Consumer » Credit Protection Consumer Law- Consumer Reports, Consumers Energy, Consumer Cellular, Consumer Report Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:43:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fair & Accurate Credit Transaction Act Sat, 04 Apr 2015 14:07:55 +0000
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) was introduced in 2003 as an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FACTA allows for consumers to obtain a free credit federal report once every year from one of three credit federal report agencies. These agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
A credit report is basically a history of credit transactions that a person has made throughout his or her lifetime. It is also commonly referred to as a credit score. Credit federal reports will include any delinquent behavior on the part of the consumer. This will include failure to pay creditors, late payments, and bankruptcy.
In addition to guaranteeing an annual free credit report, the FACTA also includes several rules and regulations that will protect consumers against identity theft. Identity theft occurs when a person will steal information from the wronged party and basically assume the identity of this person in order to make purchases or withdraw money.
The FACTA attempts to guard against this by allowing consumers who believe they may be the victim of identity theft to place their credit federal history under review. The consumer can alert the credit agency that he or she believes there has been an act of fraud committed and the agency will place a hold on the account. The FACTA will also ensure that credit agencies are disbursing of credit information in a secure manner.
The FACTA has several main areas of importance. The Identity Theft Prevention and Credit History Restoration section will protect certain areas of a person's credit history to avoid identity theft. For example, it may restrict certain businesses from printing a person's credit card number on his or her receipt to avoid theft. It also monitors the situations in which a person can place their credit history on alert for suspected fraud.
The Protection and Restoration of Identity Theft Victim Credit History section will include provisions that summarize the rights of those individuals who have fallen victim to identity theft. Credit report agencies are required to block or dispose of any information that is considered to be part of the result of the identity theft. However, if the suspected identity theft was actually in error, then the agency is not required to block any of this information and may re-release it.
There are several free credit federal reporting agencies that will offer a person's credit score and credit history. However, the FACTA only monitors the three free credit report agencies listed above. Other credit agencies will generally offer only an initial free credit report. After this, consumers will normally be charged on a monthly basis to continue accessing their credit report.
A free credit report can be obtained under the FACTA guidelines by making a request through mail, phone call, or by accessing the website. There are a variety of free credit report websites that can be accessed by doing an Internet search.

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Garnishment of Wages Sat, 04 Apr 2015 14:07:55 +0000
The term garnishment basically means that when an amount of money is owed by a person, such as a defendant in a lawsuit, the courts will allow a third party to pay off the defendant's debt directly to the plaintiff. Wage garnishment is possibly the most common type of garnishment. This is when a certain amount of money is withdrawn from a person's wages in order to pay the debt. 
Wage garnishment may be due to the directions of a court order. Basically, a certain amount of money will be deducted from a person's salary in order to pay off some kind of debt. Types of debt that must be paid off are commonly: child support, student loans, taxes, or attorneys/court fees.
There are Federal rules and regulations that will monitor the practices of wage garnishment. For example, there is a limit to the amount of money that can be withdrawn. Federal law normally mandates that no more than 25% of a person's income may be deducted.
There are also certain states whose legislature does not allow for garnishment of wages: North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas. These states will allow deduction of wages for certain things, but will prohibit it for things such as credit card debt. Legislation regarding threshold percentages may also vary by State. Although 25% is the norm, some states mandate a lower percentage that is allowed to be deducted from wages. 
People cannot generally refuse wage garnishment, meaning that if this is mandated by the court, they must abide by it. If wages are deducted from an employer, this may also negatively affect the employees. This is because if there is not enough money in the employer's salary, it will be deducted from the employees' paychecks. 
When a person is in more than one type of debt, there is a descending order for the wage garnishment process. For example, if a person owes Federal taxes to the Government as well as credit card debt, the Federal taxes will be deducted from wages first. Wage garnishment will often add negative credit to a person's credit report. 
Creditors will normally save wage garnishment until all other methods of collection have been unsuccessful. A debtor should try all other means of paying off creditor before being subjected to wage garnishment. This will negate a debtor’s ability to pay off other bills and may have very negative consequences. The best plan of action to avoid garnishment of wages is to devise a payment plan with credit card companies. This will allow the debtor to pay off the money at intervals without surrendering his or her paycheck. 

