Illinois Amends and Renews ICAA

On August 3, 2015, the Illinois governor approved and signed House Bill 3332  amending the Regulatory Sunset Act and Illinois Collection Agency Act (ICAA).  The Bill is effective immediately, and amends the Regulatory Sunset Act, to extend the repeal of the ICAA from January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2026 and makes several amendments to the ICAA.  Perhaps the most important amendment to the ICAA is the revised definition of “debtor” to include persons from whom a consumer or commercial debt is sought.  The amended ICAA also now requires collection agencies to state the name and address of the original creditor, if different than the current creditor in the validation notice, and refers only to collection agencies rather than debt collectors to clarify commercial collection agencies must be licensed in Illinois.  Additionally, the amended ICAA adds electronic mail and any other Internet communication to the types of interstate communications that are exempt from the licensing requirements, provided such communications are made by a foreign collection agency whose state not only requires a license but extends reciprocity to agencies licensed and located in Illinois. The civil penalty for acting as a collection agency without a license was also increased from a maximum of $5,000 to a maximum of $10,000.  The ICAA, as amended, also includes new provisions regarding the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s ability to issue cease and desists and to suspend the license of a licensed collection agency without a hearing if the continuance of the agency’s practice “would constitute an imminent danger to the public.”

For more information regarding the Illinois Collection Agency Act and/or collection agencies’ obligations under the Act, contact Joseph Messer at jmesser@messerstrickler.com or (312) 334-3440.