No matter how trustworthy a business may appear, there is always a chance they may conduct unethical practices. The people who get hurt the most are consumers. Whether you purchase a lemon from an auto dealership or a mortgage lender lies about financing options, it is easy for people to fall victim to fraud. ALL CONSUMERS HAVE RIGHTS that need to be protected in order for them to be preserved. There are consumer protection laws currently on the books to help protect them, including the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Which Laws Protect Consumers in Arizona, California, D.C., Maryland, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Utah?
The FDCPA, FCRA and TCPA are the three major consumer protection acts designed to provide safeguards for consumers from businesses and collections agencies that engage in abusive practices. Very few attorneys have made themselves aware of these rights or know what needs to be done to protect consumers. Regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, these important pieces of legislation provide specific guidelines on how businesses, creditors, banks and mortgage lenders can contact and treat consumers. Among the most common violations include:
- Debt collection
- Credit report issues
- Mortgage-related issues
- Student loan issues
Countless people throughout Arizona, California, D.C., Maryland, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Utah are receiving constant phone calls from collectors to collect past debts. Many collections agencies often abuse the rules of the FDCPA. The law places limitations on how many times a collector can contact a consumer. Far too many people are the victims harassment. In some cases, collectors have been known to make threats, such as having the consumer arrested if the debt is not paid , threatening to call an employer, neighbor, or family member or threatening to call the Division of Family Services to have their children taken away. In other cases, a collections agency may call about a debt that does not exist exist or one that has been discharged either in bankruptcy or by other legal means. The Consumer Protection Act requires debt collection agencies to contact debtor by mail. The letter must contain the correct amount of the debt and to whom it should be paid.
Credit Report Issues
A credit report is a database that contains all of your credit history, including your loan paying history and the status of all your credit accounts. This information is private and protected information about the individual and must be respected as such. Maintaining a good credit score is crucial when purchasing a car, home or even applying for a job. However, to obtain someone’s credit report, a bank, employer or dealership must have permission from the consumer. Unauthorized use of credit reports is not only against the law, it can have severe consequences. It is the equivalent of someone coming into your house and rifling through your important financial statements and papers. Unauthorized views of your credit report can often lead to errors that may affect a person’s ability to make an important purchase, obtain a job, or get a specific interest rate. It can keep you from getting an apartment, and even impacts the premium you pay for insurance.
It is extremely important for everyone to monitor their credit report to check for errors regularly. Just like you wouldn’t notice if your television was stolen if you didn’t look for it, you can’t know your credit report is violated unless you are checking it out regularly. If you discover someone has obtained your report without consent, it is vital to contact a consumer rights protection lawyer in Arizona, Utah, or California that can help.
Owning a home has always been considered the American Dream. That dream can become a nightmare when a bank or mortgage company abuses their lending policies and your rights. Loan modifications are particularly troublesome. Many homeowners will come to a bank or mortgage lender for a loan modification to deal with loans that are far in excess of the value of the property. While banks required to participate in loan modifications, they do not always act ethically. Many homeowners end up enrolling in predatory subprime lending lending schemes that are very harmful to both their pocket books and their credit report.
Student Loan Issues
The price of a college education continues to skyrocket. Many people depend on student loans to pay for their tuition. In some cases, colleges, universities and even trade schools often take advantage of students through government lending. The results are countless people buried in overwhelming debt. In many cases, the loan provider may be unlicensed. In those instances a consumer rights attorney will know how to protect a person and make sure they are being dealt with fairly.