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Consumer

Real options for fighting creditor harassment and abusive practices

Consumer protection law involves the regulations written and enacted by the government to protect the interests of the consumers. Many consumer laws were created on both the state and federal level to ensure fair competition and prevent fraudulent or unfair practices by businesses or persons attempting to gain an advantage over the weak or less educated. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was established in 1914 for the elimination or protection of anti-competitive business practices. In 1938, its mission grew to include the promotion of consumer protection.

 

Different areas of consumer protection are addressed by a number of Federal Acts. The Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA), established in 1968, helps protect consumers by guaranteeing fair and honest credit prices.  Title I one the CCPA is also known as the federal Truth in Lending Act, guarantees that a lender must provide the consumer with a complete and honest disclosure of how much the credit will cost you and define the parameters of the loan. Title III deals with wage garnishment and protects the employee from being fired due to a creditor seeking garnishments of the employee’s wages. There is also a limit placed on the amount that may be garnished per week.

 

Other Federal Acts that aid in consumer protection include:

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates how credit reporting agencies use a consumer’s information. Revisions in 2003 placed limitations on the accessibility of sensitive credit information  and how that information can be used and shared.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act governs the activities and practices of collection agencies and provides a means to dispute inaccurate debt information.

Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) protects consumers from unfair billing practices in “open-end” credit accounts.

Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act was enacted in 1998 to address identity theft. It created a broad definition if identity theft which can include the misuse of information from a name, social security number, account number, passwords or other information linked to someone other than the person providing it.

 
Additional information about consumer protection laws can be found through these resources:

FTC - Consumer Information

National Consumer Law Center (NCLC)

Better Business Bureau

Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson