What Does “Statute of Limitations” Mean?
First, a quick definition. “Statute of limitations” sounds like scary legalese, but the meaning is simple. It’s a law that puts a limit on when and why creditors can sue you for a debt. These kinds of laws protect consumers from aggressive collectors, especially when you can’t afford to pay a debt.
The Illinois Statute of Limitations for debt is a period of 5 years. If you haven’t made a payment in 5 years, you can no longer be sued for your debt. This is why creditors can be insistent that you set up payments, no matter how small. Every time you make a payment, there’s a reset process of the clock on the statute of limitations.
What To Do if a Creditor Breaks the Statute of Limitations on Your Debt
Ok, so you’ve received that all-important, terrifying legal notice. Your first step is to ensure you’ve reached the Statute of Limitations on your Illinois Debt. Call up the office and ask them two questions about your debt.
First, ask if the debt is time-barred. By Illinois law, they have to answer this question honestly or not at all. Should they refuse to answer the question at all, ask them what the date of the last payment is. It will let you do the math yourself to figure out if you have a case.
Again, the most important thing when you’re calling about a notice you received is leaving it alone. Don’t make a promise to pay, make a payment, or give them any kind of bank account or card information. Remember, as soon as you make a payment, the debt is acknowledged, and they can sue you for it easily.
Once you figure out whether you have a case, you’ll need to reach out to a lawyer who’ll help you defend the case in court. You have two main options when you talk about hiring a lawyer, and you can hire a private lawyer or seek out local legal aid.
Private lawyers can be more expensive, which might lead you to look for local legal aid. However, it’s important to remember that local aid is often overwhelmed, and it can lead to longer wait times and struggles to book appointments and court dates. You might also end up with a lawyer who isn’t an expert in dealing with debts.
When it comes to seeking legal help, it’s important to know your options and have all of the data you’ve collected ready. This helps things move much more smoothly in the long run.
What Happens After the Statute of Limitations is Reached?
Alright, so your five years are up, and you’ve succeeded in your court case. Now, what happens? You can’t be sued for the debt anymore, but the company can still contact you. You do still owe the debt; you just can’t be sued for it anymore.
It means that debt collectors may still call you or send mail asking that you make payments. Remember, if you make a payment, you’re acknowledging the debt. It resumes the clock on the Statute of Limitations, and they can sue you for the full amount.
Debts that have cleared the Statute of Limitations in Illinois can impact your credit score. It means that you may have trouble when applying for loans as well as credit cards in the future. Should you want to pay off the debt in full, be careful.
Companies may try and add extra interest or fees on a debt past the five years, so it’s worth it to look for some help. One thing you can do is call the company and confirm the amount you need to erase the debt. Many companies will let you haggle debts, so be prepared to defend the original amount of the debt.
Once you’ve confirmed the amount, the company requires you to forgive the debt, ask for a written, signed statement containing the amount. It keeps you safe from companies “changing their minds” and requesting more money from you.
Statute of Limitation for Illinois Debt
While working for financial security, it’s important to know your rights. Often, companies attempt to take advantage of the fact that most people don’t know their rights. It makes having a game plan an essential weapon in a consumer’s arsenal. Once you know your rights, you’ll be ready to reach out to your local legal counsel and move forward.
Even with a game plan, dealing with creditors is scary. While you’re dealing with debt, you can always reach out to our partners at Accredited Debt Relief. They have experts who can help you at every single step of your journey that imprints financial freedom.
Millions of Americans have some form of debt. No matter how scary debt collection can feel, you’re never alone, and you’re never out of options. There will always be people out there ready to help you learn and conquer any debt problem you might be facing.