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We hope the articles below help you understand your rights as a consumer. You can scroll through the titles, or sort by Practice Area or Topic. You can also use the search feature to locate information by keyword.

Flitter Milz represents people with a variety of problems involving consumer credit and collections. If you have a particular question or believe your consumer rights have been violated, Contact Us for a no cost consultation.

Resolution for the New Year: Create a Budget and Avoid Credit Problems

Crafting a household budget is not only necessary to help evaluate spending patterns and measure income versus expenditures, but it also helps to ensure a secure financial future.

When an individual’s debt-to-income ratio rises, meaning that the person is taking on more debt than they are receiving in income, dire financial circumstances may occur for that person, and his or her family.

And if debt starts to get out of control and goes on unpaid for a period of time, debt collectors will no doubt start reaching out, your vehicle could get repossessed and credit scores could plummet.

It All Starts With Budgeting

The discipline of a budget helps keep a focus on income and payments towards all financial obligations.  Develop a plan to meet your obligations and protect your credit rating.

1. Obtain Current Credit Reports
One of the first steps toward keeping on top of your financial picture is to obtain current copies of your credit reports from the three main reporting agencies, Transunion, Experian and Equifax. You are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each credit bureau.

2. Evaluate Credit Reports for Accuracy
A review of your report will point out any negative entries and possibly errors, which could remain as black marks on your credit reports for up to seven-and-a-half years. These listings may affect terms on existing credit or your ability to obtain favorable terms on new lines of credit. If you discover errors on your reports, dispute the errors in writing directly with the credit bureau.

3. Where is your hard-earned money spent?

If you know how much money is coming in versus going out each month, it becomes less likely that you’ll overspend to the point where payments are skipped or missed. Create the budget that you can stick to with a payment schedule that you can meet.  When you stay in charge of your finances, you decide when it’s time to make a new purchase, whether it be for a home, education, a new vehicle, or another personal expense.

4. Develop a Budget that’s right for you.
It’s all about organization and discipline. Gather all of your paperwork, create files for each account, calendar your payments and focus on meeting your financial goals.  These steps will help you meet your goals.

  • Identify your income sources
  • Compile a list of all expenditures: i.e. rent/mortgage, auto loan, insurance, food, credit cards, etc.
  • Categorize expenses: i.e. essential/necessities versus extraneous/unnecessary
  • Develop a plan to satisfy obligations within a specific time period
  • Obtain current credit reports from Transunion, Experian and Equifax
  • Establish both long and short-term financial goals.
  • Develop a plan to meet your goals.
  • Consider ways to earn or save more to help meet your goals

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with consumer credit problems, such as credit reporting accuracy and privacy issues, abusive debt collection tactics, wrongful vehicle repossession, which stem from over-spending. If you have errors on your credit reports, have received contact from debt collectors, or your auto lender has repossessed your vehicle,  Contact Us for a no-cost evaluation to determine whether your consumer rights may have been violated.

Protecting Your Credit During a COVID-19 Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season is, under normal circumstances, a big stressor on the wallet. But this year proposes to be even more difficult than in years past, given that the global COVID-19 pandemic has led to massive job losses and financial hardships for people far and wide. Although the federal CARES Act offers some flexibility to consumers for payment of debt and subsequent credit reporting, it is important to consider the ramifications of over-spending on your credit rating, credit report and credit score.

Spending Habits Impact your Credit

The danger in over-spending comes when that monthly bill is due, and you are still unable to come up with the cash to pay it off.  Not paying credit card bills on time is one of those factors that will negatively affect your credit score and reports. By keeping spending habits under control, you can protect your credit and improve your ability to obtain new credit.

Buy now, Pay later?  You must be disciplined.

Using a credit card makes it easy to over-spend, especially during the holidays. The freedom of making purchases with a credit card today, could make it difficult to pay the bill the following month if purchases get out of hand.

But not paying obligations timely is one of those factors that will negatively affect someone’s credit score.  When you are unable to pay off your charge card in full at the end of the month, interest will continue to run on those purchases, plus all future purchases, until the entire credit line is paid off.  Your credit score and credit reports can take a hit when your payment history shows missed or late payments.

