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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.

Loan Applications & your Credit Reports

Consumer credit is when credit is advanced to a consumer for the purchase of personal or household goods or services. The system for extension of credit allows consumers to borrow money, or incur debt, and to defer repayment of that money over time.

Obtaining Credit

Having credit enables consumers to buy goods or assets without having to pay for them in cash at the time of purchase. For example, if a consumer wants to purchase expensive items such as a home, car, or an education, it’s unusual for that person to have cash available to make the purchase.  Obtaining credit permits the consumer to make the purchase and pay for it with scheduled monthly payments over a specific period of time.

Finance Options

Consumers may explore options to finance the purchase by contacting banks, credit unions and financial institutions. The terms for borrowing money may vary from one lender to another.  After submission of a credit application, lenders take steps to evaluate the borrower’s creditworthiness. Typically, a credit application triggers a hard inquiry on the borrower’s credit reports.

Credit Application Submission

Consumers must provide written permission for their credit report to be accessed. The reports aid in assessing payment history and the borrower’s ability to repay debt to a lender and not default.  Credit scores are a 3-digit number that reflect a consumer’s ability to repay a loan and help to determine terms, such as interest rates and length of the loan.

Most important, in advance of seeking new credit, consumers should obtain a current copy of their credit report from each of the three main bureaus – Transunion, Experian and Equifax, and review the reports for accuracy. If there is information that is incorrect or needs to be updated, a dispute should be filed with the credit bureau.  The bureaus have 30 days to respond to the dispute.  Once information is corrected, the consumer may see an increase in his or her credit score. 

Five Factors Considered in the Loan Application Process

      1. Character:
        Does the borrower have a good credit payment history? Have payments been managed well in the past?
      2. Capacity:
        What is the borrower’s ability to repay the loan?  How much debt does the borrower have in relation to his or her income?
      3. Capital:
        Does the borrower have assets or savings to put towards the loan?  Will the borrower make a down payment?
      4. Collateral:
        Does the borrower have assets that can be provided as security for the loan?
      5. Conditions:
        Lenders may consider how the borrower plans to use the loaned money. Also, they may evaluate economic conditions that dictate whether the loan may be high risk and one that they want to take.

 Credit Denial

Borrowers must be prepared for the lender to approve or deny the application. If the consumer is denied a loan, the lender must send a letter to the consumer explaining the specific reason, or let the consumer know about their right to request information that led to the decision for denial within 60 days.  Also, if the denial is related to information that appears on the credit report, the lender must provide the credit bureau name, address and phone number for the consumer to inquire about the denial.

Are credit references necessary?

A credit reference is one of the methods lenders and service providers use to determine a borrower’s creditworthiness.  Credit references can include your bank, previous landlords, employers, or companies whose bills you’ve paid regularly.  Depending on the type of application, it is best to submit the best reference for the situation.  Typically, this person or company would improve the borrower’s chances for approval for the type of loan that is sought. 

Seek advice from Experienced Consumer Lawyers

If you’ve been denied credit due to errors on your credit report, contact Flitter Milz for a no cost case evaluation.  Errors on credit reports can lower your credit score, which can hurt your ability to get new lines of credit or receive favorable terms on a new loan.  Contact Us today.

Understanding Auto Loan Financing

Auto Loan

Cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs or boats, they’re all expensive.  It’s unusual that these purchases are made in cash.  Whether buying a new or used vehicle, most people choose to finance the purchase and make specified payments over a designated period of time.  Financing can be arranged in two different ways.

Continue reading Understanding Auto Loan Financing

Who Can See Your Credit Report?

Your credit report contains quite a bit of information about your financial history. It includes personal information, all of your open credit accounts and whether or not they are in good standing, and any negative marks, such as accounts in default or vehicle repossessions. Due to the sensitive nature of this information, not just anyone can see a copy of your credit report.

Continue reading Who Can See Your Credit Report?

