What rights do Illinois debtors have?

A woman is refusing to pay a $20 charge that she incurred on her Kohl's credit card in November of 2013 due to claims that the company harassed her about the past due debt. Her attorney alleges that the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which states that calls cannot be made to a cell phone with an automatic dialer without that person's consent.

It is unclear if Kohl's customer service has been making the calls or if they have been coming from a third-party debt collector. If the calls have been coming from a debt collection agency, that company could be in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that forbids debt collection calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. In her complaint, the woman claims that calls have been made during restricted hours.

In the event that either Kohl's or a third-party debt collector has violated the law, the woman could be compensated for the harassment. However, it is also possible that the overdue debt on her credit report could lower her credit score for as many as seven years. Additionally, late fees and interest may continue to accrue on the balance that she owes. Due to penalties and other charges, the initial debt of $20 has grown to $100.

Those who dispute a debt have the right to negotiate a lower payment or have the payment waived by either the original creditor or debt collectors seeking payment. For those who are not getting the results that they want, it may be beneficial to hire an attorney to provide assistance in resolving the matter.

Source: Lowcards.com, " Woman Sues Kohl’s Over Harassment for $20 Credit Card Bill", Lynn Oldshue, June 26, 2014

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