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The Fair Credit Reporting Act Sat, 04 Apr 2015 14:07:55 +0000
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is one of many United States legislative Acts that are designed to protect consumers. This Act provides rules and regulations for the collection and distribution of consumer information. The Fair Credit Reporting Act was passed in 1970 and is the basis for which subsequent credit rights legislation has been formed. 
Consumer reporting agencies are businesses that will collect consumer credit reports and store them in their databases. The FCRA monitors the actions of these agencies by requiring certain things:
The agencies must take precaution against incorrect information. Any credit information that is stored about a consumer must be as accurate as possible. If a certain piece of information is disputed by a consumer, the agency must take all the necessary steps to correct it. 
Consumer reporting agencies should provide consumers with all pertinent information about their credit report. The FCRA mandates that a consumer is provided one free record report annually. This can be requested via telephone, mail, or the Internet.  
If a consumer dispute causes negative credit information to be removed from the credit report, this piece of information cannot be added back onto the credit report without proper notification. 
The Fair Credit Reporting Act has specific provisions for the length of time that negative credit report information will be retained by the agencies. For example, if a person declares bankruptcy, there is only a certain period of time that this will be recorded. For most discrepancies, this will be a period of seven years. However, it will vary depending on the type of delinquency. For a person declaring bankruptcy, it is usually a longer time.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act will also clearly define what types of agencies are considered to be consumer reporting agencies. These are companies that will produce and maintain credit reports. Credit reports are basically a history of credit transactions that a person makes throughout his or her lifetime.
A credit history will include any type of delinquency by the person, including bankruptcy. If a person is unable to pay creditors, he or she may declare bankruptcy. This may excuse the person from having to pay back certain loans, but bankruptcy will not erase poor credit history. Usually a bankruptcy remains on a person's credit report for a period of ten years. However, if the bankruptcy claim is dismissed before it is actually filed, the credit repor

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Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Sat, 04 Apr 2015 14:07:55 +0000

