|Terry Rigg is the editor of the Budget Stretcher Newsletter. The
Budget Stretcher Newsletter is published monthly and is loaded with
information that will save you time and money everyday. Go to
http://www.homemoneyhelp.com for more information.
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)
collectors may contact you only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
collectors may not contact you at work if they know your
collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you.
collectors may not lie when collecting debts, such as falsely
implying that you have committed a crime.
collectors must identify themselves to you on the phone.
collectors must stop contacting you if you ask them to in
It also prohibits debt collectors
from engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices while
collecting these debts.
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.
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:
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 03074-0241
PO Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
(888) EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
PO Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
I would advise you to visit this
link to find out exactly how to obtain your credit report:
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
(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
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.
have the right to know the name of anyone who received your
credit report in the last
for most purposes or in the last two years for employment
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.
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.
contest the completeness or accuracy of information in your
report, 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.
have a right to add a summary explanation to your credit
report if your dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction.
If you believe that your rights have
been violated under one of these laws you can file a complaint with
Trade Commission online.
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.