WASHINGTON (3/4/14)--This week is National Consumer Protection Week, and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is offering five tips to better protect their financial position.
"By executing one of the following steps each day, consumers will put themselves into a much safer financial position in just one week," said Gail Cunningham, NFCC spokesperson.
Review credit reports. Credit reports are viewed by potential lenders as well as landlords, cell phone providers and utility companies. Because a credit report captures a person's financial track record, it can strongly influence a lending decision, Cunningham noted. Consumers can access a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months from each of the three bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, by going to www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
Have an insurance review. Talk with the insurance agent about adequate coverage and appropriately priced premiums.
Get to know your credit card. Many people don't realize that certain protections are part of their credit card agreement such as return protection and extended warranties. The Fair Credit Billing Act allows consumers to seek a refund if a product purchased was unsatisfactory. For a list of credit protection laws, go to http://www.federalreserve.gov/creditcard/regs.html.
Know your rights. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created to protect consumers by carrying out federal consumer laws. It also restricts unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices, promotes financial education and accepts complaints. Consumers can submit issues with a financial product or service to the CFPB online at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/.
Consumers who are educated about the many rights and protections available have a greater peace of mind when making financial purchases or decisions, Cunningham said.