What is Fair Debt Collection?
“Fair Debt Collection” is a broad term that refers to the regulation of the U.S. debt collection industry. These regulations, which are enforced at both the local and federal level, aim at promoting an equal procedure regarding the collection of a consumer’s debts. 
At the Federal level, the fair debt collection process is governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Furthermore, a number of U.S. states implement their own debt collection laws that regulate the collection and credit industry and provide consumers protection from abusive and deceptive practices. 
On the local level, a state will utilize a fair debt collection platform in one of two ways: states will implement laws that require individuals who are collecting debts to be registered, licensed or bonded to legally go after such debts in their states, or laws that protect consumers from unfair practices imposed by debt collectors or collection agencies. 
Although not every state implements fair debt collection laws, the unfair practices that are disallowed will generally track those that are also outlawed under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Furthermore, some states will implement a complete prohibition against collecting debts from its residents unless the coordinating collection agency can provide proof of bonding or license. This provision is not uniform, as many jurisdictions will exempt out-of-state collectors from these regulations. Common examples of prohibitions regarding unfair collection practices include the following:  contacting the debtors place of work after been given a notice not do so, posing as or pretending to be a government agency, pretending to be a legal professional or falsely threatening the debtor with a lawsuit. 
Several fair debt collection laws are implemented to provide a private right of action. This provision enables the consumer (individual in debt) to sue the debt collector (or collection agency) if they violate any of the aforementioned provisions. 
What are the Prohibited Practices outlined in the Federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act?
The Federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act prohibits all debt collection agencies and individual debt collectors from using deceptive, unfair or abusive practices. These specific practices that are deemed illegal include the following:
• Harassing: The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits the use of oppressive practices to collect debts. A debt collector cannot threaten to harm or inflict violence on an individual who owes monies. Additionally, the collector or agency cannot publish lists of consumers who refuse to pay their debts, make contact with the debtor’s employer, use profanity when trying to collect debts, make annoying phone calls or attempt to contact the debtor at inconvenient times (after or before 9 a.m./p.m.). 
• Threats: A debt collector or collection agency cannot impose threats of arrests or violence on the debtor. The agency or collector is also barred from threatening lawsuits if they do not intend on taking legal action
• False Statements: Debt collectors, according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, cannot issue false statements when undertaking the debt collection process. A debt collector cannot use misleading statements concerning you or your debts to collect the monies owed.
• Provide False Information: A debt collector may not report incorrect data to anyone, including credit agencies. Debt collectors may not file or send any documents that look like official government or court documents
• Seize: Debt collectors may not seize assets, such as property, from debtors. A debt collector may also not state that they will garnish or seize your wages or property to obtain payments
Required Conduct according to the FDCPA:
The FDCPA requires all debt collectors (and their coordinating debt collection agencies) to partake in the following actions:
• According to the FDCPA a debt collection agency must identify themselves and notify the debtor (in all forms of communication), that the communication is being made by a debt collector. In the initial communication, the collector must state that any collected information will be used to initiate the debt collection process.
• The debt collector, according to the FDCPA, must provide the debtor with the name and address of the original creditor within 30 days of original communication
• The debt, according to the FDCPA, must notify the consumer of their right to dispute the debt (in part or in full). A 30-day notice is required to be sent by the collector within five days of the initial communication with the debtor.
• The FDCPA states that a debt collector must provide a formal verification of the debt if the consumer sends a written dispute or verification request within 30 days of receiving said notice. The debt collector is required under the FDCPA to either mail the consumer the verification information or cease collection efforts altogether. 
• The FDCPA states that a debt collector must file a lawsuit in a proper venue if the agency chooses to seek legal action. The venue must be located in the jurisdiction where the consumer lives or signed the original loan agreement or contract. 
How does the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practice Act Define a Debt Collector?
The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practice Act defines a debt collector in the following ways (note these rules and regulations do not apply to all creditors or government entities who implement legitimate debt collection practices):
• The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act defines all recognized debt collection agencies as debt collectors.
• The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act also defines any entity who uses a false name or falsely represents themselves as collection agencies as debt collectors
• Any collection attorney is viewed as a debt collector under the provisions of the federal fair debt collection practices act
• Creditors who collect debt from other collection agencies are regarded as debt collectors under the provisions of the federal fair debt collection practices act
• Any company or person who purchases a delinquent debt from another entity is ruled a debt collector under the provisions of the federal fair debt collection practices act
• All repossession companies are classified as debt collectors
• And designers or suppliers of fake forms that definitely state that they are a debt collection are classified as debt collectors.
What are my Individual Rights under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
Before the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices act was passed, debt collectors could legally hound and harass you into paying your debts. However, after Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, consumers are now awarded rights as protection from these unscrupulous practices. As a consumer of debt, you are provided the following rights under the Federal Debt Collection practices Act:
• Debt collectors must provide a written notice that informs you to the amount of debt owed, the name of the underlying creditor and the actions you can take to dispute the debt
• In response to a dispute filing, the collector is not allowed to contact you. That being said, the collection process can commence if you receive proof of the outstanding debts.
• If you deliver a payment to a debt collector to fulfill a previous debt obligation, the monies must be applied solely to the underlying debt. Debt collectors are not permitted to apply your payments to debts that you do not owe.
The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Federal Trade Commission:
Each year, the Federal Trade Commission produces a report to the United States Congress concerning its findings with regard to its FDCPA enforcement procedures. This annual report details all consumer complaints filed with the FTC concerning alleged debt collector violations of the Federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. For instance, the 2009 report indicated that the FTC received nearly 79,000 consumer complaints regarding third party debt collectors in the year prior. The FTC will review this document and the attached complains and use its enforcement authority (regarding revisionary powers over the FDCPA) as it sees fit. 
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed in 1978 and is part of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The main purpose of the FDCPA is to ensure that consumers will be treated fairly in regards to debt collection. It will also protect individuals who are attempting to ensure the validity of the debt information against them. When consumers desire to examine their debt information and fix any errors that may be operating against them, the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act will ensure consumer protection.
The FDCPA will not only offer consumer fair debt collection, but will monitor the practices of debt collectors by establishing rules and regulations under which they must operate. These rules and regulations will apply to any agency whose directive is to collect debt that is owed by consumers to some third party, no matter what their means of collection.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply to agencies who collect debt that is owed directly to them; it only covers third part debt collection. However, there is generally other State legislation that will set up provisions for agencies that collect debt that is directly owed to them. The main objective of all this legislation is to protect consumer rights.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits specific behavior by debt collection agencies that is considered to be abusive or deceptive. This behavior includes:
Unnecessary phone calls. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act mandates that a debt collection agency cannot make phone calls to a consumer, except between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Continued communication after a cease of communication request. If a consumer requests in writing that the debt collection agency cease all communication, the agency must respect this. The agency cannot continue communication in any other form except litigation. Further, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the creditor cannot continue to make phone calls at a person's place of employment if this person has informed the agency that this is unacceptable. 
Harassing phone calls. The collection agency cannot continue to make phone calls with the intention to annoy or interfere with the life of the consumer. 
Exposing consumers by making their name and address available to other agencies and marking them as having bad credit.
Making threats of arrest or litigation when these threats are unwarranted.
Editing a consumer's credit report with untrue information.
Becoming unnecessarily abusive with the consumer by using profanities
There is also certain behavior that is required under the rules and regulations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by which a debt collection agency must abide:
Debt collection agency representatives must clearly identify themselves and their purpose for calling, regardless of the form of communication. Consumers should be fully aware that anything they say may be used in connection with the debt collection. 
If a consumer makes a written request to obtain the name and address of the company to which the debt was originally owed, the debt collector must respect this. 
The debt collection agency must make the consumer fully awake that he or she has the right to dispute this payment.
There must be documentation that proves that this debt is actually owed by the consumer. 
If a law suit is brought against a consumer by a collection agency, the suit must be filed in the proper venue, abiding by all the rules and regulations of the court.

