Illinois Debt Collection Laws

Sam J. Fratantoni

Submitted by Sam J. Fratantoni, Arthur B. Adler & Associates, Ltd. 

Published by The National List of Attorneys


Sam J. Fratantoni received his law degree from Loyola University Law School in 1982 and received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Loyola University in 1979. He joined the firm of Arthur B. Adler & Associates in 1985, where he has been practicing exclusively in the area of Collections and Creditors’ Rights. The firm handles retail and commercial collection matters throughout the state of Illinois and has been doing so since its inception in 1972.


Statute of Limitations

Depending on the type of debt that is involved, different limitations periods shall apply. Written instruments have a 10-year limitations period while oral contact actions are limited to five years (735 ILCS 5/13-206) and (735 ILCS 5/13-205). The limitations period for Bad Checks is 3 years (810 ILCS 5/3-118(c) & (d)) - with some exceptions. Sale of goods contacts, even if they are in writing, have a four year statute of limitations, while credit cards have now been determined to have a five year limitations period (Portfolio Acquisitions, LLC v. Feltman, 391 Ill. App. 3d 642 (Ill. App. Ct. 2009).


When calculating the statute of limitations, exclude the first day and include the last, unless the last day is Saturday, Sunday or a holiday, and then it shall also be excluded (5 ILCS 70/1.11). If the debtor makes another payment, after default, it will extend the statute of limitations and restart the clock -- provided it is made within the original statutory period. If, however, the payment is made on a written contract, it will restart the clock, even if the payment is made outside the original ten year statutory period (735 ILCS 5/13-206).



 Judgments are good for 20 years (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/12-108(a) (2010)). However, the judgment must be revived if it is more than seven years old (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/12-108(a) (2010)). Once revived, the creditor can continue or initiate supplemental proceedings to collect the amounts owing, together with statutory interest, which is 9% – simple interest. 735 ILCS 5/2-1303. Any foreign judgment that is registered in the state will be accorded full faith and credit and be treated as an Illinois judgment thereafter (735 ILCS 5/12-652).  When registering the foreign judgment, be sure it is currently enforceable in the originating state (Logemann Holding, Inc. v. Lieber 793 N.E.2d 135 (2003)).


If the debt has originated in a state other than Illinois, there have been concerns about which state’s statute of limitations should be used.  Illinois has taken the position that the statute of limitations is a procedural matter requiring the application of Illinois law (Belleville Toyota, Inc. v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., 770 N.E.2d 177 (2002)).


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