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Fair Credit Billing Act

I Didn’t Know There was a Fair Credit Billing Act!

2010 brought about a flood of new consumer protection acts complete with the Fair Credit Billing Act. Have you ever taken a look at your credit card bill and been shocked at your balance only to find out you were billed twice or three times for an item or transaction? Well this is where this Act comes into place. Before this act you were at the mercy of the credit company to take your word that you were overbilled and hope that they would fix the problem. Now there are official steps you can take to ensure you aren’t overbilled at the mercy of these companies.

If you find that you have been overcharged or double-charged, the first step is to contact the company that made the mistake. If they are unwilling to fix the problem, follow these steps to protect your rights:

  • Write a letter explaining the billing error to the “billing inquiries” address listed on your statement. Include all of your account information as well as the best contact address and phone number
  • Send your letter certified so you have proof that it was sent, and send that letter so that the credit company has received it before 60 days after your statement with the error was sent out.

To be clear the Credit Billing Act covers these types of errors:

  • Unauthorized charges over $50.
  • Charges for the wrong amount or on the wrong date (could an impact on interest rates).
  • Charges for something you didn’t agree to or weren’t delivered as agreed.
  • Missing postings such as payments or returns made on your account.
  • Charges when you request for proof of this transaction – such as a copy of vender receipt.
  • Miscalculation of math.
  • If your statement was sent to the wrong address – be sure to notify a company at least 20 days prior to your statement date.

Your obligations: While the dispute is being processed you must pay your bill as usual for all parts not including the disputed amount. If it is part of a credit card payment, be sure to at least make your minimum payment so you don’t end up with a late on your credit history. Creditors Obligations:The credit company must respond to your request within 30 days of you reporting the error. If the response is any longer you are not required to pay the disputed amount. You must be able to prove this information so be sure to send your letter certified to prove when the company received your statement.

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Fair Debt Collections Practice Act

Fair Debt Collections Practice Act: Your Safeguard Against Creditors

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, also known as the FDCPA, is the consumer’s best safeguard against the harassing pastime of collection agencies. This act was passed by Congress to outline just how collection companies are allowed to treat their clients and holds them responsible if these guidelines are broken. Collection agencies have no right to make harassing phone calls or act like a mobsters loan shark; as a consumer in the United States you have rights.

 

What are the limitations of creditors under the FDCPA?

 

  • Creditors are not allowed to call at inappropriate hours. They may only make calls to you between the hours of 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM in your time zone.

  • They are not allowed to call your workplace if your workplace does not allow personal phone calls. Creditors do not have the right to put your job in jeopardy.

  • They may not send deceptive letters to you that appear to be a court document or any other official document.

  • Using offensive or inappropriate language is absolutely forbidden; doing so may be considered harassment.

  • They must file documents in courts within your vicinity. They are not allowed to force you to travel to handle this ordeal

  • Absolutely no threats are permitted. They are not allowed to lead you to believe you will be arrested, or charged exorbitant interest rates you did not previously agree to.

 

What can I do if a Creditor breaks one of these rules?

 

Take action! You may owe these creditors money but they have absolutely no right to treat you like a villain. If any one or more of these rules are broken you should report the company and employee if you are able to get a name. You have the right to file a lawsuit against these companies and have the right to sue for damages related to these violations as well as an additional $1000.00, as well as lawyer and court fees if the court finds in your favor.

 

Who do I contact?

 

There are a few different agencies that you may contact. Start with the Attorney Generals office in your state. You may also have luck with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). There is also a newly formed Consumer Protection Bureau that has jurisdiction over these sorts of cases as well.

 

 

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Debt settlement Act of 2010

Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act of 2010 - Amends the Consumer Credit Protection Act to prohibit debt settlement providers from providing a debt settlement service or receiving a fee from a consumer without a signed written contract meeting specified requirements. Prohibits debt settlement providers from engaging in certain acts or practices, including: (1) making loans or offering credit or soliciting or accepting any note, mortgage, or negotiable instrument other than a check signed by the consumer and dated no later than the date of signature; (2) taking a confession of judgment or power of attorney to confess judgment against the consumer or appearing as the consumer or on the consumer's behalf in any judicial or non-judicial proceedings; (3) taking any release or waiver of an obligation to be performed on the part of the debt settlement provider or any right of the consumer; (4) receiving any third-party compensation for providing the consumer with a debt settlement service; or (5) purchasing debts or engaging in debt collection. Permits debt settlement providers to charge enrollment and settlement fees, but no others. Requires a debt settlement provider who receives funds from a consumer to hold them for a consumer settlement account in a properly designated trust account in a federally insured depository institution not affiliated with the provider. Permits a consumer to cancel a contract with a debt settlement provider at any time, in accordance with specified requirements and procedures. Declares void and unenforceable: (1) a consumer's waiver of any consumer protection or right provided under this Act; and (2) any contract for a debt settlement service that does not comply with this Act. Prohibits a debt settlement provider from engaging in certain advertising, marketing, or other communication practices except in accordance with specified requirements. Authorizes the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prescribe rules governing advertising and marketing practices, record retention, and provision of accountings to consumers, as well as debt relief service rules. Subjects a debt settlement provider to civil liability (including punitive damages) for noncompliance with this Act. Empowers the FTC to enforce this Act. Authorizes a state to bring a civil action in federal court on behalf of its residents for noncompliance with this Act.

 

reference - summary was written by the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, which serves Congress