of Work? How to Deal with Creditors
become an all-too-familiar headline and lead story - job cuts, dot.com failures, corporate
restructuring and lay-offs.
If you've recently lost your job, your first thoughts may be, "how will I make
ends meet." Money matters are a source of stress and frustration for many people. The
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes free brochures spelling out your rights when it
comes to fair debt collection and credit reporting practices.
Fair Debt Collection
If you find that you can't pay your bills on time, contact your creditors
immediately. Try to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a more
manageable level. Don't wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt
collector. At that point, your creditors have given up on you. The federal Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act requires debt collectors to treat you fairly by prohibiting
certain methods of debt collection. To learn more, call the FTC's Consumer Response Center
for a free copy of Fair Debt Collection, or visit
Fair Credit Reporting
Non-payment and late payments may affect your credit rating and your ability
to get credit in the future. Although creditors usually consider a number of factors in
deciding whether to grant credit, most creditors rely heavily on your credit history.
That's one reason it's important to make sure your credit report is accurate. For example,
if your file showed that you were once late in making payments, but didn't show that you
are no longer delinquent, it would be inaccurate. The credit reporting agency must show
that your payments now are current.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act
protects you by requiring credit bureaus to furnish correct and complete information to
businesses to use in evaluating your applications for credit, insurance or a job. For more
information, request a free copy of Fair Credit Reporting.
The FTC works for the consumer to
prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and
avoid them. To file a
complaint or to get free information
on consumer issues, visit
call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The
FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related
Consumer Sentinel, a
secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law
enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FOR THE CONSUMER