Statute of Limitations for Debts in Illinois


This is a general outline is provided by ROBERT J. ADAMS & ASSOCIATES. Offices in Chicago and Waukegan, Illinois. The primary practice of ROBERT J. ADAMS & ASSOCIATES is Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Private creditors have a limited amount of time to collect debts. Who are private creditors? Examples include credit card companies, those collecting for medical bills; finance companies. Essentially, not a government entity or collecting on student loans.

NOTE: When a creditor has filed a lawsuit the Statute of Limitation is a defense. If not asserted as a defense the creditor will likely get a valid judgment.

Common Time Limits:

  • In general, written contracts (see footnote)1: 10 years
  • Oral contracts: 5 years
  • Sale of goods (automobiles, furniture, natural gas): 4 years
  • Store Credit: 4 years
  • Credit cards in Illinois: 5 years
  • Bad check penalties: 2 years; Checks other than bad debt penalties: 3 years
  • Money judgments: 7 years but can be revived up to a total of 27 years. But new judgments 20 years
  • Parking tickets and red light tickets: does not seem to have any time limit.
  • Student loans: no time limit.

When does the clock start running? The date of default or the last date a payment was made: whichever is later.

When an individual has filed Chapter, the client’s lawyer cam object to any claim that is time barred.

A few things to consider when a debt is “written off”:

  • A “written off” debt is neither forgiven nor is uncollectible.
  • A credit or a collection agency or a “debt buyer” can still sue you. But, it does not extend the Statute of Limitation.
  • A “written off” or “charge off” debt can be on your credit report for seven (7) years. That 7 year period starts 180 days after the debt first becomes delinquent, and is not extended by later payments.

Attempting to collect a time-barred debt MAY violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, if:

  • a settlement or payment plan is offered, or
  • if the attempt is misleading,
  • Contact a consumer attorney and have them review the letters you received. This should not cost you anything.

Footnote: The odd Illinois definition of *written contract* (all material terms are in writing and not subject to change except by another signed writing).1

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