Credit Reports- Know Your Rights
Your credit payment history is on file maintained and sold by credit bureaus. If you have ever applied for a credit or charge account, a personal loan, insurance, or a job then you have a file at a credit bureau. This file contains information regarding your income, debts, and credit payment history as well as whether you have been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act was created to ensure that credit bureaus furnish correct and complete information to businesses to use when evaluating your application.
Your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act are:
- You have the right to receive a copy of your credit report containing all the information in your file at the time of the request.
- You have the right to know the name of anyone who requests your credit report in the last year for most purposes and the last two years for employment purposes.
- A company who denies your credit application must provide you with the name and address of the credit bureau they used if the application was denied based on information from the credit bureau.
- You have the right to get a free copy of your credit report when a credit application is denied because of information provided by the credit bureau. Your request must be made within 60 days of receiving the notice of denial.
- If you contest the completeness or accuracy of information in your report, you should rile a dispute with the credit bureau and the company who provided the information to the bureau. Both the credit bureau and the furnisher of information are legally obligated to investigate your dispute.
- You have the right to add a summary explanation to your credit report if a dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction.
Credit Applications- Know Your Rights
Creditors can not engage in discriminatory practices when evaluating a credit application . The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits credit discrimination on the basis of sex, race, marital status, religion, national origin, age, or receipt of public assistance Creditors may request this information with the exception of religion in certain situations, but may not use it to discriminate when deciding whether to grant credit.
The ECOA protects consumers dealing with companies who extend credit including banks, small loan and financing companies, retail and department stores, credit card companies, and credit unions. Everyone involved in the decision whether or not to grant you credit including real estate brokers must follow this law and businesses applying for credit are also protected by this law.
Your rights under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act:
- You cannot be denied credit based on race, sex, marital status, religion, age, national origin, or receipt of public assistance.
- You have the right to have reliable public assistance considered in the same manner as other income.
- If you are denied credit, you have the legal right to know the reason.
Credit Billing & EFT Statements- Know Your Rights
It is important that you regularly check your credit billing and electronic fund transfer (EFT) in case they contain any mistake that could damage your credit status or improperly reflect charges or transfers. If you find any discrepancies notify the company and immediately contest the error.
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) have established procedures to resolve mistakes on credit billing and electronic fund transfer account statements, including:
- Charges or electronic fund transfers that you, or anyone you have authorized to use your account, have not made.
- Charges or electronic fund transfers that are incorrectly identified or show an incorrect date or amount.
- Computation or similar errors.
- Failure to reflect payments, credits, or electronic fund transfers properly.
- Not mailing or delivering credit billing statements to your current address given that the current address was received by the creditor in writing at least 20 days before the billing period ended.
- Charges or electronic fund transfers for which you request an explanation or documentation, due to a possible error.
The FCBA generally applies to “open end” credit accounts such as credit cards, resolving charge accounts such as department store accounts, and overdraft checking accounts. It does not apply to loans or credit sales that are paid according to a fixed schedule until the entire amount is paid back, as in automobile loans. The EFTA applies to electronic fund transfers including those involving ATMs, point-of-sale debit transactions, and other electronic banking transactions.
Debt & Debt Collectors- Know Your Rights
You are responsible for your debt and if you fall behind on payments or an error is made on your account, you may be contacted by a “debt collector”. A debt collector is any person, other than the creditor, who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes lawyers if they collect debts on a regular basis. You are entitled to fair treatment by debt collectors.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) applies to personal, family, and household debts including money owed for purchase of a car, for medical care, or for charge accounts. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices while they attempt to collect these debts.
Your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:
- Debt collectors may contact you only between 8AM and 9PM.
- Debt collectors may not contact you at work if they know your employer disapproves.
- Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you.
- Debt collectors may not lie when collecting debts, such as falsely implying you have committed a crime.
- Debt collectors must identify themselves as such on the phone.
- Debt collectors must stop contacting you if you ask them to in writing.