Now the fair credit reporting act is designed to help protect consumers against inaccurate information in our credit reports. And as consumers, we have the right to inspect our credit reports, and then correct any inaccurate information. Now you might ask, “how can I check my credit report?” Well, the federal government has required the 3 major credit bureaus to setup a website– it’s called annualcreditreport.com. It’s where you can get your free credit report from any of the 3 major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Now if a consumer is denied credit, that consumer has to be given the identity of the credit bureau or credit bureaus that provided the information to the lender.
Now the next law we want to talk about is the equal credit opportunity act or ECOA. This prohibits discrimination in the extension of credit by lenders. We’re actually extended beyond the fair housing protected classes when ECOA was created in the 1970s. ECOA extends protection not only to the protected classes in fair housing of race, color, creed, sex or national origin, but also to marital status, age and income from public assistance.
So for example if I were 90 years old and walk into a bank and said, “I want to borrow money on a 30 year loan,” they couldn’t laugh me out of the building. Or if I were a divorced woman and back in the 1970s, a single women had a great difficulty getting credit. If I were a divorced woman, the fact that I’m divorced would not would not be able to be a reason for them to deny me credit because of the equal credit opportunity act.
ECOA applies to companies in the lending business. It does not apply to a private lender who might make a loan here and there, and it doesn’t apply to sell the carry back financing, but bank savings institutions credit unions and mortgage companies. All have to abide by ECOA.
The next one we want to talk about is the ADA — the Americans with Disabilities Act. And the ADA requires equal access to public accommodations: now what is that mean? What it means is that properties that are open to the public– in other words business properties– must meet the ADA requirements. And we’re familiar with many of these because we’re all familiar with handicapped bathrooms, handicap parking spaces, ramps (going into and out of buildings), and many of the older buildings have had to be renovated in order to meet the ADA requirements. Newer buildings, of course, must be built, but with the understanding that the ADA requirements are met. So the next time you are in a public restroom or thinking about parking in a handicapped space, remember the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The next one is the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act. This is a federal law that deals with the sale of land across state lines. So any time land companies are selling property or around the country– let’s say it’s property in Arizona or property in Florida or whatever. They’re selling across state lines and they have to provide buyers with what’s called a “property report”.
This is a disclosure document. Now in Arizona, of course, if you are creating a subdivision there has to be a public report. But up from a federal perspective, if you’re selling land across state lines, this Interstate Land Act requires this property report as a disclosure document to buyers.
The last one we want to talk about is the Do Not Call Registry. We’ve all received telephone calls from telemarketers that we don’t want. And we can try to avoid these by registering through the Do Not Call Registry. It’s referred to as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and it’s regulated by the FTC. The FTC is the Federal Trade Commission and they established some national rules about about making phone calls.
So there’s a registry where you and I, as consumers, can register our phone number and this registration last indefinitely– it doesn’t last for just a year or 2– it lasts indefinitely.
And you can access it through do not call.gov. Yeah all telemarketers– you’re the real estate agents who are who are doing some telemarketing making cold calls. All telemarketers should check the registry, and even if a consumer’s phone number is not listed, the law says there can’t be any calls before 8:00 AM and no calls after 9 PM. And of course these things are often violated that for a period of time it seemed that there was a by these rules were being observed.
But in recent years on it– we’re talking about now in the late 2017 early 2018– in recent years, there seems to be a an abundance of these calls. Part of that is because of the exemptions. Under the law if you have an existing business relationship with someone you can contact– if you have their prior written permission– you can contact them.
So here’s what you should be aware of: callers have to access the Do Not Call Registry to make sure that the number is not on the Do Not Call List. If you are calling more than 5 different area codes, then there’s a registration fee that has to be paid. Penalties are pretty severe. So that does it for our brief discussion on federal regulations.