Consumer Credit Law

Consumer Credit Law

What Is Credit?

Credit is a means of buying goods and services now and paying for them later. Credit also enables you to borrow money now with the promise to repay it in the future.

Who Can Get Credit?

Federal and state laws provide that everyone has an equal right to credit. You cannot be denied credit because of your race, sex, color, religion, national origin, marital status, age (unless you are under 18), or because you receive public assistance. See generally 15 U.S.C. A7A7 1601 et seq. [Consumer Credit Protection Act]; 15 U.S.C. A7A7 1691 et seq. [Equal Credit Opportunity Act]; 12 C.F.R. A7 202.1.

What Rights Do I Have If Credit Is Denied?

You have the right to inquire as to why you were denied credit. Sometimes, if you are applying for credit for the first time and have no record at all, the creditor may deny you credit as there is no credit history to review. If you are denied credit based on information received from a credit bureau, the lender must inform you of the name and address of the credit bureau that supplied the report. You then have the right to request a copy of your credit report. If your credit file contains false, misleading, or out-of-date information, you can require the credit bureau to investigate the problem and make the necessary changes. If the credit bureau refuses to cooperate, you may file a brief statement stating your side of the story, and this information must be put in your file. You may also request the names of companies who have requested and/or received a copy of your credit report. See generally 15 U.S.C. A7A7 1681 et seq. [Fair Credit Reporting Act].

What Protection Do I Have From Companies Trying To Collect From Me?

Federal law protects you regarding the collection of debts. (15 U.S.C. A7A7 1692 et seq.) The debt collector’s communications are limited to reasonable times and places. False or misleading statements and harassment and abuse are prohibited. For example, debt collectors cannot threaten you, use obscene language, publicize that you refuse to pay a debt, or telephone you repeatedly with or without identifying themselves. Debt collectors cannot communicate with any third party other than your attorney or a credit reporting agency without your prior consent. If you feel that you are being harassed, you should report the collector to the Federal Trade Commission or the Bureau of Consumer Protection within the office of the Attorney General.