Know Your Rights: What Every Consumer Needs to Know
Building good credit history is extremely important. There are many things that you can be deprived of if you don't have a good credit history.
The magnitude of building credit goes far beyond clothes and groceries. It is more than just those petty cash advances or cash back rewards. Building credit would appropriately mean building your life as well.
Why? Simply because the way you handle your credit places a great impact on your way of life, on your career, the way you transact business with other people, and even on the place where you live.
Your credit history is one of the most important factors employers, lenders, property owners, or business owners will consider.
For this reason, it is extremely important for you to learn how credit is bestowed or rejected. It is also imperative to know what to do in case you have been unduly reported.
In the United States, the Federal Government had provided its citizens certain major laws that control credit. These rights have been stated as provisions on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act.
With these two particular laws, every consumer is entitled to such rights stated therein. It is extremely important that consumers know these rights so as to bear witness on whatever maltreatments or bad practices of debt collectors and lenders.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is one of the written laws of the United States, which had been included in the United States Code as Title VIII of the “Consumer Credit Protection Act.”
The main focus of this particular law is on the guaranteed “ethical practices” in the ways of collecting debts upon the consumers. It also seeks to present consumers with an opportunity to obtain and dispute legalization of any information regarding a particular debt so as to guarantee the data’s correctness.
In essence, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act encourages just, rational, and non-discriminatory treatment of consumers by forbidding debt collectors from utilizing unjust, offensive, or misleading actions.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is applicable to qualified debt collectors capable of collecting loans that they didn't create.
However, this act doesn't theoretically pertain to department stores, banks, and other lending institutions that have their own debt collectors; no lending company of good reputation is allowed to make use of the said practices.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the following provisions were made:
- Debt collectors are only allowed to contact other people, aside from the debtor himself, only to find out any whereabouts of the debtor.
- Debt collectors aren't allowed to contact the debtor before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. local time.
- Debt collectors aren't permitted to intimidate, pressure, or make threats to the consumer with legal action or arrest if it is not duly planned, considered, or made known to third parties, or at least talk about debts with them.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act upholds the confidentiality, discretion, and truth of information as used in creating customer credit reports. It seeks to control the distribution, collection, and utilization of “consumer credit information.”
Under this law, the credit reporting agencies are required to uphold absolute, full, and accurate files and information.
With this act, consumers are entitled to receive their credit reports and to take actions to validate the correctness of information contested by a customer.
The consumers are entitled to such actions under this law:
1. Credit bureaus are permitted to provide credit reports only to those with a lawful business cause
Credit bureaus are not allowed to disclose any information or credit report to institutions that have no legal basis as to their request for particular credit report information. Only entities such as insurers, employers, creditors, and government agencies are allowed to receive an individual’s credit report as part of the evaluation process.
2. The consumer’s right to know regarding denied credit
In cases like denied credit, consumers have the right to know about the details of such report. With this, consumers can identify which credit bureau issued such report.
In this way, the consumer will be able to check if there has been any discrepancy.
These are just some of the rights consumers can enjoy under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
With these laws, the rights of the consumer to a just and fair treatment are upheld.