The Bar News

Credit card debt collection: what's the statute of limitations in Illinois?

Is a credit card company's agreement with a cardholder a written or an oral contract? That's an important question in collection cases, because the period available for suing on the debt is 10 years for written contracts but only five for oral agreements. "[O]ne might well think that a credit card agreement would qualify as a written contract because credit cards are generally issued pursuant to a written card member agreement," write Judge Daniel T. Gillespie and Kathilynne Grotelueschen in the latest Trial Briefs, newsletter of the ISBA Civil Practice Section. "In fact," they continue "for years the collective wisdom was that there was a 10-year statute of limitations on credit card debt...." But then along came the first district's ruling in Portfolio Acquisitions, LLC v. Feltman, where the court found otherwise. The Feltman majority ruled "that the monthly statements are not complete agreements and therefore do not qualify as written evidence of indebtedness under the statute," Gillespie and Grotelueschen write. Thus, no written contract and no 10 year statute of limitations. Interesting and important case, interesting and noteworthy article.
Posted on November 2, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
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