Understanding Your Legal Rights

By: Gabriel B. Avalos

The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to promote accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of every one of the three major credit reporting agencies. Those files, better know as your credit report contain information on where you live, have lived, when you were born, how you pay your bills, and whether you have any judgments, collections, slow pays, liens, or if you’ve filed for bankruptcy.

Ideally, your credit report is an accurate, up-to-date reflection of your credit history. However, since we don't live in an ideal world, there are many reasons that your credit report could contain errors that might prevent you from getting the credit you deserve.

In only seconds, creditors can use the information found in your credit report to decide whether you qualify for a loan or credit card, and landlords, employers, and insurers can base an offer for an apartment, job or a insurance policy on this information as well.

Credit cannot be denied based on your age (if you are at least 18 years of age), racial background, sex, marital status, religion, national origin, or the fact that your income is derived from a public assistance program.

These rights are protected by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. (ECOA)

Under federal law, you are also entitled to a free credit report if a company takes adverse action against you, like denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment, and you asked for your report within 60-days of receiving notice of the action. A recent amendment to the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.

The FCRA promotes the accuracy and privacy of information found in the files of the credit bureaus. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), our nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the FCRA with respect to consumer reporting companies. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act protects consumers from debt collectors. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices while trying to collect a debt.

  • Debt collectors may not contact you at your workplace knowing your employer disapproves.
  • Debt collectors may not lie, such as falsely implying you have committed a crime.
  • Debt collectors may not misrepresent the amount of your debt.
  • Debt collectors may not use a false name, or send you a document that looks like an official document from a courthouse, or governmental agency.
  • Debt collectors may not use threats, obscene or profane language, or repeated use of the telephone to annoy someone.

Debt collectors MUST stop contacting you if you ask them to do so in writing. Email or call us directly at (206) 423-6733 for a sample letter to stop any collectors from harassing you at home or at your place of business. If you feel violated of your consumer rights - You have the right to SUE! Call the Federal Trade Commission for more information 877-FTC-HELP. 

For more informationFeature Articles, please contact Gabriel Avalos directly @ 206.423.6733 or online at www.teamavalos.com.

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