The federal government plays a key role in not only regulating the credit and lending industries, but also monitoring credit reporting as well. The network of credit bureaus, information providers, and credit bureau subscribers is vast. Many of the credit laws government agencies, like the Federal Trade Commission enforce are designed to protect consumers from unfair treatment by lenders, credit bureaus, or both. These large companies must follow strict guidelines when reporting information on consumers.
Consumer Credit Protection Laws-What are they?
While not every law involving credit pertains to credit reporting specifically, the federal government creates many credit laws to ensure the credit protection of consumer’s rights involving credit and credit reporting, http://www.federalreserve.gov/creditcard/regs.html as a whole.
Each of these credit laws was established to promote fair trade practices in lending, truthful disclosure on the part of credit providers, and guidelines for bill collectors or their representatives, as well as credit reporting agencies. Because credit reporting involves many aspects of the credit and lending process, it is also important to get familiar with some more general credit laws as well.
Credit Laws and Regulations-Consumer Credit Laws
- Equal Credit Opportunity Act-This act, signed into law in 1974 prohibits lenders from discriminating against consumers based on race, color, religion, gender, marital status, age, or persons who are the recipient of public assistance or have previously exercised their legal rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act in some way. This act under credit laws means that lenders cannot make credit decisions based on any of these factors or characteristics.
- The Fair Credit and Charge Card Disclosure Act was created in 1988 and requires lenders to disclose certain terms of a consumer credit card agreement such as, the APR, any annual fees, or an interest-free period. Consumers are entitled to this information before they sign an agreement.
- The Fair Credit Billing Act, created in 1974 ensures that creditors post payments you make to accounts, promptly and correctly. It also gives you the right to formally dispute inaccuracies in credit reporting, refuse payment for damaged merchandise, and demand that errors in billing be corrected by the creditor. This act is further part of the Truth in Lending Act.
- The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act-This act, passed in 1977 outlines guidelines for bill collection practices either through the original lending agency, or a third-party collection agency hired by the lender. The purpose of these credit laws is to protect consumers from abusive collection practices, such as collectors calling your home before 8:00 a.m., or after 9:00 p.m., or harassing you at work after you request they not contact you there.
The FDCP also prohibits abusive language or threats made by the collecting party. As part of this act, consumers may take legal action against abusive collectors who have violated proper collection practices.
Credit Report Law Acts
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 protects consumers from credit reporting inaccuracies and requires credit-reporting agencies to disclose any and all information contained in credit files. Under credit reporting laws consumers also have the right under this act to have any credit reporting errors corrected.
Credit Protection Laws-New Credit Laws
- Under credit report laws as part of, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, each American consumer can now get a free copy of their credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, once every 12 months. The act makes a free credit report by law easily accessible to people at no cost to them, http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports.
Understanding the federal laws that govern credit and lending, and credit- reporting is important for every consumer who uses credit in any way. Without knowledge of credit law companies in the lending and credit reporting industries can take advantage of you.