Your credit history is going to be reviewed every time you apply for credit, to make a major purchase such as a car or house, or when you lease an apartment. A poor credit history can cause a business to deny you credit. If you declare bankruptcy, this can be on your credit report for ten years. Information about a judgment or lawsuit against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations expires; whichever is the longer period.
Your credit payment history is contained in a file, which is maintained, and sold by a consumer- reporting agency, one type of which is known as a credit bureau. If you ever applied for a credit or charge account, a personal loan, insurance, or a job, then you have a credit record on file at the credit bureau. A credit record typically contains information on your history of paying your credit bills, your income level, and the amount of your debts. It will also indicate whether you have ever been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Credit bureaus are usually listed in the yellow pages under "credit reporting agencies." There are three large national credit bureaus that supply most credit reports, and each of them may have a report file for you. The three national bureaus are:
Experian (formerly TRW)
PO Box 949
Allen, TX 75013
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
760 West Sproul Rd.
PO Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064
The Federal Trade Commission enforces the credit laws that govern your right to have and use credit. The law will not grant or guarantee your credit, but they will protect your rights to an equal opportunity to receive credit and to resolve disputes over credit errors. The Fair Credit Reporting Act help to ensure that the CRAs provide complete and correct information on your credit report. Under the FCRA:
Anyone who decides whether or not to grant credit is governed by this law, including banks, finance companies, department stores, credit card companies, credit unions, and real estate brokers. You can't be denied credit based on your race, sex, marital status, religion, age, national origin, or if you receive public assistance. If credit is denied, you have the right to know why it was denied.
The FCBA applies to "open end" credit accounts such as credit cards, department store accounts, and overdraft checking accounts. It doesn't apply to loans paid on a fixed schedule, such as a car loan, until the entire loan is paid back. The EFTA applies to automatic teller machines, point of sale debit transactions, or other electronic banking transactions. It is important to review your statement regularly since mistakes could impact your credit rating. If you find an error or discrepancy, notify the company immediately and contest the error. You should contest charges or electronic fund transfer that
If you fall behind in your debts, a debt collector who is in the business of collecting debts owed to others may contact you. You have the right to be treated fairly by debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This act applies to personal, family, or household debts, including money owed for the purchase of a car, for medical care, or on charge accounts. Under this act, debt collectors can only contact you between 8 AM and 9 PM. They cannot contact you at work if they know your employer disapproves, harass, oppress, or abuse you, can't lie to you when collecting a debt, and they must identify themselves to you on the phone, as well as stop contacting you if you ask them to do so in writing.
If you are in doubt about where to turn for assistance, please feel free to call the Counseling Center at 661-654-3366
This information was prepared by the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University to assist students with the management of their credit and credit problems. Information contained herein was gleaned form on-line publications of the Federal Trade Commission found at the following locations:http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre03.shtm