What Is The Statute Of Limitations In Illinois?

What Is The Statute Of Limitations In Illinois?

Statute Of Limitations On Debt In Illinois

Far too many consumers are confused by the term “statute of limitations.” Many believe that this is a time restriction that the creditor can recover a debt. This is not correct. In reality, in most states, including Illinois, a debt collector has infinite time to collect.

What is the status of limitations?

The statute of limitations is a law that regulates how long a creditor (or owner of the consumer debt) has to initiate a debt collection lawsuit against the consumer to seek legal recovery. 

So, even though a debt collector can keep trying to collect a debt from someone, they are limited in how long they can use the courts to collect it.

The state of Illinois, like every other state in the U.S., has its statute of limitations for various types of debts. All unwritten and open-ended agreements, for example, have a five-year expiration. Written contracts and promissory notes, on the other hand, have a 10-year expiration.

Dealing with Old Debts

Have you been served with a debt collection summons and complaint in Illinois for an old debt? Stories about debt collectors attempting to collect an incredibly old debt, referred to as “zombie debt,” have increased recently. These debt collectors (also known as “debt scavengers”) buy large volumes of old debt for just pennies on the dollar and subsequently harass consumers to pay up.

What is the statute of limitations on debtUnsuspecting consumers may be intimidated by debt scavengers and zombie debt. Debt collectors utilize intimidation techniques to coerce consumers into paying their debts, even when the customer has no legal responsibility to do so. So, how should you deal with this kind of debt collector harassment?

If the debt has expired, tell them that you have no intention of making payment on the expired debt and that if they continue to harass you, you will have a lawyer intervene on your behalf. However, suppose you make a single dollar payment on an expired debt. The debt is rehabilitated, and the collections agency can bring a lawsuit against you to recover the debt.

Dealing with Debt Collectors

To collect a debt, creditors can file lawsuits against the debtor. Like in many circumstances, you (the debtor) may choose not to appear at the hearing, and a default judgment will be entered against you. This enables the collections agency to place a lien on your property, garnish your earnings, or levy your bank account to recover the debt.

Is this causing you a lot of concern right now? Our Skokie Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney can help you take measures to protect your assets from relentless creditors, discharge debts through bankruptcy, and start fresh without significant liabilities dangling over your head.

Call Cutler & Associates, Ltd. today to get a free evaluation! It is time for you to gain back peace of mind. 

Debt Scavengers And Zombie Debt: What Is There To Know?

People use the term “zombie debt” when they talk about ver old debt or debt that has expired. In a nutshell, it is debt that has returned to haunt you. Generally, zombie debt is purchased for pennies on the dollar from the original creditor (or another debt collection agency). Debt collectors “scavenge” for debt and then compel the consumer to settle the debt.

Debt scavenging has become increasingly common in recent years. Delinquent debt has been purchased in bulk by major Wall Street investors and shady debt collection agencies. The older and less recoverable debt is the cheapest debt to buy. Debt scavengers usually spend nothing more than a cent for every dollar of debt. Therefore, even if they only collect a small percentage of the debt, these collectors can still make a good profit.

What Kinds of Debts Do Scavengers Pursue?

Debt scavengers resurrect various types of debt to collect at least a portion of it. The following types of debt are frequently encountered in a debt scavenger’s portfolio:

Debts for which the statute of limitation has expired.

A creditor or debt collector has a certain number of years to sue you for an unpaid debt, known as the “statute of limitations.” Debt scavengers purchase debts after the statute of limitations has expired, trying to persuade (or deceive) you into paying willingly.

Debt that you don’t own.

Some zombie debt isn’t yours at all. It could belong to somebody else with the same name as you or a consequence of a mistake by the creditor (mistakes can happen in this age of electronic databases). There are zombie debts that are caused by Identity theft. In some instances, debt erased from your credit report is sold to another debt collector who tries to resurrect it and collect on it.

Discharged debt through a bankruptcy filing.

Debt scavengers will sometimes chase after debts that have been lawfully dismissed in bankruptcy.

What Strategies Might Debt Collectors Employ?

