Your Rights Concerning Collections
Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1978 to regulate the debt collection industry and to eliminate abusive practices that collectors might employ against consumers when attempting to collect debts. The FDCPA will not erase your debt, but it does set strict limits on what creditors or third-party collectors may do or say in their attempts to convince you to send money.
Creditors may not communicate with consumers "at any time or place which is unusual or known to be inconvenient to the consumer" (www.ftc.gov). Times within the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. are presumed to be convenient unless you can prove otherwise.
The principal protections afforded consumers by the FDCPA are:
- That creditors and collectors must treat you fairly and respectfully
- That you may limit the times and ways in which you may be contacted about your debts
- That you must be informed about the debt and the fact that it is legitimately owed by you
- That creditors and collectors may not use harassing, abusive, or threatening means or false representations to collect debts
- That you may seek damages against any creditor or collector who violates your rights as guaranteed by the provisions of the FDCPA
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) is an amendment to the Truth in Lending Act that provides specific rights and procedures for customers who believe they are being incorrectly charged by a credit card company or other revolving credit agreement, such as a department store charge card. As with the the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is the governmental body responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Fair Credit Billing Act.
Here are the types of charges covered by the act:
- Unauthorized charges (your liability is limited to $50)
- Charges listing the wrong date or amount
- Charges for goods or services you didnâ€™t accept or that werenâ€™t delivered as agreed
- Mathematical billing errors
- Failure to post payments and other credits, such as returns
- Failure to send bills to your current address (the creditor must receive your change of address in writing at least twenty days before the billing period ends)
Consumer Repossession Rights â€“ www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/autos/aut14.shtm
Fcra rights â€“ the right to know what is on your credit report, the right to be informed if someone uses information in your credit report as a basis for adverse actions or decisions, the right to receive your credit score, the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information and have it removed from your credit report, the right to have your credit information revealed only to parties with a valid need to see it, the right to control access to your credit information, the right to seek damages for violation of any of your rights under the fcra.
Complaint letter - www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre21shtm
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf - (to read the full text of the Act)