The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Florida Office of the Attorney General both enforce federal and state credit laws designed to protect your right to receive, use and maintain credit. These laws, however, do not guarantee that you will receive credit. Instead, these laws protect your rights by requiring businesses to give you a fair and equal opportunity to get credit and to resolve disputes over credit issues.
Federal consumer protection laws include:
The Credit Repair Organizations Act – requires credit repair organizations to give you a copy of your rights as a consumer before you sign a contract. They also must give you a written contract that spells out your rights and obligations, and they cannot require you to pay them until they have delivered the promised services.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – promotes the accuracy, fairness and privacy of information maintained by consumer reporting companies.
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) – prohibits creditors from discriminating against applicants on the basis of sex, race, color, marital status, religion, national origin, age, receipt of public assistance or prior exercise of any rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) – establish procedures for resolving mistakes on credit billing and electronic fund transfer account statements (in other words, credit cards and debit cards).
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) – which prohibits debt collectors from using unfair, deceptive or abusive practices to collect debts from consumers.
Some of the federal consumer credit laws allow you to file your own claim against the offending business or organization (for example, against a debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act).
Florida’s state consumer protection laws are even more protective of its consumers than Federal law. Some of those law include:
Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), which protects consumers from unfair, unconscionable, or deceptive acts in various types of transactions, including false or misleading advertisements and schemes.
Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), which is the state version of FDCPA which prohibits debt collectors from using unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices to collect debts from consumers. The FCCPA is more broadly defined and construed more favorably to consumers.
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