If you’ve been keeping up with McCarthy Law, then you know we are your go to when it comes to protecting consumer credit rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).
The FCRA is a federal act that protects and covers all of your credit information. Credit reporting agencies (aka credit bureaus), as well as furnishers of credit information (i.e. creditors, debt collectors, debt buyers, etc.) must comply with the guidelines under the FCRA to ensure the information reported about your credit is fair, accurate, and secured. Under the FCRA, you are entitled to receive a copy of your credit report and the information contained therein, though not necessarily for free. However, you can always obtain a free copy of all three of your credit reports from Trans Union, Experian and Equifax once a year through annualcreditreport.com, and you may also request additional copies of your credit report if you have disputed an account in your report.
One important thing to remember is if information in your credit file has been used to deny you credit, the creditor must inform you of this and must also provide contact information for the credit reporting agency that provided said information. This also applies to denials of insurance or employment.
But enough about the FCRA (for now). Did you know that there are other laws out there that protect your credit rights? Yes sirs and madams there are!
First, let’s start with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”). The ECOA was enacted in 1974. Its primary purpose was to prevent credit inequality, meaning if an applicant was qualified, that applicant could obtain credit without discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, sex, national origin, age, marital status, or receipt of public assistance. This act truly paved the way for credit equality. For instance, women were not legally allowed to apply for credit until 1974 when the ECOA was enacted. That’s only 43 years ago!
In 2010, Dodd-Frank legislation gave the well-known and well-respected Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) authority to oversee the ECOA.
Next, there’s the Fair Credit Billing Act (“FCBA”). The FCBA applies only to credit cards and other open-ended credit sources, but does not apply to installment payments like mortgage loans, home equity loans, car loans and student loans. The FCBA permits consumers to dispute inaccurate charges and hold payments without incurring damage to their credit. Additionally, the FCBA protects credit card holders from liability in situations of fraudulent charges as a result of data breaches or stolen credit card information.
However, there is a caveat to the FCBA. In order to tap into the benefits and protections of the FCBA, you must act fast – slackers beware. Erroneous charges must be reported within 60 days after the bill containing the erroneous charge is mailed to you, and your dispute regarding the erroneous charge must be mailed directly to the card issuer. The card issuer must then acknowledge that they are in receipt of the dispute within 30 days, and the overall disputed charge must be resolved within the next two billing cycles. If your dispute is upheld and the erroneous charge is corrected, any interest accrued will be reversed. If the erroneous charge was a result of a lost credit card or stolen card information, then disputes are allowed to be made by phone and the 60 day limit no longer applies.
The last one we are going to touch on today is the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (“EFTA”). The EFTA protects all of your financial transactions processed by electronic means. Specially, the EFTA targets banking operations like ATMs, debit cards, direct deposits, and credit card transactions with electronic funds transfer features. So next time you swipe, just remember the EFTA has your back.
Hopefully you walk away from this article feeling more at peace knowing there are a handful of strong and sturdy laws enacted solely to protect your consumer credit rights. Here at McCarthy Law, we specifically focus on consumer protection by using the FCRA. Our mission is to help rid your credit file of pesky credit reporting errors. We understand firsthand the frustrating ups and downs you’ve undergone in trying to get those inaccuracies fixed, and we’re here to make it better.
If you have an error on your credit report and are ready to live error free once and for all, then give us a call TODAY! We have a truly dedicated and caring team of attorneys and staff to assist you from start to finish. Even if you don’t know of any specific errors, give us a call anyway. We’ll help you pull your credit reports and will even review your reports for FREE just to make sure everything is reporting correctly. But it doesn’t stop there – not only is the consultation for free, but everything is for free! We’ll get your error(s) corrected and you’ll never pay a penny. So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call at 1-855-867-2121, or you can visit our Credit Report Errors page.
Kevin Fallon McCarthy
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