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The Truth In Lending Act Sat, 04 Apr 2015 14:07:54 +0000
The Truth in Lending Act (TILA), enacted in 1968, is a Federal law of the United States that ensures consumers will be made aware of the terms when borrowing money and making purchases on credit. It requires all credit companies to be absolutely clear on credit terms so that the consumer will be fully aware of the conditions. 
The TILA restricts the practices of any institution or business that is offering credit to consumers at regular intervals. This generally excludes those who extend credit exclusively to businesses or commercial enterprises. This piece of legislation mandates that credit companies must express their terms and conditions in a written contract that is clear and concise in its terms.
Basically, the terms must be easily understandable by a consumer who has the same knowledge as a reasonable person. Also, the written terms must be made available to the consumer in a form of documentation that the consumer may keep.
A closed credit transaction includes arrangements between a creditor and consumer where there is a specific amount of money financed in advance by the creditor in which the consumer must eventually pay back. A common type of this loan is when a home-buyer or builder requests a mortgage on a house.
A mortgage is a loan that is secured by real property. The mortgage will be awarded in order to provide financing for an individual to purchase or build the home. The mortgage will usually be obtained from the bank. A mortgage will be paid by the recipient, usually monthly, at a specified interest rate. According to the Truth In Lending Act, there are several features of a mortgage loan that must be disclosed by the credit company:
The name of the credit institution or individual creditor
The amount of money that is being financed
Interest rate
Additional charges, such as finance charges
Payment schedule. A detailed schedule that includes exactly how much money will be be paid back, at what intervals, and the dates of due payment
Provisions that will specify what will happen in the event of a failure to pay, including late payment penalties
Any other information that may be necessary for the consumer to be aware of.
If any of these requirements are violated, the credit company will be liable for damages. However, if the creditor fixes the mistake within 60 days of the credit loan. If the error was completely unintentional and the result of a genuine mistake, then the creditor may receive some leniency from the court.
The Truth in Lending Act does not actually regulate prices to credit companies, meaning creditors are able to charge any amount they please for financing money to consumers. The main goal of TILA is to ensure that creditors are disclosing all the terms and conditions associated with the credit loan. This way, consumers are free to compare the fees of creditors and determine what is the best creditor with whom they should do business.

