Debt Collection

Consumer debt is at an all time high in the United States and the shaky economy has certain debt collectors stooping to the lowest levels to collect money.

The Shanfield Law Firm focuses on helping consumers with many types of debt collection abuse and harassment, threats, lies, and confusing consumers over their rights under federal law. We also occasionally handle state court collection cases brought against consumers. Call for details.

Numerous federal and state laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regulate debt collectors and protect consumers. It doesn't matter if you owe the alleged debt. It doesn't matter whether the debt collector contacting you is a collection agency or a collection lawyer.

Contact me to see if I can help you stop unwanted collection calls, intrusions into your private life through unwanted debt collector contact with your family, friends, or employer, abuse and harassment, and other violations of consumer protection laws. You might be entitled to money.

We are interested in hearing from Illinois consumers who received collection letters from collection lawyers attempting to collection homeowners or condo association dues. Such letters may violate the FDCPA by making unlawful threats to file a foreclosure lawsuit against the consumer. If you have received such a letter from an Illinois attorney please contact the Shanfield Law Firm at (312) 638-0819.

The following types of debt collector misconduct violate the law. You can get more information by clicking the links in each section.

  • Creating a sense of urgency in order to bully a consumer into paying a bill immediately;
  • Impersonating a lawyer;
  • Filing or even threatening to file a lawsuit that is past the statute of limitations (5 years for most credit cards in Illinois and 4 years for auto deficiencies);
  • Threats to bring criminal charges against the debtor, have the debtor arrested, or any other references at all to law enforcement - law enforcement will never get involved in a debt collection lawsuit unless a judgment has already been entered against you and you've ignored a "rule to show cause" issued by the Court;
  • Threats to garnish the debtor's wages or take the debtor's personal property when there is no judgment against the debtor;
  • Collecting or threating to collect debts that were discharged in bankruptcy;
  • References to "subpoenas" or "summons" when no lawsuit has been filed against the debtor – these standard intimidation tactics are intended to scare debtors into paying money they might not even owe;
  • Reference from bottom feeder collectors to nonsense like "fraud investigations" or "pre-legal" departments or referring to themselves as "officer";
  • Referring to a "case number" withing a lawsuit having been filed;
  • Contacting family members, neighbors, friends, and employers about the debt – debt collectors are only allowed to contact others when they have no known location information for you; anything else is a powerfully effective and unlawful abuse designed to shame you into paying;
  • Harassing telephone calls – calling multiple times a day or at inconvenient times or places (including your place of work if you notified the collector you're not to receive such calls at work);
  • Any course, abusive, or racist language or swearing;
  • Reporting or continuing to report the alleged debt on the consumer's credit report if the consumer disputes the debt;
  • Contacting a debtor who requested in writing the debt collector cease all communications – you have the right to be free of most communications from a debt collector;
  • Contacting a debtor who is known by the debt collector to be represented by an attorney – this is another powerful and illegal weapon in a debt collector's arsenal. A consumer contacted in the absence of her attorney is left without the benefit of her attorney's experience. It is a violation of state and federal law for a debt collector to contact a represented consumer. In addition, it is a violation of the rules of ethics for an attorney debt collector to knowingly contact a represented consumer;
  • Suing a consumer anywhere but where the consumer signed the contract or presently resides.

You can view the specific provisions of the the Fair Debt Collection Practice prohibiting lies and harassment here. It's remarkably clear to read and will help you better understand your rights.

Keep a notepad by your telephone to make a record of the date and time of every collection call you receive. Be sure to write down the name and telephone number of the collector, the name of the agency, the name of the collector (they often use fake names but can be identified within their agency by them), any "account numbers" or "case numbers," and exactly what the collector said to you. If you prefer, you can use the Collection Communications Log prepared for your convenience by Peter Barry of Barry & Slade in Minneapolis.

For a free confidential consultation please call (312) 638-0819.

Fax collection letters, loan documents, or other documentary evidence of illegal business activity to us at (312) 638-9136 or email to The Shanfield Law Firm represents people in individual and class actions in several types of cases. You understand that sending a fax or email the Shanfield Law Firm, Ltd. does not contractually obligate our firm to represent you. We can only serve as your attorney if both you and our firm agree, in writing, that we will do so.