Monitor your Credit Score and Credit Report

Credit reports and credit scores help reflect an individual’s financial picture. They are tools used to determine someone’s creditworthiness to lenders, help landlords make a determination as to whether you qualify as a trustworthy tenant, and are used by potential employers who are screening job applicants.

 

Credit Reports
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is the federal law that regulates the credit reporting agencies. The bureaus must list consumer’s information accurately.  Consumers may obtain a free credit report every twelve months to check their reports for errors.  When information is listed inaccurately, the consumer must send a written dispute to the bureau and request a correction to the report.

Credit Scores
Credit scores indicate to a prospective lender how likely the consumer is to pay back the obligation on time and in full.  Scores are determined by a number of factors including:

    • The type of credit held by the consumer, such as credit card accounts, home mortgages, vehicle loans, and any other debt.
    • Credit history, as in the length of time someone has held an account.
    • The total amount of existing debt that someone has in his or her name.
    • Payment history, whether scheduled payments are made in full and on time.
    • Credit activity, or the frequency a person has applied for a credit account, as well as the number of credit inquiries.
    • The percentage of available credit used.

Seek Legal Advice

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents people with credit reporting accuracy and privacy issues, contact from abusive debt collectors and wrongful repossession. If you are someone who has suffered a hardship during the pandemic and feel as though your consumer rights have been violated by the credit bureaus, a lender or debt collector, Contact Us for a no-cost evaluation.

 

Credit reporting and the CARES Act

Cares Act on Mask

These are challenging times that we live in.  Many people are forced to live on less income due to job loss, a death in the family, and involuntary pay cuts. Understandably, some people have fallen behind on their monthly payments, and are concerned about the negative impact on their credit reports.

Continue reading Credit reporting and the CARES Act

Prioritizing Your Finances in an Economic Crisis

Consumers Law Prioritizing Your Finances in an Economic Crisis

Prioritizing your finances during an economic crisis is a crucial skill to master. Deciding what bills to pay, and what bills to set aside now becomes increasingly more important. This is something you will want to do as soon as possible, because the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to get a firm grip on your finances.

Continue reading Prioritizing Your Finances in an Economic Crisis

Identity Theft During Economic Crises: Look for Credit Report Errors

Credit Score Consumers Law

You may think an identity theft hacker may not notice you. That’s not true. The ways identity thieves pick their targets are more about accessibility. They don’t care about your financial situation. Cybercriminals look for weak spots in personal financial security and privacy they can exploit for profit.  Too often, the way we find we’ve been financially hacked is when credit report errors are revealed. It’s never at a good time, either. Most often it occurs when we’re about to seek credit for a home mortgage, car or personal loan.

Continue reading Identity Theft During Economic Crises: Look for Credit Report Errors

How can a Credit Report Lawyer help me?

Mistake on Credit Report

Credit report errors happen more often than most of us would like to think. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has listed credit report errors as one of the top complaints filed.  Believe it or not, one out of every 20 of us have errors on one of our three major credit reports.

Continue reading How can a Credit Report Lawyer help me?

How Will Borrowing Money Affect My Credit?

Getting a Loan

Taking out a loan can help you build your credit.  But remember, to get that benefit, loans must be paid back in full and on time, and according to the terms of the loan agreement.  When these terms are not met, the lender can take steps to repossess collateral and collect any money that is owed.  As a result, the defaulted loan can be listed negatively on credit reports and lower your credit scores.

Let’s take a closer look at how this all works.

Continue reading How Will Borrowing Money Affect My Credit?

How Long Does it take for a Repossession to come off your Credit Report?

Low Credit Score from Car Repossession

It’s not enough stress to have your car repossessed, but the consequences  —  collection contact and negative credit reporting  —  can be too much to bear.

Car repossessions carry negative weight to a credit report for 7 ½ years from the date it was first reported as late by the lender.  Credit scores may drop and your ability to get new credit, and credit with favorable terms, may diminish.

In this blog, we’d like to take a closer look at how long a repossession remains on your credit report and what you can do to correct credit reporting errors.

Continue reading How Long Does it take for a Repossession to come off your Credit Report?

What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

FCRA Fair Credit Reporting Act on a table.

October 26, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most important pieces of consumer protection legislation in the country’s history: The Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, is a federal law governing how consumer credit information can be used and distributed. It gives consumers the right to see what’s on their credit reports and dispute errors and inaccurate information.

Continue reading What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?