The Federal Trade Commission is the granddaddy of consumer protection agencies that deals with economic issues, although a newly launched government bureau seems to have been taking over for credit card complaints. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is the name of the new agency.
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If you think your credit card company or another company is engaging in unfair practices, the FTC is a good place to look for help. Both agencies are discussed below.
What is the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau?
The aim of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, or CFPB was created to monitor consumer financial services and products. This is a realm that definitely involves credit cards.
The bureau was launched in July 2011 and combines a number of powers that had previously been administered among seven government agencies, according to an article in the Christian Science Monitor. The CFPB website has a different look than other government sites, is much easier to navigate, and has two main sections setup to deal with mortgage complaints or credit card complaints.
Additional information on the website pertains to student loans, mortgage disclosures, and the Bureau’s attempt to revise credit card agreements so they are briefer and easier to understand. Because of its newness and its original lack of a director, there are some qualms about the bureau’s potential effectiveness. It also must be noted it is a bureau, which typically means it is a subdivision of another agency, although its parent agency is unclear.
What about the FTC?
The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, still holds a lot of clout and power – and will continue to do so, with consumer protection as one of its main aims. The agency has the power to pursue law enforcement activity and enhance consumer protection by sharing information with legislators at the state, local and international levels. Included in its duties are developing policies, conducting research, creating educational programs for businesses and consumers.
Originally established in 1914 to guard against unfair business competition practices, its realm has grown to include safeguards against any unfair and deceptive methods of doing business. A wide range of consumer protection laws fall under the jurisdiction of the FTC and it has several bureaus that performs the agency’s necessary work.
What laws and bureaus are under the FTC?
Laws administered by the FTC include those that pertain to consumer rights and protection. They include the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Pay-Per-Call Rule.
The FTC is also responsible for laws and regulations that related to credit and credit card companies, such as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act that prohibits companies from denying credit based on race, ethnicity, gender or anything other than credit worthiness.
A slew of other laws that may pertain to credit and card companies are also under the jurisdiction of the FTC, although such issues may be handled by one of the FTC’s bureaus or offices. The office of the General Counsel is part of the FTC, as are seven regional offices in various locations throughout the nation.
Bureaus that make up the FTC include the Bureau of Economics, Bureau of Competition, and the Bureau of Consumer Protection. The Bureau of Consumer Protection, or BCP handles many credit laws, regulations, and issues.
What specific laws and regulations does the BCP handle?
In addition to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the FTC’s BCP deals with the Credit Repair Organizations Act, Fair Credit Billing Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Additional consumer safeguards that may or may not pertain to credit card issues include the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, the Holder in Due Course Rule, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991.
Additional issues handled by the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection include consumer rights pertaining to credit reporting.
The BPC may be able to provide information on or help with issues involving credit cards and consumer loans as well as credit reports and their scoring. It also provides information on your rights when dealing with debt and suggestions on how to go about dealing with it.
It is unclear what duties may remain with the FTC’s BPC and what may have been shifted to the CFPB, so contacting both bureaus may be a good idea.
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