Credit Card Defense


The big question for many is what is the statute of limitations for credit card debts in Illinois, 10 years or 5 years? For years, credit card companies and debt buyers from credit card companies have tried to collect debts up to 10 years old in Illinois. This is because the statute of limitation for a debt arising from a written contract is 10 years in Illinois. However, the statute of limitation for an oral contract and a general account stated is only 5 years in Illinois.

Based upon a theory first originated by our firm, a very important decision was recently rendered in the Illinois Appellate Court. The case of Portfolio Acquisitions v. Feltman, No. 1-07-3004 (May 20, 2009) held that the five-year statute of limitations applies for a complaint by debt collector against defendant for collection of credit card account balance.

Debt collectors frequently try to collect debts beyond the statute of limitation. They try to trick, lure or otherwise persuade people to pay even a little bit of the debt to revive the statute of limitation. We often refer to this sort of debt as “zombie debt” because it seems to arise from the dead to haunt you.  If you get sued for “zombie debt,” we’ll sue the debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and seek damages and attorneys’ fees.

Proof of Debt


Many credit card collection lawsuit attorneys do not have evidence that you owe the money. In order to collect money on a contract in Illinois, a party is required to produce a copy of the original contract, which is the agreement between the parties. You are entitled to request production of the contract to determine your obligations and defenses under that original contract.


As the alleged debtor, are entitled to know whether the party suing you has standing to collect the debt. If the debt collector is different from the original creditor, you are entitled to see a chain of ownership that establishes whether the debt collector owns the right to sue on the debt. Otherwise, you might pay this collector off and then be sued later by another creditor who claims to own the debt. So, you have to know who owns this debt if the original creditor is not the one try to collect against you.


Trial rules of evidence apply to credit card collection lawsuits. The debt collector must present sufficient evidence to meet the burden of proof as to the elements of the case. Experienced credit card lawsuit defense lawyers object to the improper admission of hearsay evidence. Business records must be authenticated by a competent live witness. Yet, credit card collection attorneys rarely have a live witness appear in court or are not willing to go through the trouble and expense of producing one.


More often than not, credit card collection attorneys often only have an account summary and not the original credit transaction receipts. Sometimes they do not have any itemization of the amount of the principal balance, the amount of finance charges, or the amount of account fees. The account summary they get when the case is referred to them usually contains only a total balance owed as of a certain date. Make them present all of these documents before the case gets to trial because they will likely be unable to.