Utilization of federal consumer protection laws

There is more to credit than the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Legal basis: There are 5 major consumer laws that are in place to protect consumers. Are you familiar with these laws?

 HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

This law states that doctors and hospitals cannot give out your personal information to a third party to attempt to collect or report a debt. In doing so they are violating Federal Law.

 FDCPA – Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

This law states that in order to collect or report a debt, you have to be able to validate it with a detailed billing history and a signed contract.

 FCRA – Fair Credit Reporting Act

This law states that the credit bureaus have a reasonable amount of time to respond to a request for an investigation (generally 30 days) or the derogatory information has to be removed.

 FCBA – Fair Credit Billing Act

Enacted in 1975, the Fair Credit Billing Act is a federal law that aims to protect consumers from prejudicial or unfair billing practices. The Fair Credit Billing Act provides mechanisms to quell address billing errors in “open end” credit accounts, such as charge card accounts and credit cards

 FACTA – Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act

This law pertains to Identity theft and was created to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It:

      • Helps to prevent identity theft,
      • Helps to improve resolution of consumer disputes,
      • Helps to improve the accuracy of consumer records,
      • Makes improvements and give better consumer access to your credit information.

Speaking of Identity Theft; ID Theft is the fastest growing theft in the U.S. Those that have good credit and children under 18 are the majority of victims. As our multi-phase process enters the last phase, we will consult with you and provide you with tools to keep your identity protected and the ability to access qualified legal counsel when you need it. The Fair Credit Billing Act requires creditors to bill correctly and completely, and it’s the FTC’s job to make sure that the statute is universally applied. As you read the list of requirements the FCBA stipulates, just consider the credit repair possibilities.

The FTC summarizes the statute’s prohibitions as follows: “unauthorized charges; charges that list the wrong date or amount; charges for goods and services you didn’t accept or weren’t delivered as agreed; math errors; failure to post payments and other credits, such as returns; failure to send bills to your current address — provided the creditor receives your change of address, in writing, at least 20 days before the billing period ends; and charges for which you ask for an explanation or written proof of purchase along with a claimed error or request for clarification.”

Even better, while original creditors aren’t bound by the FDCPA (which, to review, applies to collection agencies), they are similarly bound by the FCBA. Case law (example: Nelson v. Chase Manhattan) obligates original creditors to assume responsibility for incorrect reporting and for the illegal activities of affiliated third-party debt collectors.