Regulations and Requirements - Consumer Protection Laws (Contd.)

Fair credit reporting laws
  1. Fair Credit Reporting Act
    First enacted in 1971, it gives consumers the right to see their credit reports and challenge incorrect information. It also requires consumers be provided name of any credit agency supplying a credit report that leads to the denial of credit. It allows consumers to sue creditors if reporting errors are not corrected and requires employers to obtain an employee's or prospective employee's permission to view a credit report.
    • Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act - A 2003 amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act that requires the three major credit reporting agencies to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit reports every 12 months.
  2. Truth in Lending Act
    Also known as the Consumer Credit Protection Act, it stipulates that lenders must disclose to borrowers the trust cost of loans and make the interest rate and terms of the loan easy to understand. It requires that the consumer be provided with the total finance charge and annual percentage rate on the loan.
  3. Fair Credit Billing Act
    It establishes procedures for resolving billing errors on credit card accounts and limits a consumer's liability for fraudulent credit card charges to $50.
  4. Equal Credit Opportunity Act
    This law, first enacted in 1975, prohibits credit discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status, race, national origin, religion, age or receipt of public assistance.
  5. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
    It prohibits unfair, abusive and deceptive practices by debt collectors and establishes procedures for debt collection.

Privacy policies

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
A wide-ranging law affecting the financial services industry, its provisions include measures to protect the personal financial information held by financial institutions. There are three components to the privacy requirements:
  • Financial Privacy Rule - It requires financial institutions to develop privacy policies that must be shared with customers at least once a year. It also requires financial institutions to notify customers before sharing personal financial information with a "nonaffiliated third party" and give them the opportunity to prohibit, or opt out of, such information sharing.
  • Safeguards Rule - This provision requires financial institutions to design, implement and maintain safeguards to protect consumer information. It covers financial institutions as well as credit reporting agencies.
  • Pretexting provisions - These prohibit companies and individuals from obtaining the personal financial information of individuals under false pretenses, a practice known as pretexting.

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