5 Things You Didn't Know About Consumer Law
As a consumer, it is important that you make sure your rights are protected. Nobody wants to be taken advantage of, and when your rights have been violated by lenders or banks, you might feel angry, frustrated, embarrassed, and unsure of where to turn. Whether you are currently going through a consumer law case, or you simply want to take preventative action to guard your finances, it is important to understand a few basics about consumer law.
Matters of consumer law can sometimes be complicated and difficult to understand, which is why it is so essential to learn what you can about what you are entitled to as a consumer.
1. Credit card companies must inform you of any interest rate increases.
According to The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, consumers have a lawful right to receive notice of any credit card interest rate increases. Companies are not permitted to raise interest rates without first providing consumers with notice of their intentions.
2. Debt collectors are not allowed to be deceptive or unfair when collecting payments.
Debt collectors have a bad reputation for being aggressive in their pursuit of bill payments. However, it is against the law for debt collectors to be deceptive when collecting bills. Making threats, false promises, or other misleading comments could even be considered harassment. There are certain actions debt collectors are strictly prohibited from, such as calling and threatening relatives of the borrower and can face serious repercussions if they continue to act unfairly.
3. You can request a free copy of your consumer report.
Everyone is entitled to one free copy of their annual consumer report each year. Most people only see the contents of these reports after they are notified of an issue with their accounts. However, making sure you receive your free annual consumer report will enable you to see your accounts as other financial institutions see them. When you open a new account of some sort, the financial institution in charge of that loan will likely investigate your risk level according to your consumer report. If you know what your report looks like, it could help you spot any suspicious activity, shortcomings, or other issues before the problem progresses.
4. Lenders are forbidden from discriminating against consumers or potential consumers.
It is against the law for lenders to refuse credit for any reason other than issues directly pertaining to credit. Lenders cannot lawfully discriminate against individuals because of their race, religion, national origin, sex, age, or receipt of public aid.
5. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website can help.
When you suspect your rights as a consumer have been violated, doing some research on the issue could prove beneficial. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPG), an organization formed by the federal government, could help. The CFPB was formed in order to protect consumers from unjust financial practices and is a great resource of information for those who may be victims of predatory lending or other issues. Their website addresses issues with mortgages, auto loans, student loans, personal loans, bank accounts, credit cards, credit reports, money transfers, and debt collectors.
You can visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau online at consumerfinance.gov.
Contact Atlas Consumer Law if you think you may have a consumer law case.