5 LAWS EVERY CONSUMER
1. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
2. Cooling-Off Rule
3. Fair Credit Reporting Act
4. Electronic Funds Transfer Act
5. Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
Fair Debt Collection Practices
This law aimed at preventing such abusive collection practices
of personal debts, such as mortgages, credit cards, car
Business-related debts do not fall under the FDCPA.
FDCPA limits when and how collectors may contact
you, defines what they have to tell you about your debt, and
prevents them from engaging in certain collection tactics at all.
Always keep records of all contact with debt collectors: send
written communication such as faxes and letters and keep
copies of everything you send; record your phone
conversations with collectors whenever possible.
If debt collectors violate the FDCPA, you have the right to sue
for damages and attorney’s fees.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Debt collectors may not call you at an inconvenient time (i.e.
early in the morning or late at night)
If you ask collectors, either orally or in writing, not to contact
you at work, they must respect your request.
Debt collectors can’t discuss your debt with nobody but
you, your spouse, and your attorney.
Debt collectors must send you a written notice of how much
you owe and to whom to contact and how to proceed.
Debt collectors may not threaten violence, use obscene
language, or call you repeatedly.
They may not falsely claim to be attorneys or that you will be
arrested, or try to collect any interest or fees beyond what you
If you want the debt collectors to stop contacting you
altogether, you can tell them in writing and they are required by
law to stop. They still have the right to sue you for collection.
If you’ve purchased something that cost more than $25 in your
home and you want to return it, you have the right to do so
within 3 days under the Cooling-Off Rule.
The Cooling-Off Rule applies to sellers who come to your home
or sellers in a temporary place of business, such as a
convention center or fairground.
The rule does not apply to the sale of arts and crafts sold at
fairs, shopping malls, or civic centers. It also doesn’t apply to
the purchase of cars or real estate.
Sales conducted entirely through the mail or by telephone are
not covered, nor are products you purchased for emergency
use. It does, however, cover sales even if you invited the
salesperson into your home, whether spontaneously or for an
Cooling-Off Rule (cont.)
You have to notify the seller in writing postmarked before
midnight on the third business day after you made the
purchase. You may deliver it by hand or request a return
At the time of the sale, the seller should provide you with two
copies of a cancellation form. You should keep one form for
your records and send the other to the seller. If you don’t get
cancellation forms, you can write your own cancellation letter.
After receiving your cancellation request, the seller has 10 days
to refund your money. Within 20 days, the seller must pick up
the product or reimburse the mailing costs for the return.
You do have to return what you bought in good condition – if
you’ve damaged it then you’re bound by the sale.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
Under the FCRA, you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit
report every year from each of the three national credit
reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
You should check your credit report regularly to make sure that
all the information is correct. If you find an error, report it to the
credit reporting company in writing.
If you see things on your credit report as credit card opened in
your name and left unpaid, you may have been a victim of an
identity theft. That report affects your ability to get
loans, purchase cars, and find employment.
They have to investigate the error within 30 days and provide
you a copy of your updated credit report.
Electronic Funds Transfer Act
If you pay your bills online, your paychecks are directly deposited into your
account, or have a debit or ATM card, than you should know about the
If you find an error on your bank statement, you have 60 days from the
time the statement was sent to notify your financial institution in writing of
the error. If you miss the 60-day deadline, they don’t have to investigate at
all and you may be entirely out of luck.
The institution must investigate the error within 10 days, share the results
of its investigation within 3 days of finishing it, and correct any errors
within the next business day after that.
You must report a lost or stolen debit card to your financial institution
within 2 business days of realizing it’s missing. If you do, your loss will be
limited to $50. If you report it after more than 2 days but less than 60, your
loss will be limited to $500.
If you report it after more than 60 days, you’re liable for all charges show
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects your warranty from
being voided by a dealership, if you get work done by outside
mechanic or even yourself.
If you or the mechanic makes an error that causes damage to
the car, then the dealership is not responsible for fixing that
damage. However, the warranty will still be in place for the rest
of the car.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act also protects your warranty
if you use recycled or aftermarket parts.
If the aftermarket part causes damage, the dealership may
refuse to fix that damage, but the warranty still applies to the
rest of the car.