Illinois Amends State Collection Agency Law

The Illinois legislature has amended the Illinois Collection Agency Act to expand the definition of what constitutes a collection agency and consumer debt, and ACA International is lauding the changes as “a win for the collection industry by removing confusing and onerous requirements.”

Among the changes are new definitions for collection agency and consumer debt. Under the new statute, which goes into effect immediately:

“Collection agency” means any person who, in the ordinary course of business, regularly, on behalf of himself or herself or others, engages in the collection of a debt.
“Consumer debt” or “consumer credit” means money or property, or their equivalent, due or owing or alleged to be due or owing from a natural person by reason of a consumer credit transaction.

As well, collectors must identify their employers when contacting individuals other than debtors — if those individuals expressly request the identification — for the purpose of acquiring location information of the debtor. This mirrors the requirements under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This only applies to collectors who are collecting on consumer debt, as opposed to those collecting on commercial debts.

With regard to validation of debts, when expressly requested in writing, the collection agency is now required to provide the name of the original creditor.

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