Credit - You Have The Right To. ? Have credit in your birth name (Mary Smith), your first and your spouse's last name (Mary Jones), or your first name and a combined last name (Mary Smith-Jones). ? Get credit without a cosigner, if you meet the creditor's standards. ? Have a cosigner other than your husband or wife, if one is necessary. ? Keep your own accounts after you change your name, marital status, reach a certain age, or retire, unless the creditor has evidence that you're not willing or able to pay. ? Know whether your application was accepted or rejected within 30 days of filing a complete application.
? Know why your application was rejected. The creditor must give you a notice that tells you either the specific reasons for your rejection or your right to learn the reasons if you ask within 60 days. ? Acceptable reasons include: "Your income was low," or "You haven't been employed long enough." Unacceptable reasons are: "You didn't meet our minimum standards," or "You didn't receive enough points on our credit-scoring system." Indefinite and vague reasons are illegal, so ask the creditor to be specific. ? Find out why you were offered less favorable terms than you applied for?unless you accept the terms.
Ask for details. Examples of less favorable terms include higher finance charges or less money than you requested. ? Find out why your account was closed or why the terms of the account were made less favorable unless the account was inactive or delinquent. A Special Note To Women A good credit history?a record of how you paid past bills?often is necessary to get credit.
Unfortunately, this hurts many married, separated, divorced, and widowed women. There are two common reasons women don't have credit histories in their own names: they lost their credit histories when they married and changed their names; or creditors reported accounts shared by married couples in the husband's name only. If you're married, divorced, separated, or widowed, contact your local credit bureau(s) to make sure all relevant information is in a file under your own name. If You Suspect Discrimination. ? Complain to the creditor.
Make it known you're aware of the law. The creditor may find an error or reverse the decision. ? Check with your state Attorney General to see if the creditor violated state equal credit opportunity laws. Your state may decide to prosecute the creditor. ? Bring a case in federal district court.
If you win, you can recover damages, including punitive damages. You also can obtain compensation for attorney's fees and court costs. An attorney can advise you on how to proceed. ? Join with others and file a class action suit. You may recover punitive damages for the group of up to $500,000 or one percent of the creditor's net worth, whichever is less.
Report violations to the appropriate government agency. If you're denied credit, the creditor must give you the name and address of the agency to contact. While some of these agencies don't resolve individual complaints, the information you provide helps them decide which companies to investigate.
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