The rules and regulations regarding commercial debt collection can vary tremendously depending on your location and the location of the debtor you are attempting to collect from. Those laws can get extremely complicated when you are attempting to collect internationally, but there can also be some complications when attempting to collect a debt in a state where you are not familiar with the requirements.
Like many states, Illinois has implemented a number of its own debt collection policies that go hand-in-hand with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you are attempting to collect a debt from an Illinois resident, you will want to be sure that you abide by the details stated in the Illinois Collection Agency Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act.
As you might expect, the two additional pieces of legislation in the state of Illinois have been put in place to provide residents with additional protection against predatory collection practices. However, the state is actually very friendly when it comes to the collection of legitimate debts, as long as you operate within the confines of their regulations.
Notify in Writing
One unique requirement in the state of Illinois is that a debt collector must follow up any verbal notification with a written documentation of the debt. That means that any time a collector is able to make contact with a debtor to discuss an outstanding amount owed, they must send written documentation of the debt to the debtor within five days of the initial contact.
That written documentation is required to state the name of the creditor, the exact amount owed, and directions for how to properly dispute the debt.
Avoid These Mistakes
Just as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act forbids a number of inappropriate collection tactics, the state laws in Illinois also address a number of issues that commercial debt collectors should go out of their way to avoid.
No matter what state they are operating in, debt collectors are never permitted to harass or attempt to intimidate the people they are attempting to collect from. It is also illegal for those collectors to make any type of false statements or misrepresent themselves in any way.
In addition to the laws against harassment and making false statements, debt collectors are forbidden from engaging in any type of unfair practices. That could include anything from coercing debtors into accepting collect calls to charging outrageous interest rates or penalty fees.
One area where debt collectors can fall outside the boundaries of the law without even intending to is with respect to honoring a dispute that is timely filed by the debtor. If a debtor disputes a debt in writing at any time, the creditor is not permitted to contact the debtor again until they provide written proof of the debt.
When it comes to collecting debts across state lines, Illinois is similar to most states in that it has taken the core principles of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and expanded on them through its own unique legislation. If you are not well versed in the details of that legislation, you might quickly realize that you would be better off having a commercial debt collection agency that has experience in this area on your side.
Regardless of how you plan to collect on any debts from residents in the state of Illinois, following the regulations established on both federal and state levels is not simply good business, it’s the law. Make sure you don’t find yourself on the outside of that law.