Consumer Protection Laws
Here are some of the laws that protect consumers in the realm of credit and debt. They also apply to businesses who are seeking credit as well.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA): This is a law that protects you against discrimination in matters of credit. While many creditors and lenders may request information from you for demographic purposes, it cannot be used to deny you credit, or to somehow influence credit decisions with regard to you. ECOA protects you from credit discrimination based on age, religion, race, marital status, gender, sexual preference, national origin or whether you receive some sort of public assistance.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): This is a law designed to ensure that proper measures are taken to ensure that the information reported in your credit file is correct. Credit bureaus and other consumer reporting agencies must make an effort to verify that information they provide to others is accurate and timely. This law also allows you to dispute negative and inaccurate information in your credit file. When you dispute something, the credit bureau must investigate.
Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA): Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA): As more and more business is conducted – and consumer purchases are made – using electronic methods, there is a good chance that mistakes will be made. When inaccuracies arise in credit and billing and electronic fund transfer, the FCBA and EFTA are there to help make sure that everything is fixed properly. These laws provide regulations addressing fraud, theft and other issues common to the digital age.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): This is a law designed to protect those who may have got in over their heads with regard to debt. While companies that you owe money to can sue you for repayment, they are not allowed to harass you or deal with you abusively. FDCPA is a law that states that there are some practices that debt collectors must adhere to:
- No calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- No calling at work if your boss does not like it.
- No using abusive language or profanity.
- No threats.
- No lies or implications that a crime has been committed.
- Debt collectors must stop contacting you if you request it in writing.
These rules apply to a wide variety of debts, including medical bills, credit cards and other consumer loans and car loans, as well as other household debts.
It is important that you know your rights. You should be careful to understand what is in consumer protection laws. It can provide you with good information that can keep you from getting into worse trouble. You can learn more about consumer protection laws by visiting the government's Federal Trade Commission Web site at www.ftc.gov.
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