Mind on My Money: Black Personal Finance 101
Your Rights as a Consumer
It's not what you think!!! Your Statute of Limitations is the legally mandated time limit that creditors have to pursue legal action while attempting to collect on a debt. Each state has a different set of guidelines regarding their Statute of Limitations. Being aware of your SOL on your delinquent debts is especially empowering. Don't give up this right.
The clock on your SOL begins ticking either when you make your last payment (DOLA - Date of Last Activity) or when you first missed a payment (DOFD - Date of First Delinquency). Be especially careful when dealing with collections agencies as any payment made on an old debt can reset your Statute of Limitations.
Find out your state's Statute of Limitations
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is the federal law that outlines how Credit Reporting Agencies collect and distribute your consumer credit information. Among the most powerful of its stipulations is that the infomation contained in your credit file must be complete and accurate. It is also the basis for lifting the veil of secrecy that restricted a consumer's access to their own credit report prior to 2003.
The FCRA requires that the National Credit Bureaus provide a consumer with access to the information compiled in that agency's files and take the necessary steps to verify the accuracy of any information disputed by an individual.
It also requires that any negative information that is removed as a result of a consumer's dispute can only be re-inserted after reporting the individual in writing.
Additionally, the FCRA restricts the length of time that negative information can be retained on a person's credit profile. Typically, most negative marks are removed from a consumer's credit report 7 years after it was first reported, though items such as bankruptcies and tax liens can remain on for longer.
View the entire text of the FCRA
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act is the federal law that was enacted to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, to promote fair debt collections standards and to provide consumers with an avenue for disputing and obtaining validation of alleged debts for the purpose of ensuring the information's accuracy. The FDCPA outlines the guidelines under which debt collectors may attempt to recover a debt. It also defines the rights of consumers involved with debt collectors, and provides for remedies in the case of violation of such restrictions.
Among the restrictions set forth by this act are:
* Hours for Phone Contact
* Restriction of Contact After Being Asked to Stop
* Restriction of the Contact of Consumers at Their Place of Employment
* Restriction of the Contact of a Consumer After Request for Validation
* Threatening Arrest or Legal Action
* Use of Abusive or Profane Language
Additonally, the FDCPA requires that debt collectors:
* Identify Themselves
* Give the Name and Address of the Original Creditor
* Notify the Consumer of Their Right to Dispute the Debt
* Provide Verification of the Debt
* File a Lawsuit in a Proper Venue
A consumer familiar with their rights under the FDCPA will truly find themself empowered to take control of their credit destiny.
View the entire text of the FDCPA
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