Debt scavengers and zombie debt collectors sometimes utilize unlawful or unethical activities to compel clients to pay off old debts. The intention is often to deceive the consumer into paying a debt wherein the statute of limitations had already expired. By making a payment, regardless of how little, the consumer unknowingly resets the statute of limitations on the debt, allowing the collector to sue for the full amount. This is why zombie debt collectors strive so hard to make you pay a fraction of your debt. These are a few examples showing how they go about doing this:

Promise to stay away in return for a small payment. 

Zombie debt collectors offer to stop harassing you if you pay a fraction of your debt. You can be sure that the debt collector will pursue you for the entire amount once you pay and reset the statute of limitations. Alternatively, if you have never owned that debt in the first place, making a payment might be interpreted as admitting that the debt is, in truth, yours.

Make a promise not to disclose the debt to the credit reporting agencies.

If a creditor writes off your overdue debt or sends it to some collection agency, it can stay on your credit report until seven years plus additional 180 days from the start date of delinquency. Even if you have not made a payment on your debt in years, probably, the debt will remain on your credit report. Once the period has expired, the debt collector can no longer record the amount as newly delinquent for it to appear on your credit report. (Alas, some debt collectors report old delinquencies as new delinquencies.)

Sue or make threats to sue.

If the debt is time-barred, suing or issuing threats to file a lawsuit is illegal. However, many terrified consumers are unaware of this, so they pay.

Change the age of debts on credit reports. 

Credit bureaus are limited in how long they can continue to report negative information on a credit report. This restriction is seven years for the majority of items. However, unscrupulous zombie debt collectors say old debts as recent, causing them to appear on a credit report once more. This practice is against the law.

Harass and verbally abuse consumers.

Zombie debt collectors frequently resort to harassment, including hostile or derogatory language, thus violating the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This type of harassment might cause stressed-out and fearful consumers to pay up solely to make the collector leave them peacefully.

Declare themselves to be a “litigation firm.”

Zombie debt collectors are often not lawyers and do not work for law offices. Yet, many debt collectors mislead to terrify victims into believing that a lawsuit is inevitable if they do not pay up.

Things You Can Do To Protect Yourself From Debt Collectors In Illinois

If a debt collector calls you concerning an old or unknown debt, you can protect yourself by not talking to the debt collector. You would not want to give the collector beneficial collection information unintentionally, or worse, acknowledge you owe a debt that’s not yours or tell them something that resurrects a debt after the statute of limitations has expired. Also, request validation of the debt.

The Illinois Collection Agency Act: What Is Its Function?

Debt collectors in Illinois are regulated by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Illinois Collection Agency Act (ICAA). 

The FDCPA applies to all states and provides consumer protection against unfair and deceitful debt collection practices. The FDCPA is against debt collectors contacting you at specific locations and times. 

Similarly, the ICAA protects consumers whose debts are being collected. The legislation requires all debt collectors to be licensed and limits what collectors can do while trying to collect debts. For example, the ICAA, like the federal FDCPA, forbids debt collectors from using vulgar, profane, or derogatory language or from attempting to deceive you into paying a debt. 

Furthermore, the ICAA, like the FDCPA’s debt validation requirement, grants you the right to request a debt collector to validate (confirm the veracity) a debt and defines what they must-do if you contest the validity of a debt.

Finally, the ICAA enhances the federal FDCPA provisions that regulate debt collectors. However, not every agency or person attempting to collect a debt from a resident of Illinois is bound to comply with the ICAA.


Even while the ICAA does not explicitly allow you to file a lawsuit against the debt collector directly, several Illinois courts have decided that consumers have the right to sue a debt collector. 

You may be entitled to claim both actual and punitive damages. You can also sue a collector for breaking the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You may be eligible to collect monetary damages, attorney’s fees, and other expenses. 15 U.S. Code 1692k.

If you believe a debt collector has violated the Illinois Collection Agency Act, contact our Skokie Chicago bankruptcy attorney immediately!

Composed of a team of Illinois-based attorneys, Cutler & Associates, Ltd. is dedicated to helping families in Chicago overcome massive debt. Each attorney on our team is sympathetic to the plight of clients who are struggling with financial difficulties. With our help, you would be able to get legal advice on how to eliminate your debts and start over with a new beginning.

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