When it comes to matters pertaining to your credit it is not uncommon to feel like it is you against the world. What you may not know is that there are several rules and regulations that are aimed at protecting you against credit discrimination, abuse, or improper handling of your information. Taking notice of these rules and their requirements can be the key to protecting your rights as a consumer.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) was enacted in 1974 to keep credit equally available to all qualified applicants. The act prevents any creditor from discriminating against any applicant on the basis of religion, race, color, sex, national origin, age, marital status, or receipt of public assistance. The authority to enforce the ECOA was given to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation. An individual can report a claim of discrimination to either the ECOA, CFPB, or the state Attorney General’s office.
Fair Credit Billing Act
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) was enacted in 1974 as an amendment to the Truth in Lending Act. The purpose of the act is to protect consumers from unfair billing practices and to provide a pathway for addressing billing errors in credit or charge card accounts. Errors covered by the act include; charges that were reported but not actually made by the consumer, charges in the wrong amount, charges for goods not received, calculation errors, or statements made to the wrong address. The key to using the FCBA’s protection is to act quickly and properly. Once there is an erroneous charge a consumer will have 60 days to provide written notice to the card issuer. The issuer must then acknowledge receipt within 30 days and resolve it within the next two billing cycles. The only exception to this rule is in the case of lost cards or stolen information. In these cases, the act allows you to phone in your dispute, and the 60-day limit does not apply.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
Individuals are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of their credit score. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted by Congress to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of the consumer reporting agencies of credit reports. A person’s consumer report (or credit report) contains information about your credit such as how often you make your payments on time, how much credit you have, how much credit is available to you, and whether a debt or bill collector is collecting on money you owe. A 2015 study reported that 23% of consumers reported inaccuracies on their reports. The FCRA assures that individuals are able to obtain a free credit report from each credit reporting agency once a year. If you find an inaccuracy, there is a two-year statute of limitations to bring a claim.
Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA)
The use of electronic funds transfers has been increasing since the late 1970s. In recognition of this, President Jimmy Carter, signed the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to establish the rights and liabilities of consumers and participants in all electronic funds transfer activities. The act is primarily targeted at banking operations such as ATMs, debit cards, and direct deposits, however, it also applies to credit card transactions where electronic fund transfers apply. The EFTA allows consumers to challenge errors and have them corrected within a 45-day period with limited financial penalties. When there are errors, EFTA outlines the requirements for banking institutions to follow. It also details how consumers can limit liability in the case of a lost or stolen card.
The rules and regulations outlined above are just some of the outlets a consumer can use if they experience issues with their credit. If you believe you are experiencing issues with your credit, you should seek help from an attorney knowledgeable in consumer protection and credit card debt. If you are struggling with credit card debt, you’re not alone. Bob Jacovetti is an experienced debt attorney who has helped countless residents of Long Island and the boroughs of New York City, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and State Island, when they have been in over their heads financially. Whether you are maxed out on your credit cards or facing a debt collection lawsuit, you can rely on the experienced, compassionate representation of consumer protection lawyer Bob Jacovetti. Contact him today for a free consultation in his Mineola or Manhattan offices about your credit card debt.