Most people never consider their rights in the process of credit repair because they think they don’t have any. But you do have rights!
Knowing what your rights are is important!
What if your creditors are trying to scare you into paying them? What if you need to file a dispute with your credit report? Or how about if you’ve been scammed by a credit counseling company? In all these instances, knowing what you are entitled to is critical.
1) Scare tactics
If you are being harassed by those you owe money to, then you will be relieved to hear this isn’t legal. There is a certain procedure creditors’ have to follow when getting in touch with you.
But most people don’t know what it is, so they just put up with the barrage of phone calls, letters, etc. And in many instances creditors actually lie to get you to pay them.
How can you tell if it’s a lie?
If they say they are going to call the company you work for, rest assured they are not telling the truth. This is against the law, and you should notify the authorities.
Sometimes they will tell you they will take your income. Again, this is totally illegal unless they’ve been told they can do so by a court – In which case you would have plenty of advanced warning.
And obviously they can’t touch your checking or savings accounts. All these are common threats that are not actually legal.
2) Credit score
You are legally entitled to get a no-cost copy of the report each year. You can do so from all of the major bureaus. This helps you verify that there are no mistakes on any of them.
But isn’t one enough?
No, it’s not. Remember, the bureaus all get their information from different companies, because very few of the merchants you work with report to all of them. Therefore, even if one of the reports is mistake free, another one might not be.
What if you find an error?
Then you have a legal right to see that it’s fixed. And the bureaus have a legal obligation to check with the company you have an issue with and let you know within thirty days of their decision. If you aren’t proactive, the mistakes on your report will never get fixed.
3) Credit counseling scams
This is a problem that occurs frequently. A lot of “credit counseling” firms are nothing more than scammers that take your money.
Is there anything you can do if you’ve been taken?
Yes, there is. If the company told you to file disputes with things on your credit report you know are correct, this is illegal. You get your money back because they were advising you to do something illegal.
And if they don’t fulfil the service you agreed to when you first paid them, they are lawfully required to do so. If they haven’t, you again have legal recourse against them.
How do you know your rights when dealing with a scammer?
Just review the Credit Repair Organization Act. This is a comprehensive guide to all your rights in this situation.
The bottom line: don’t allow yourself to be taken.
Even if you owe others money, you have more rights than you think. While this article can’t give you every single one of them, hopefully it’s opened your eyes to the legal courses of action you can take if you’ve been wronged in any of these three ways.
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