, you could be eligible to pursue a civil suit to seek damages. You should consult with an Illinois FDCPA attorney to get the help you need and to stop the harassing phone calls.
Illinois' FDCPA Laws and How They Work
The Illinois Collection Agency Act (ICAA) is additional protection above and beyond the protection offered by the FDCPA to Illinois residents. The ICAA regulates what debt collectors are permitted to do during the debt collection process and gives debtors the right to ask for evidence of a debt to ensure its validity. According to Illinois law, a debt collector is a company that is in the business of collecting debts.
These collectors are required to have a license to collect debts in the state. The ICAA does not apply to the original creditors, and there are exempt organizations, such as banks, attorneys, real estate brokers, homeowners' associations, and billing companies. When collecting child support, agencies are exempt from many of the ICAA regulations.
Differences in FDCPA and Illinois FDCPA Laws
While residents of Illinois are protected by the federal laws as well as the state laws, there are differences in the legislation. As previously specified, the state law requires debt collectors be licensed in the state and also specifies which kinds of organizations that it applies to. The state law indicates that if a debt collector has failed to get the proper license, the state can impose a fine of up to $5,000 per offense.
If the debt collector is located out of state and contacting the debtor, an Illinois license is not required as long as the collection agency is licensed in the state where they are located. When a collector contacts you in Illinois, the state law is different from the federal law by being very specific in which information you must be provided upon first contact. The debt collector must tell you exactly how much you owe, who the original creditor is and give you notice that you can dispute the debt.
Consulting with an FDCPA Attorney
If you have been the victim of a debt collector who has violated the FDCPA or the ICAA, you should consult with an Illinois FDCPA attorney. The attorney can file civil action against the collection agency on your behalf and you could be awarded $1,000 in damages. Your attorney will also make sure the harassment is stopped and the calls are put to an end.