Illinois regulates debt collection practices by outside collection agencies. The laws do not apply to in-house collection efforts. Thus, if a store calls you about the debt, it is not subject to the laws, but if it has a collection agency call you, the collection agency is subject to the laws.
Both federal and Illinois laws apply. One part of the laws requires the collection agency to be discreet when calling the debtor at work. The debt collector may not call at work unless the debt is at least 30 days old and it has given the debtor written notice at least five days prior to the call that it intends to call the debtor at work. Debt collectors cannot call the debtor's boss or leave message with someone other than the debtor that it is trying to collect the debt.
Another part of the laws regulates the debt collector's behavior when calling. It cannot call at late hours, threaten harm, or use vulgar language.
Penalties for violating the laws are severe, so most reputable collection agencies are careful not to violate them.
Consumer debt reports. Both federal and Illinois law regulate credit reports and who has access to them. The federal law limits who can get copies and how they can be used. If credit is denied based on the report, the creditor must tell the person applying for the credit. The state law gives a person the right to get a copy of his or her report once every 12 months. Both the federal and the state laws give the person the right to correct errors that might appear on the report.
Exemptions. Illinois, like all states, allows debtors to exempt certain essential goods from judgment or attachment. The Illinois exemptions are for an equity interest in necessary wearing apparel, a bible, school books, and family pictures not to exceed to $2,000; an equity interest in one vehicle not exceeding $1,200; an equity interest in professional books and implements not exceeding $750; professionally prescribed health aids; death benefit proceeds; and the right to receive certain other benefits, like alimony, unemployment, and Social Security.