It’s safe to say that as individuals we are aware of our basic rights, our countries and state laws under the Constitution. However, are we aware of our rights as consumers, are we aware of the laws that are set to protect us as consumers?
We constantly purchase goods and services for our personal use, so it is important to be informed on rules and regulations that protect us as consumers.
In the world of credit, there are specific Acts that have been put in place to safeguard us from unethical practices such as The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), The Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA), The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law that was established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to control how information surrounding your credit is gathered, shared, and used. It was passed in 1970 to secure fairness, accuracy, and privacy of the personal information held by credit reporting agencies (www.ftc.gov/credit). When it comes to credit reporting agencies they try to gather all the financial information about you they possibly can. Through the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), as a consumer you are entitled to a yearly free credit report which you can obtain through Annual Credit Report https://www.annualcreditreport.com. If you were to find any item inaccurate or unverifiable, the credit bureau in which is reflecting the error must remove it. Keep in mind that as a consumer, you have the right under the FCRA to dispute any item you find incorrect, and the credit bureaus are required to fix it within 30 days. Now, if the item in question is verified, the credit bureaus must give you a complete explanation in writing as to why it’s accurate.
**If you need any assistance in retrieving your credit report or interpreting it, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 1-855-532-8453
The Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) was signed into law in September 1996 for the sole purpose of regulating the credit repair industry in order to protect consumers from unprincipled practices. Through CROA, credit repair companies are not permitted to misrepresent the services they provide. For example, they cannot guarantee the removal of any negative item, advise you to make any untrue statements regarding your credit history, and cannot accept any kind of payment until services have been performed. Knowing your rights under CROA can assist you in identifying the difference between lawful credit repair organizations versus fraudulent credit repair organizations.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a law that protects you the consumer from debt collectors. It’s safe to say that many of us have had our share of words with a debt collector, and at times the conversations that have taken place may have turned unpleasant. I am happy to inform you that this law stops debt collectors from engaging in any offensive and misleading behavior when trying to collect a debt. This can include, calling you after 9:00 pm or before 8:00 am local time, contacting you at work, speaking to anyone other than your spouse or attorney, misrepresenting themselves, using vulgar or threatening language, and/or calling you excessively. As a consumer, you have the right to demand that they stop contacting you by written notice, and if they continue to do so then they’re in complete violation. Also, any person calling you to collect a debt must identify themselves and communicate that any information you provide will be used to collect the debt in question. Therefore, be mindful about the information you are giving out, and don’t hesitate to let them know that you are well aware of this law if needed.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was passed by the United States Congress in 1991. This Act regulates telemarketing calls, auto-dialed calls, prerecorded calls, text messages, and unsolicited faxes http://www.experian.com/regulatory-compliance/consumer-information/tcpa-telephone-consumer-protection-act.htm. TCPA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) work hand in hand, and together have rules that we should all be conscious of as consumers. Solicitors are prohibited from calling residences before 8:00am and after 9:00pm local time, they are required to maintain a specific DNC (Do Not Call) list that you can request to be on at any moment, and they must honor that request for 5 years. All solicitors must provide you with their name, the name of the person or company on whose behalf the call is being made, and contact information such as telephone or address in which the company can be contacted by you.
As consumers it’s crucial for us to be informed of the laws that have been put in place for our protection. We need to be aware of our rights because it’s in our best interest. We’ll also be more equipped in knowing how to handle specific situations when confronted with them.