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Understanding debt help laws, protections and agencies for consumers


If you're a consumer and you're in debt, it's helpful for you to know what protections are in place for you. Below, we'll discuss some of the protections that are in place that can help you with your credit problems.

Consumer Credit Protection Act & Truth In Lending

The Consumer Credit Protection acts requires that all creditors disclose to all borrowers all of the terms and conditions of credit extension. If you're a consumer and you've never received a Truth In Lending Disclosure (or if you can't find yours) you should contact the creditor and ask for one. These disclosures can help you understand your interest rates, finance charges and more. These laws extend to all forms of credit including credit cards, revolving loans and mortgages. Information that must be included in these disclosures include:

  • Amount being Financed
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
  • Monthly Payments
  • Number of Payments to be made
  • Total Finance Charges
  • Monthly finance charges
  • Late payment fees

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The FDCPA explains in clear language what rights you have as a consumer in regards to debts that are turned over to a collection agency. These third party agencies have an obligation to follow the regulations that are designed to protect you as a consumer. It is important to be aware that this act is not designed to protect you from collection protections for commercial debts or taxes.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act

Fair Credit reporting laws are designed to protect consumers from inaccurate information being included in their credit reports. It's important that not only you be familiar with this act, but you should also check your own state regulations as often states offer additional layers of protection for consumers.

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The Credit Repair Organizations Act

Unfortunately in these difficult times there are companies that will offer to "fix" your credit report for you for exhorbitant fees. Often, these companies are not valid agencies and prey on those who are significantly in debt and perhaps those who lack understanding of how the financial markets work. This act was designed to protect you from predatory practices in the credit repair business.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act

Sadly today we still have some who are discriminated against. This act was mandated so that no reputable lender could discriminate against any person applying for a loan based on their age, their national origin, their marital status, their sex, race or their religion. If you feel you've been a victim of discrimination, read about your rights and learn what recourse you have.

The Fair Credit and Charge Card Disclosure Act

Whether you have a stellar credit record or a "softer" credit record, you may receive credit card solicitations by mail. These solicitations must contain full information about interest rates, fees and grace periods that are offered prior to finance charges being used. Make sure you understand your rights (and your obligations) when you accept these disclosures.

The Fair And Accurate Credit Transaction Act

Many people are not aware that they are entitled to obtain one free credit report annually. Taking advantage of this can help you understand what is on your credit report and understand your credit score. This can also help you protect yourself from fraudulent use of your credit cards.

Related topics: debt self help, debt management plan




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