Illinois legislators take aim at powerful debt collection industry

Illinois General Assembly continues to mull over legislation that would change how the state's repossession agents operate.  Illinois bankruptcy and repossession lawyers, consumer right advocates, and other professionals connected to the debt collection industry view the law as a positive sign toward protecting individuals from collectors.

Illinois Senate bill No. 1306-the Collateral Recovery Act-has made it to the House's Judiciary Civil Law Committee.  The bill will probably be modified by the Committee.

The Act would significantly change state law.  If passed, it would require licensing of repossession agencies and recovery managers as well as repossession agency employees. The law would contain certain provisions addressing qualifications, application, examination, assignment, insurance requirements and administrative proceedings of the recovery companies.

The bill was recently amended to become enforceable on July 1, 2012.

The law also requires repossession agents to buy permit tickets for each potential recovery. The cost of tickets will be $10.  The bill makes it a crime to not purchase a ticket.

Concerning enforcement of the law, legislatures will grant the Illinois Commerce Commission jurisdiction over industry disciplinary action and the licensing of managers, companies, and agents. State, county and local governments would also be required to assist the Commission in the enforcement of the law.

The Act would have an impact on the entire debt-handling industry, including foreclosures, bankruptcies, and property repossession.

Many professionals within the industry applaud the Assembly's attempt to regulate more heavily the processes of debt collection.  Out of control debt collection is especially a problem in Chicago and other highly populated areas of the state.  Most Chicago based bankruptcy attorneys, for example, believe the law will better protect their clients from a variety of issues associated with the process.

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