How The Equal Credit Opportunity Act Protects Consumers

consumer protection

Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), lenders and other entities that extend credit are prohibited from basing its credit decisions on characteristics including, but not limited to, age, race, color, gender, and marital status. Creditors may ask for most of this information in certain situations, but they may not use it when making their decision whether to grant or extend credit or when setting the terms of credit.

The ECOA provides protections when consumers interact or do business with any organizations or individuals that regularly extend credit, including banks, credit unions, finance companies, retail and department stores, credit card companies, and even real estate brokers who arrange financing for buyers. Any party that participates in the decision to grant credit or in establishing the terms of that particular credit must comply with the ECOA.

If a consumer is harmed by the creditor’s violation of the ECOA, whether due to discrimination or a notice violation, a cause of action may exist to sue the creditor. If successful, the court may award regular damages, up to $10,000 in punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. If the credit discrimination relates to housing, a lawsuit may be brought based on violations of the Fair Housing Act, which also provides for damages and attorneys’ fees for prevailing parties. A successful lawsuit based on violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act may also result in damages and attorneys’ fees.

The cost of debt collection defense with Loan Lawyers is an affordable option for anyone. Our Fort Lauderdale debt defense attorneys act expediently while keeping our clients fully informed. At Loan Lawyers, our South Florida consumer rights and debt defense attorneys help individuals with financial problems that cause hardship. The experienced South Florida defense attorneys at Loan Lawyers are here to explain and review your potential solutions for reorganizing and repaying debts. To schedule a free consultation at any of our three conveniently located offices, contact Loan Lawyers today by calling 954-523-HELP (4357).