What is the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act?
Understanding the ICFA
The Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICFA) is a broad piece of legislation that gives Illinois citizens powerful protections against a wide range of behavior. At its most broad level, the Act prohibits unfair methods of competition and unfair acts and practices in the conduct of commerce. The language of the Act incorporates elements of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which also prohibits unfair and deceptive business practices. In addition to this very broad language, the Act contains specific provisions that regulate 64 different commercial activities. For all practical purposes, most consumers rely on the Act's prohibition of unfair and deceptive practices to make their case.
This is particularly true when consumers bring adversary proceedings against their creditors in a bankruptcy case, or when a consumer files a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lawsuit against a debt collector. When a creditor attempts to collect a debt in violation of the automatic stay, it may also be violating ICFA. Consumers who have valid ICFA claims may seek their actual damages and punitive damages, with a few exceptions.