FEDERAL CONSUMER STATUTES
Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1601-1667f, as amended)
This Act (Title I of the Consumer Credit Protection Act) vests the Commission with responsibility for assuring compliance by non-depository entities with a variety of statutory provisions. Specifically, the Act requires all creditors who deal with consumers to make certain written disclosures concerning all finance charges and related aspects of credit transactions (including disclosing finance charges expressed as an annual percentage rate). The Act also establishes a three-day right of rescission in certain transactions involving the establishment of a security interest in the consumer’s residence (with certain exclusions, such as interests taken in connection with the purchase or initial construction of a dwelling). The Act also establishes certain requirements for advertisers of credit terms.
Fair Credit Billing Act (15 U.S.C. 1666-1666j)
This Act, amending the Truth in Lending Act, requires prompt written acknowledgment of consumer billing complaints and investigation of billing errors by creditors. The amendment prohibits creditors from taking actions that adversely affect the consumer’s credit standing until an investigation is completed, and affords other protection during disputes. The amendment also requires that creditors promptly post payments to the consumer’s account, and either refund overpayments or credit them to the consumer’s account.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1681(u), as amended)
The Act protects information collected by consumer reporting agencies such as credit bureaus, medical information companies and tenant screening services. Information in a consumer report cannot be provided to anyone who does not have a purpose specified in the Act. Companies that provide information to consumer reporting agencies also have specific legal obligations, including the duty to investigate disputed information. Also, users of the information for credit, insurance, or employment purposes must notify the consumer when an adverse action is taken on the basis of such reports. Further, users must identify the company that provided the report, so that the accuracy and completeness of the report may be verified or contested by the consumer.
Fair Credit and Charge Card Disclosure Act (codified in scattered sections of the U.S. Code, particularly 15 U.S.C. 1637(c)-(g))
This Act, amending the Truth in Lending Act, requires credit and charge card issuers to provide certain disclosures in direct mail, telephone and other applications and solicitations to open-end credit and charge accounts and under other circumstances.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1691-1691f, as amended)
This Act (Title VII of the Consumer Credit Protection Act) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, receipt of public assistance, or good faith exercise of any rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The Act also requires creditors to provide applicants, upon request, with the reasons underlying decisions to deny credit.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692o, as amended)
Under this Act (Title VIII of the Consumer Credit Protection Act), third-party debt collectors are prohibited from employing deceptive or abusive conduct in the collection of consumer debts incurred for personal, family, or household purposes. Such collectors may not, for example, contact debtors at odd hours, subject them to repeated telephone calls, threaten legal action that is not actually contemplated, or reveal to other persons the existence of debts.
Electronic Fund Transfer Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1693-1693r)
This statute (Title IX of the Consumer Credit Protection Act) establishes the rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of participants in electronic fund transfer systems. The Act requires financial institutions to adopt certain practices respecting such matters as transaction accounting, preauthorized transfers, and error resolution, and sets liability limits for losses caused by unauthorized transfers.
Consumer Leasing Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1667-1667f, as amended)
This Act, amending the Truth in Lending Act, regulates personal property leases that exceed 4 months in duration and that are made to consumers for personal, family, or household purposes. The statute requires that certain lease costs and terms be disclosed, imposes limitations on the size of penalties for delinquency or default and on the size of residual liabilities, and requires certain disclosures in lease advertising.
Magnuson Moss Warranty-Federal Trade Commission Improvements Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 2301-2312)
Title I of this Act authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to develop regulations for written and implied warranties. The Act directs the Commission to establish disclosure and designation standards for written warranties, specifies standards for full warranties, and establishes consumer remedies for breach of warranty or service contract obligations.
This law punishes fraudulent schemes and illegal conduct involving multiple victims.