Your Consumer Rights

By: Terry J. Rigg

Your Consumer Rights
By Terry Rigg

If you have ever fallen behind on your debts you already know
that dealing with your creditors can be a hassle. Sometimes
it can be downright humiliating. It doesn't have to be that
way.

With millions of people experiencing financial problems it is
absolutely necessary for everyone to know and understand their
rights as a consumer.

Federal law requires that you receive fair and equal treatment
from businesses issuing credit. This law applies when they
evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment,
and even leases.

The one area where I receive the most complaints are from
individuals that are being harassed by debt collectors. These
complaints range from debt collectors contacting their work and
family members to being called names. All of these are a direct
violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
This article spells out exactly what your rights are as a
consumer.

I have copied some areas of this article directly from the
Federal Trade Commission's web site to ensure that the
information is explained exactly as the law applies. These
areas are identified.

The FDCPA lists the following guidelines that must be followed
by all debt collectors:

(Copied from the Federal Trade Commission web site)
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~~Debt collectors may contact you only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
~~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 that you have committed a crime.
~~Debt collectors must identify themselves to you on the phone.
~~Debt collectors must stop contacting you if you ask them to
in writing.

It also prohibits debt collectors from engaging in unfair,
deceptive, or abusive practices while collecting these debts.
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It is very important to keep a record of any contact you make
with your creditors especially when there is a dispute or
misunderstanding regarding your account.

You should list the
name and address of the company, date and time of the call, the
name of the person you spoke with and the content of the call.
I have developed a form that can be used for this purpose.
You can find it at http://www.homemoneyhelp.com/ccrs.html

Another important aspect of your consumer rights is Credit
Reporting. Derogatory information in your Credit Report can
have serious consequences. It is ultimately your responsibility
to ensure that the information in your credit report is accurate
and up to date.

There are numerous companies that offer "Free Credit Reports",
however, you are obligated to sign up for their "Debt Monitoring
Service" which usually costs about $80. You will receive a free
credit report and if you cancel your monitoring service within 30
days it will cost you nothing. Your best bet is to order your
credit report directly from a Credit Reporting Agency. It will
only cost you about $9. Below is a list of the three main
companies:

Equifax
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 03074-0241
(800) 685-1111

Experian
PO Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
(888) EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

Trans Union
PO Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
(800) 916-8800

I would advise you to visit the below link to find out exactly
how to obtain your credit report:

http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/money/fair-credit/fair-crd.htm

Having knowledge of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting
Act (FCRA)can save you a lot of time and trouble when you apply
for credit. The following explains these rights.

(Copied from the Federal Trade Commission web site)
----------------------------------------------------------------
Your Credit Report
Your credit payment history is recorded in a file or report.
These files or reports are maintained and sold by "consumer
reporting agencies" (CRAs). One type of CRA is commonly known
as a credit bureau. You have a credit record on file at a credit
bureau if you have ever applied for a credit or charge account,
a personal loan, insurance, or a job. Your credit record
contains information about your income, debts, and credit
payment history. It also indicates whether you have been sued,
arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to help ensure
that CRAs furnish correct and complete information to businesses
to use when evaluating your application.

Your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act:

~~You have the right to receive a copy of your credit report.
The copy of your report must contain all of the information in
your file at the time of your request.
~~You have the right to know the name of anyone who received
your credit report in the last ~~year for most purposes or in
the last two years for employment purposes.
~~Any company that denies your application must supply the name
and address of the CRA they contacted, provided the denial was
based on information given by the CRA.
~~You have the right to a free copy of your credit report when
your application is denied because of information supplied by
the CRA. Your request must be made within 60 days of receiving
your denial notice.
~~If you contest the completeness or accuracy of information
in your reportFree Articles, you should file a dispute with the CRA and with
the company that furnished the information to the CRA. Both the
CRA and the furnisher of information are legally obligated to
reinvestigate your dispute.
~~You have a right to add a summary explanation to your credit
report if your dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction.
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If you believe that your rights have been violated under one of
these laws you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade
Commission online at:
https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

While these laws won't eliminate your obligation to pay your
just debts they can prevent debt collectors and others from
taking advantage of you.

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