The Illinois Debt Collection Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations on debt collection in Illinois varies depending on the type of contract entered into on the debt. For written contracts, such as car loans, the statute of limitations is 10 years. For oral contracts or open accounts, which often includes credit card debt, the statute of limitations is 5 years.

It’s important to remember that passing the statute of limitations does not mean you no longer have an obligation to repay the debt. However, it does mean that you cannot be sued for the debt by a debt collector.

If a debt collector tries to sue you for a debt after your statute of limitations has passed, the best thing to do is contact one of the consumer rights lawyers at Markoff Leinberger. If you do not contact a lawyer and just ignore the debt collector, they may be successful in their lawsuit against you. However, with a lawyer, you may be able to get the suit dismissed.

Contact Markoff Leinberger today at 888-517-9115 to schedule your free and confidential consultation.

What Does It Mean to Pass the Debt Collection Statute of Limitations?

Once you pass the statute of limitations on your debt, a debt collector can no longer sue you for the debt. However, you will still owe the debt (if it is legitimate), and you may still be contacted by debt collectors trying to get payments from you. In addition, debt remains on your credit report for 7 years, regardless of your state’s statute of limitations on debt.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors are forbidden from the following actions:

  • Contacting you outside of reasonable hours (8am to 9pm)
  • Contacting your workplace
  • Informing friends or family about your debt
  • Verbally abusing you
  • Making threats such as suing you for a debt that has passed the statute of limitations (time-barred debt)
  • Impersonating a lawyer or police officer in order to intimidate you into making payments

Debt collectors are also required to inform you that any payments or promises of payment you make on a time-barred debt will reset the statute of limitations, opening you up to being sued for the money owed.

How Can I Get Debt Collectors to Stop Harassing Me?

Debt collectors can get over-zealous in their attempts to collect money from a debtor. If this happens to you, you can send them a letter by certified mail telling them to stop contacting you. Once you send this letter, the debt collector must stop all contact aside from notifying you if they plan to take a specific action.

Sending a letter to cease contact does not prevent you from being sued, whether or not your debt is time-barred. However, if your debt is time-barred and you are sued, you have a good chance of getting the suit dismissed if you hire a lawyer well-versed in Illinois debt collection law.

The statute of limitations can be reset at any time if you:

  • Make a payment
  • Make a promise to pay
  • Admit to owing the debt

When contacted by a debt collection agency about an old debt, the best thing to do is not admit anything and contact Markoff Leinberger for a consultation.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

If you have been sued by a debt collector over an old debt, or if you have been harassed in other ways by a debt collector, call Markoff Leinberger at 888-517-9115 to schedule your consultation. We serve clients in Chicago and nationwide.


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