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Credit Protection Overview Sat, 04 Apr 2015 14:07:54 +0000
The Truth-In-Lending Act
The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) protects consumer rights by ensuring that consumers are aware of the terms and conditions of creditors when borrowing money and making credit card purchases. TILA mandates that creditors are absolutely clear in their terms and make a copy of the pertinent information for the consumer to keep. Terms must be easily understood and accessible by the consumer.
TILA often applies to closed credit transactions, which means that a creditor will lend a specific amount of money to a consumer which he or she must then pay back. This is often seen in mortgage loans. There are certain areas of this type of loan which must be made absolutely clear to the consumer. The agreement must include the name of the institution, the amount being financed, the interest rate, payment schedule, and any other necessary provisions.
TILA provides for what type of action may be taken by a consumer provided that the creditor breaks any part of this agreement. If the creditor fixes the error within 60 days, then the agency may not be liable for damages. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) protects consumer rights regarding the collection and distribution of private consumer information. The FCRA establishes a set of rules and responsibilities under which a credit reporting agency must act. A credit reporting agency is a business that will compile and store consumer credit reports.
The FCRA mandates that these agencies must take precaution against incorrect information and take the appropriate steps when a consumer disputes a specific piece of information. These agencies must provide consumers with all information that is pertinent to their credit report. Consumers are allowed one free credit report annually that can be requested via telephone, mail, or electronically. If a piece of credit information is incorrect, it must be removed promptly by the agency. The FCRA restricts certain practices of consumer reporting agencies to ensure that they are treating consumers fairly and properly.

Fair & Accurate Credit Transaction Act
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) allows for consumers to receive one free credit report annually from one of three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. A credit report basically refers to a history of transactions throughout a consumer’s life. It may also be called credit score. This includes information that may negatively affect a credit report, such as late payments, failure to pay, and bankruptcy.
The FACTA also has several regulations that will ensure consumer protection against identity theft. For example, businesses are restricted from printing a person's credit card number on a receipt after a purchase is made. It will also outline the rights of a victim of identity theft, as well as provide a course of action that should be taken. 
Credit report agencies are restricted in certain practices under FACTA. This includes that rule that they are required to dispose promptly of any information that is obtained in error. This Act provides for free credit reports from the above-named agencies, but there are also many other businesses that will offer this. After a free initial viewing, the consumer will generally be charged monthly for use.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed in 1978 and is designed to promote fair debt collection practices. This Act will provide rules and regulations for debt collection agencies and ensure that consumers are able to receive necessary information about their debt records. The FDCPA applies to all agencies that collect debt that is owed to a third party.
The provisions of this Act prevent certain practices by debt collectors, such as: harassing phone calls, the use of profanity, unnecessary threats, using untrue information against the consumer, exposing the consumer's name and address as a person of bad credit, and continuing to contact the consumer after a cease of communication has been requested in writing.
There are also several practices that are required: a collector must clearly identify himself or herself and the purpose for calling, provide the consumer with the name and address of the company to which the debt was originally owed, and ceasing contact after it has been requested. A debt collection agency is also required to inform consumers that they have the right to dispute a claim.

Garnishment of Wages
Garnishment refers to the ability of a third party to directly pay off the debt of another person. This sometimes happens in lawsuits where a court order allows a third party to pay the debt of a defendant directly to the plaintiff. It is also commonly seen in wage garnishment. This is when a portion of a person's wages is deducted in order to pay off a debt. This may happen is order to pay child support, Federal orSstate taxes, student loans, or a credit card company.
There is State legislation that will mandate exactly how much is allowed to be deducted, and there are states that only allow wage garnishment for certain purposes. A person cannot refuse wage garnishment, and if an employer is not able to set aside enough money, it could possibly be taken out of employees' paychecks. This can be very detrimental to the consumer.
This is why it is always beneficial to pay off credit card debt. Most times, a person will be able to pay off the money at intervals by setting up a payment schedule. Wage garnishment is usually a last effort by a creditor to collect debts. 

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