What to Do if You’re Denied a Loan

Loans are commonly used for expenses like car purchases, home improvements, medical bills, and weddings. They can also be used to consolidate debt or pay off credit card bills at a lower interest rate. Loans with reasonable interest rates can provide a means to purchase an item and pay for it over time.

But what happens if you’re denied for that car loan, or a bank loan that was to help with an unexpected expense? Review the following steps which may help provide a solution.

  1. Figure out why you were denied

A loan application could be denied for a number of reasons. It’s important to understand the bank’s reason for not approving your application. It’s possible that your income doesn’t meet the required amount or your employment history is inconsistent.

Loan applications may also be denied due to incorrect information on the application itself, or errors on the applicant’s credit report. You should verify that your identifying information like social security number and birth date are correct on the application. Check your credit report to make sure all information is accurate and dispute anything that is incorrect.

Banks also look at your debt to income ratio when you apply for a loan. If you already have significant debt, it will be more difficult to secure a loan. Your overall credit is also an important factor. If you have a history of late payments or negative listings on your credit report, the bank may deny your application.

 2. Submit an application with a different bank

If one bank denies your application, you can try applying with another. It’s generally best to apply with your own bank before trying a different one, but banks have different criteria and guidelines for loan approval. You may be able to secure a loan with another institution.

3. Consider getting a guarantor or co-signer

If you’re not able to secure a loan on your own, whether due to poor credit or insufficient income, a co-signer might be a good option. When a guarantor signs onto a loan, he or she agrees to take on financial responsibility if the borrower is unable to make payments. This helps the bank ensure that the loan will be paid back.

4. Pay down debt

If your debt to income ratio is the issue, take some time to create some attainable goals to pay down your debt. Banks typically want your debt to income ratio below 35% to approve another loan.

5. Review your budget and credit profile

Sometimes a loan denial is a sign that you need to reassess your finances and make some changes. Each time you apply for a loan, the lender performs a hard inquiry to pull your credit information. Hard inquiries can temporarily hurt your credit. Take a break from loan applications for now and work on improving your credit, paying down debt, and tracking your expenses.

6. Seek legal advice

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm representing people with credit reporting errors, wrongful car repossessions, contact from debt collectors and unwanted “robo” calls.  Whether payments were missed, or a debt is owed or not, the consumer has rights against the credit bureaus, lenders or collectors.  Contact us for a free consult to determine whether your consumer rights were violated.

Don’t Get Burned on Bad Credit

Checking your report regularly is the best way to ensure that your finances are healthy and that your overall credit remains in good standing. Poor credit can negatively affect your life in many ways. You can request your credit report by mail or online at

Consequences of Poor Credit

1. Higher Interest Rates

Individuals with lower credit scores and negative listings on their credit report will incur higher interest rates on new lines of credit.

2. Credit Application Denial

Poor credit can also result in loan application denial. Lenders will view you as a high risk borrower and are less likely to approve your application. This could mean you’ll have more difficulty purchasing a home or vehicle.

3. Difficulty Finding a Job

It’s becoming more common for potential employers to check an applicant’s credit before making a final hiring decision. This is especially common for jobs within banking and financial services, government, or jobs that require security clearance. Employment screening reports are also often used for trucking, nursing, food, and retail positions. Employers are required to provide you with report details if you’re denied a position as a result of the report.

4. Rental Application Denial

A lower credit score is likely to make it more difficult to rent an apartment. Landlords want to see that you can make payments on time. Poor credit can be a red flag that makes them less likely to rent to you.

5. Higher Utility Bills

A person with lower credit may experience higher utility bills than someone whose credit is in good standing. It can also make it more difficult to negotiate a cell phone contract, or result in a more expensive contract.

6. Debt Collection Contact

Negative credit listings are typically the result of late payments or accounts in default. When someone doesn’t make payments for 60 to 90 days, the account may be sent to a debt collector. Debt collection contact can be overwhelming and intimidating and can add stress to your financial situation.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting privacy and accuracy problems. Contact Us for a free legal evaluation of credit report errors.


