Debt Collector Harassment in Illinois

Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. In Illinois there are two things to consider when thinking about debt collection: harassment and misrepresentation. The presence of either of these things constitutes debt collector harassment and may require you to take legal action against the collector.

Debt Collector Harassment in Illinois

According to the Illinois Attorney General, both state and federal laws protect debtors from harassment by collection agencies. Some of the requirements for Illinois debt collectors include:

  • Clearly indicating that they are attempting to collect a debt
  • Provide full name and address of the business or person to whom the debt is owed
  • Not calling before 8 am or after 9 pm
  • No threats, coercion, or abuse
  • No disclosure of your debt information to another person

If you are a victim of any of these examples of harassment, you may have a right to sue the debt collector for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). An experienced Illinois attorney can help you identify your options and build a strong case.

Misrepresentations

Misrepresentations by a debt collector refer to someone making false claims or accusations or using false, deceptive, or misleading practices. This also includes misrepresenting any debt you may have. See some examples of this and other illegal debt collection practices below:

  • The amount of money you owe
  • False threats saying they will have you arrested
  • Saying they are an attorney if they aren’t one
  • Threats to do something that the debt collector has no intention of doing
  • Threats to take actions that are not within the confines of the law

If you think any Illinois debt collectors may have misrepresented themselves to you, it’s important to remember that you have options. Get in contact with an attorney who understands debt collector law.

Who Are Debt Collectors?

Most people don’t know what a debt collector is until they have one incessantly calling them about paying off debt. So, who are debt collectors? Who do they work for?

Collectors come from a debt collection agency that works with creditors who are owed debts. If you have outstanding debt in Illinois , such as credit debt, unpaid loans, and personal loans, your creditor may contact a debt collection agency. This agency then assigns a debt collector to your case.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) maintains a list of debt collection agencies in Illinois. Some, like Merchants Credit Guide Company, and Nationwide Acceptance, are accredited and rated by the BBB. Unaccredited local agencies include Chicago Service Center and Palisades Acquisition.

What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector In Illinois?

Step 1: Know Your Rights

If you think Illinois debt collectors are harassing you, then it’s important to become familiar with the basics of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA was passed in 1977 to protect consumers from collection agencies. If a debt collector violates any of the harassment or misrepresentation rules, the victim has a right to sue the collector for violation of the FDCPA.

Step 2: Collect Records

If you’ve been harassed in Illinois by a debt collector, it’s important to gather evidence. Illinois Legal Aid suggests that Illinois residents:

  • Keep copies of all written correspondence with the collection agency
  • Establish an electronic record of any faxes or emails you send
  • Keep a detailed record of the time, date, and content of all phone calls
  • Send a stop contact letter
  • Request written validation or proof of the debt within 30 days of the first contact

Step 3: Remain Calm and Act Deliberately

When you’re being abused or harassed by a bullish Illinois debt collector, it’s easy to get angry and act impulsively. Unfortunately, this can cause you to say or do something detrimental to your case. Instead, try to remain calm and make all your actions deliberate and well-thought-out. Not only will this be better for keeping your stress levels low, but it will prove helpful if you go to court. You can show that you were respectful and calm while the debt collector was the one using abusive language.

Step 4: Ask for Debt Verification

If you’re constantly getting phone calls from Illinois debt collectors harassing you about what you owe, you need to ask for debt verification. Not only will this show whether or not they are misrepresenting your debt, but the debt collector must also stop contacting you until they provide the information you requested. Debt verification should show the amount of debt you owe and the name of the creditor. You have 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt. If you don’t dispute the debt, the creditor will assume the debt is valid.

Step 5: Contact an Attorney

If you’re the victim of debt collector harassment, it’s time to stand up and fight back. You deserve to live a life free from abusive and repetitive phone calls. Illinois attorneys who understand what to expect when suing for debt collector harassment, and local debt collection laws, can help you make this possible. If the debt collector threatens to or does take legal action regarding your outstanding debts, working with an attorney becomes even more important.

Step 6: Present Your Case

By hiring an experienced Illinois debt collector attorney, you have a better chance of winning the lawsuit and getting financial compensation for abuses such as phone harassment.

Depending on which law was violated, your complaint could be brought in either federal or state court. In Illinois, this would mean either the U.S. District Court or an Illinois state court. Your Illinois attorney can help determine the best jurisdiction for your case. However, according to the Federal Trade Commission, there is a time limit to bring your case. The lawsuit must be brought within one year of the illegal action by the debt collector.

If you incurred economic loss, such as lost wages, you may be able to sue for those damages. If not, you can still be awarded up to $1,000, plus attorney fees and court costs. It is important to note, however, that you may still be responsible for the original debt.

Work With an Experienced Illinois Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer

If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment in Illinois, it’s time to put an end to it so you can move forward with life. There are laws in place to protect consumers from debt collectors. Legal assistance can help you to navigate these complex laws and defend yourself in court, if necessary.

Are you ready to find a debt collector attorney near you so you can finally fight back against the harassment? We can even help you connect with an attorney across Illinois state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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