If you miss payments on some of your obligations, you may find yourself at the mercy of Illinois debt collectors. Some debt collectors are reasonable, but others don’t follow any standards and harass consumers. It often goes unreported because consumers think debt collectors can do whatever they want, but they must follow laws.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The FDCPA became law in 1978 as a measure for consumer protection against abusive and deceitful collection tactics from third-party debt collectors. A debt collector, according to the FDCPA, is a business that regularly collects or attempts debt collection. The FDCPA only applies to third-party debt collection agencies and not the original creditor.
Under the law, the collector cannot call you after 9 pm or before 8 am, use abusive language, or make threats to sue when they aren’t planning on doing so. They may call your workplace, neighbors, associates, and relatives to get contact information, but they cannot discuss the debt with them.
How to handle debt collectors and violations
If you think you don’t owe the debt, ask for a validation in writing, which they should send within five days of contacting you. This letter should state how much you owe, the name of the creditor, and how long you have to make a dispute. Keep records of all correspondence, including texts, and log the number of calls and what they say as evidence of noncompliance.
You may send notice in writing to make them stop contacting you at home or verbally to stop calling you at work. However, it is often best to keep communication open for evidence, and collectors can still file litigation. If you think the collector has violated the FDCPA, send a complaint to the Consumer Protection Finance Bureau.