Hard Inquiry v. Soft Inquiry: What’s the Difference?

When a lender or financial institution accesses your credit report, it’s called an inquiry. Credit reporting agencies classify inquiries as hard or soft, and record the credit inquiries on your report.

Hard Inquiries

When you apply for credit like an auto loan, credit card, personal loan, or student loan, the lender must request permission to access your credit file. This type of inquiry will show as a hard inquiry on your credit report. If you have multiple hard inquiries, the lender may see you as a higher risk, and possibly deny your credit application. Hard inquiries may stay on your credit report for up to two years, and possibly lower your credit score, generally by a small amount.

Soft Inquiries

Soft inquiries are when the lender does not review your credit file for the purpose of new credit. Businesses may access your credit file if they have an existing credit relationship with you. For example, a credit card company or bank may access your credit file when promoting a credit account offer or special rates on a product. This type of soft inquiry should not have an effect on your credit score.

As a consumer, you’re able to request your credit report, called a “consumer file disclosure.” These requests do not have a negative impact on credit scores. Transunion, Experian, and Equifax provide free credit reports to consumers every twelve months, upon request. Throughout the year, you can choose to view your report frequently to monitor any changes to your credit file.

Take Steps to Protect Yourself

Hard inquiries are unavoidable if you want to apply for a loan or new credit card. Before making a new loan application, follow these guidelines:

  • Check credit reports for accuracy. Although Transunion, Experian, and Equifax share information, credit listings may differ from one bureau’s report to another. Check your reports for duplicate entries, someone else’s information on your report, and reporting errors. Inaccurate listings should be corrected BEFORE applying for new credit.
  • Unauthorized credit pulls. If your credit files were accessed without authorization, write to the creditor, state that you did not authorize them to pull your report, and request that the hard inquiry be removed.
  • Shop for credit, just as you would any new purchase. Prospective lenders view multiple credit checks from similar creditors as one inquiry if they happen within 14 – 45 days. Multiple inquiries for the same types of credit lines are indicators that the consumer is shopping for the best rate. Rate shopping should not impact your credit score negatively. Do not sign an authorization that allows a prospective lender, like a car dealer, to pull your credit report many times over an extended period. Be sure the credit authorization is limited to, perhaps, 3 credit pulls over one week’s time.

Seek Legal Assistance

Flitter Milz is a credit report dispute law firm that represents people who have experienced harm from hard inquiries on his or her credit reports.  Contact Us for a free legal review to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

Why was my Credit Application Denied?

Applications for new credit go through an approval process. The prospective lender has criteria that is considered when reviewing a credit application.  Factors such as the items listed below may have been examined:

–   Your credit and payment history
–   Your income
–   Your total debt to income ratio
–   Multiple applications for credit within a short period
–   Had you filed for bankruptcy
–   Your age
–   Do you need a co-signer

While specific qualification criteria may vary from one creditor to another, a determination is made whether to extend or deny the application. When a credit application is denied, the applicant will receive a letter from the creditor with an explanation of why the credit was declined. Here are some possible reasons behind your credit denial:

Errors on your Loan Application
Your application had errors.  Review your loan application to see whether information was incomplete or misspelled.  Check your identifying information closely for your full name, address, social security number, and birth date. Remember that multiple applications in a short amount of time could also hurt your ability to be approved.

Errors on your Credit Report
Within 60 days of a credit application denial, you may request a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus  —  Transunion, Experian and Equifax. Write to the bureaus for a new report.  Review them for listings that may be inaccurate.  If you see errors, such as duplicate negative listings, accounts that you do not recognize, or incorrect reporting, you must send written disputes to the credit bureaus.  Your dispute letter should include documents that illustrate why the error should be corrected.  Send your letter by Certified Mail, Return Receipt to the credit bureau.  They have 30 days to respond to your dispute.  If the bureaus continue to list the error, you may need to send a second dispute.

