Consumer Rights

Credit Reports - Know Your Rights

Your credit payment history is recorded in a file or report. These files or reports are maintained and sold by credit bureaus. You have a credit record on file at a credit bureau if you have ever applied for a credit or charge account, a personal loan, insurance, or a job. Your credit record contains information about your income, debts, and credit payment history. It also indicates whether you have been sued, arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to help ensure that credit bureaus furnish correct and complete information to businesses to use when evaluating your application.
Your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act:

  • You have the right to receive a copy of your credit report. The copy of your report must contain all of the information in your file at the time of your request.
     
  • You have the right to know the name of anyone who received your credit report in the last year for most purposes or in the last two years for employment purposes.
     
  • Any company that denies your application must supply the name & address of the credit bureau they contacted, provided the denial was based on info given by the credit bureau.
     
  • You have the right to a free copy of your credit report when your application is denied because of information supplied by the credit bureau. Your request must be made within 60 days of receiving your denial notice.
     
  • If you contest the completeness or accuracy of information in your report, you should file a dispute with the credit bureau and with the company that furnished the information to the bureau. Both the credit bureau and the furnisher of information are legally obligated to investigate your dispute.
     
  • You have a right to add a summary explanation to your credit report if your dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Overview

The Servicemember's Civil Relief Act (SCRA) expanded and improved the former Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act (SSCRA). The SCRA provides a wide range of protections for individuals entering, called to active duty in the military, or deployed servicemembers. It is intended to postpone or suspend certain civil obligations to enable service members to devote full attention to duty and relieve stress on the family members of those deployed servicemembers. A few examples of such obligations you may be protected against are:

  • Outstanding credit card debt
  • Mortgage payments
  • Pending trials
  • Taxes
  • Terminations of lease.

In addition the new law:

  • Expands current law that protects servicemembers and their families from eviction from housing while on active duty due to nonpayment of rents that are $1,200 per month or less.  Under the new provisions this protection would be significantly updated to meet today’s higher cost of living– covering housing leases up to $2,932.31 per month and then be adjusted annually to account for inflation. 
  • Provides a servicemember who receives permanent change of station orders or who is deployed to a new location for 90 days or more the right to terminate a housing lease.
  • Clarifies and restates existing law that limits to 6 percent interest on credit obligations incurred prior to military service or activation, including credit card debt, for active duty servicemembers. The SCRA unambiguously states that no interest above 6 percent can accrue for credit obligations (that were established prior to active duty or activation) while on active duty, nor can that excess interest become due once the servicemember leaves active duty– instead that portion above 6 percent is permanently forgiven.  Furthermore, the monthly payment must be reduced by the amount of interest saved during the covered period.

Note: This law only covers debt incurred prior to military service.

  • Updates life insurance protections provided to activated Guard and reserve members by increasing from $10,000 to $250,000 the maximum policy coverage that the federal government will protect from default for nonpayment while on active duty.
  • Prevents servicemembers from a form of double taxation that can occur when they have a spouse who works and is taxed in a state other than the state in which they maintain their permanent legal residence. SCRA will prevent states from using the income earned by a servicemember in determining the spouseÂ’s tax rate when they do not maintain their permanent legal residence in that state.

SCRA Eligibility

The SCRA covers all Active Duty servicemembers, Reservists and the members of the National Guard while on active duty. The protection begins on the date of entering active duty and generally terminates within 30 to 90 days after the date of discharge from active duty. Click below for more information on:

Resources

FACT Act – Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act
Intended primarily to help consumers fight identity theft; focuses on accuracy, privacy, limits on information sharing, and consumer rights.
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=108_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ159.108.pdf

FCRA – Fair Credit Reporting Act
Promotes the accuracy, fairness and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies.
http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf

FCRA - Know Your Rights
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau summarizes your rights under the law.
http://www.consumerfinance.gov/learnmore/

FDCPA – Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Prohibits debt collectors and collection attorneys from using undue harassment and other unethical practices when collecting debt.
http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf

FCBA – Fair Credit Billing Act
Protects consumer rights regarding billing errors on credit accounts.
http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcb/fcb.pdf

ECOA – Equal Opportunity Act
Prohibits anyone who participates in the decision to grant credit from discriminating against an applicant due to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or status of puclic assistance.
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre15.shtm

CROA – Credit Repair Organizations Act
Ensures that consumers are given necessary information about credit repair organizations and to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive advertising and business practices by credit repair organizations.
http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/croa/croa.shtm

CCPA – Consumer Credit Protection Act
Protects employees from be fired for having their wages garnished and limits the amount of an employee’s earning that can be harnished each week.
http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-ccpa.htm

TILA – Truth in Lending Act
Promotes the informed use of consumer credit by requiring disclosures about its terms and cost; gives consumer the right to cancel certain credit transactions.
http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/6500-1400.php

ITADA – Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act
Protects consumers from identity theft; defines identity theft and makes the action a federal crime.
http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/itada/itadact.htm

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