Credit Laws that Protect Consumers’ Rights
What credit laws should you know?
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
Consumers have specific rights including the right to learn what information about them is in their credit bureau files, as well as the right to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information. Credit bureaus, collection agencies, and creditors are given a reasonable time to respond to a request for investigation or the derogatory information must be removed (30-45 days). Recent amendments impose responsibilities upon those who furnish information to consumer reporting agencies.
Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA)
This is an amendment to the FCRA to prevent fraud and identity theft. Its purpose is to improve the accuracy of consumer records, make improvements in the consumer’s ability to access their credit information, and enhance their ability to use that information.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Collection companies must validate debt with detailed billing history and endorsed contracts. The purpose of this law is to eliminate abusive collection practices, promote fair debt collection and to provide consumers with an avenue for disputing and obtaining validation of debt information in order to ensure the information’s accuracy. Cease and desist letters to collection companies are allowed under this law.
Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA)
This law is an amendment to the Truth in Lending Act of 1968, and is the basis for Validation of Debt and Admission of Silence. Its purpose is to protect consumers from unfair billing practices and to provide a mechanism for addressing billing errors in “open end” credit accounts. Primary creditors must be able to validate accounts were legitimately opened and maintained with statements and original contracts.
Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)
Known as the privacy law, it sets the standards for electronic health care transactions stating that medical care providers cannot disclose personal medical information to a 3rd party.
Texas Finance Code Title 5, Section 393
Credit service companies must have a Surety Bond with a recognized surety company and be registered/licensed with the Texas Secretary of State before collecting money prior to services.
FTC Facts for Consumers
The FTC website provides various resources for consumers