Employment History
Review your employment information. Make sure the listings for your employer(s) are accurate.  If there has been a lapse in employment, it could be a factor that was considered for the credit denial.

Credit Payment History
Erratic payment history can also lead to credit denial. Late or missed payments and charged off accounts reflect negatively on your payment history. High balances, collection accounts, and repossessions could also lead to denial.  Also, no credit history could be reason for denial. Creditors may be unwilling to offer credit if you don’t have a well-established credit score.

Public Records
Review your report to see if there are public records listed for bankruptcy, judgments, or tax (or other) liens.  If any of these items have been satisfied, you will need to dispute the listing with the credit bureau and provide documentation showing the obligation has been paid.

Financial Problems
Financial struggles can also be the root of credit denial. Collection accounts and a high debt to income ratio will reflect negatively on your credit history. A high number of credit inquiries are another negative.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm representing victims of credit reporting privacy and accuracy issues, abusive debt collection contact and wrongful repossessions.  Contact Us to discuss your consumer credit concern.

Is Your Credit Score Holding You Back?

Building and repairing credit is easier said than done. Whether you are trying to build credit or repair credit after some financial mishaps, the discipline to meet financial decisions responsibly can be paralyzing. And if you’re in the midst of a credit crisis, the situation could seem hopeless.

For better or worse, we live in a credit-dominated society.  Big purchases such as homes, cars, education, furniture, internet service, and cell phones require a credit history. Good credit enables us to make these purchases and enjoy the benefits that come with them.  Bad credit makes these purchases a challenge.  Although you may get approved for the loan, the credit terms may be more expensive and carry higher fees and interest rates.  And, you need to be cautious.  The ease of spending on credit, without paying cash at the time of purchase, can create a cycle of over spending.  Suddenly, it’s difficult to meet monthly bills.

Begin building your credit

If you’ve never had credit, or if you’re working your way out of financial hardship, you may need to seek some help.  One option may be to get a secured credit card from your bank. This type of card requires a cash security deposit, which reduces the risk to the issuer and can help you build a credit history.  A number of banks offer secured credit cards, where you can put money on the card that acts as your credit limit. These secured cards work differently than pre-paid and debit cards. You will receive monthly bills to pay in order to avoid penalties.  Most important, make sure the furnisher of this card reports to the credit bureaus. You want your good payment history to count towards building or repairing your credit.

A second option may be to become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. This means that the primary account holder adds your name to their credit card account.  You will receive a card and pay for the items you’ve charged.  The accounts where you are an authorized user will likely appear on your credit report, along with your good payment history.  Most of all, you want to establish financial discipline for paying back borrowed money on time.

Credit Cards Require Responsibility

After building up some credit, you will likely become eligible for a credit card of your own.  But, beware.  Credit cards are a lot of responsibility.  You must avoid overspending so that you can pay off your balance in full, and on time, every month.

Pay your bills on time

Whether you get hard copies in the mail or emailed statements examine how much you owe.  Plan your expenses so that you’ve saved enough money to make payments on time. Bills can be scary and intimidating, especially if you’ve spent more than you can afford to pay.

Credit reports list delinquent payments and bring down your credit score. Some people find setting up automatic payments from a bank account helps to stay current on bills.

Obtain current credit reports

Every twelve months consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each Transunion, Experian and Equifax.  Review your report for accuracy.  If you find errors, dispute them by writing to the credit bureau. You want your credit report to be an accurate reflection of your credit history.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit report problems, those who’ve had contact from abusive debt collectors or a vehicle wrongfully repossessed by a lender. Whether the consumer fell behind on payments or not, there are laws that the credit bureau, debt collector and lender must follow.  Contact Us for a free consultation to discuss whether your consumer rights were violated.