Consumer Rights and Responsibilities

 

Protect yourself against identity theft, as well as abusive and predatory lending and credit tactics.

Consumer rights protections ensure that everyone is treated equally when it comes to loans and credit. It also ensures that companies deal with consumers fairly. Knowing your rights is essential to protecting your household against potential financial abuse. This webinar will teach you about your rights and responsibilities, so you can take the appropriate action to ensure you always get fair treatment.

Key Consumer Rights Laws

Here’s a quick guide to the consumer rights laws that protect you from unfair lending practices, credit fraud, misleading advertisements and abusive collections tactics.

Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA)

This law requires consumers to enroll in pre-bankruptcy credit counseling prior to filing for bankruptcy. It also creates protections, such as an automatic stay on foreclosure and collection actions once you file. However, the law also protects creditors by limiting how often you can file for bankruptcy and creating a means test to determine eligibility for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA)

This law sets rules for how credit repair companies operate. It includes protections like requiring any company that claims to provide credit repair services to have a state-licensed attorney on staff. It also prevents companies from charging fees until at least one dispute is successfully resolved.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)

This law makes it illegal for lenders to discriminate against an individual based on their race, religion, age, marital status or need for public assistance. A lender cannot deny you credit or assess higher interest rates and fees based on these criteria.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The FCRA guarantees your right to an accurate credit report. It lays out the procedure that credit bureaus must provide to allow consumers to correct inaccurate and erroneous information. It also stipulates who can (and can’t) access your credit report.

Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act)

This is an amendment to the FCRA that requires all credit reporting agencies (i.e. the credit bureaus) to provide one free copy of a consumer’s credit report every twelve months. As a result of this law, you can download your reports for free from each bureau once per year through annualcreditreport.com.

Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA)

This law includes tow key protects with reagrd to credit card bills. The first is that you have 60 days from the day you receive a bill to dispute a charge with the credit issuer. The second provision allows you to dispute charges over the phone when your credit card is lost or stolen. Prior to this law, you were required to make disputes by letter.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

This is a crucial consumer protection law that regulates debt collection tactics. It details when collection agencies can contact you, what they can and can’t say, and makes it illegal to use abusive, deceptive or harassing behaviors in an effort to scare or force you into repayment.

Fair Housing Act

This law outlaws discrimination by mortgage lenders and housing providers. It says that you cannot be discriminated against based on race, age, gender, marital status, disability or religion. Housing providers can’t target advertising only to a specific group. This includes rental agreements, as well as mortgages.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

The SCRA was established in 2003 to protect military personnel serving on active-duty from predatory credit practices during deployment. It caps interest rates at 6% during deployment and provides rules for exiting leasing agreements and stopping eviction proceedings.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

Passed in 1991, this law bans telemarketers from calling from calling you before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM. It also created the National Do Not Call registry.

Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR)

This law controls when telemarketers can call you, as well as prohibiting financial and credit service providers from charging fees until a service has been provided.

Truth in Lending Act (TILA)

This law requires lenders to offer clear, uniform disclosures about financing agreements BEFORE a loan agreement is signed. It requires lenders to disclose the rates, fees, monthly payments and total cost of a loan prior to getting your signature to secure the final loan agreement.

Uniform Debt Management Services Act (UDMSA)

Under this law, debt management and debt settlement services are required to register with the government. It also sets the fee structure for such services to ensure that fees are reasonable and applied at the right time once a service has been rendered.