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Credit. Your rights. Your rights. Truth in Lending Act (1968) Ensures consumers are fully informed about cost and conditions of borrowing. Fair Credit Reporting Act (1970) Protects the privacy and accuracy of information in a credit check. Your rights. Equal Opportunity Act (1974)

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Your rights

Your rights
Your rights

Truth in Lending Act (1968)

Ensures consumers are fully informed about cost and conditions of borrowing.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (1970)

Protects the privacy and accuracy of information in a credit check.

Your rights1
Your rights

Equal Opportunity Act (1974)

Prohibits discrimination in giving credit on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, age, or receipt of public assistance.

Fair Credit Billing Act (1974)

Sets up a procedure for the quick correction of mistakes that appear on consumer credit accounts.

Your rights2
Your rights

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (1977)

Prevents abuse by professional debt collectors, and applies to anyone employed to collect debts owed to others; does not apply to banks or other businesses collecting their own accounts.

Your rights3
Your rights

  • Bankruptcy

    • A legal process to get out of debt when you can no longer make all your required payments

    • A legal process in which some or all of the assets of a debtor are distributed among the creditors because the debtor is unable to pay his or her debts.

    • May also include a plan for the debtor to repay creditors on an installment basis.

    • Use as a last resort because it severely damages your credit rating

Your rights4
Your rights

  • Chapter 7

    • Effectively allows you to erase most of your debt.

    • You must be unemployed or have a very low income

    • You must also go through a counseling process

  • Chapter 13

    • Allows you to repay many of your debts over a period of time, usually no more than 5 years.

    • A court oversees the repayment plan

Your rights5
Your rights

  • Chapter 11 is typically used for business bankruptcies. It is not commonly used by individual consumers.

Your rights6
Your rights

  • New Provisions of the Bankruptcy Law

    • In April 2005, President Bush signed into law the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which took effect in October 2005. This is the most significant change in U.S. bankruptcy laws since the late 1970s.

    • In general, the new law makes it harder to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and steers more people toward repaying a portion of their debts through Chapter 13

    • Instead of wiping out debts under Chapter 7, many debtors will have to establish up to five-year repayment plans under Chapter 13.

Your rights7
Your rights

  • A Test to determine eligibility to file bankruptcy

    • Your income is subject to a two-part means test. You are not allowed to file for Chapter 7 if your income is above your state’s median income, and you can afford to pay 25 percent of your unsecured debt

  • Determining what you can afford to pay

    • The court will apply living standards set my the IRS to determine what is reasonable to pay for rent, food, and other expenses. These standards help the consumer figure out how much he or she has available to pay debts

Your rights8
Your rights

  • Tough homestead exemptions

    • Filers may only be exempt up to $125,000 on your home equity.

  • Lawyer liability

    • The bankruptcy attorney may be subject to various fees and fines if information is found to be inaccurate.

Your rights9
Your rights

  • Credit counseling and money management

    • You must meet with a credit counselor in the six months prior to applying for bankruptcy. Before debts are discharged, you must attend money management classes at your own expense.

  • New debt may not be discharged

    • Credit card debt, cash advances, and other forms of consumer debt borrowed within 70 days of a bankruptcy filing may not be discharged under the new law.

  • Think about the following things before filing bankruptcy


  • Bankruptcy impacts far more than consumer credit

    • Businesses increasingly use credit reports when making employment decisions. A bankruptcy filing could determine whether or not you get the job you want.

    • Insurance rates tend to rise for those who have declared bankruptcy.

    • If you decide to move in the next seven to ten years, you may find it difficult to rent an apartment or qualify for a home loan

    • Bankruptcies stay on your credit report for 10 years. Remember that phone companies and other utilities and service providers may look at your credit history before deciding to grant you their service.

    • Similarly, bankruptcy can lower your credit score


  • Things to do before deciding to file Bankruptcy:

    • Reduce your spending

    • Talk with your creditors

    • Talk with a nonprofit counseling agency

    • Talk with an attorney and understand the consequences of declaring bankruptcy

    • Consider consolidation carefully

      • You may be able to borrow against a workplace retirement plan, stocks, or securities you own or the cash value of a life insurance policy in order to pay off your debt


  • Tips to remember

    • Keep track of your daily expenses

    • No matter how well you are doing financially, don’t forget to save money on a regular basis

    • If you see yourself starting to get into financial trouble, make changes right away.