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What consumer protections do I have under the national CARD Act?
If I pay a delinquent account, will that remove it from my credit report?
How long does a delinquent debt remain on my credit report?
How do I identify a fraudulent sweepstakes scam?
How do I avoid becoming a victim of identity theft?
If I receive merchandise that I did not order, can I be charged for it?
Do I have three days in which to cancel a signed contract in New York State?
How do I find out if a product that I have purchased has been recalled?
How do I register for the National Do Not Call registry?


What consumer protections do I have under the national CARD Act?
On May 22, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Credit Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (“CARD”) Act. Many of the CARD Act’s consumer protection provisions became effective on February 22, 2010, including provisions eliminating online payment fees, ending two-cycle or double billing, setting forth new requirements for when consumers must receive bills, and implementing rules for when consumers must be notified about changes to their credit card accounts. With these protections, consumers have a stronger shield against credit card abuses such as deceptive language and unjustified interest rate increases on existing balances. Other provisions became effective on August 22, 2010, including provisions that limit the amount of penalty fees for late payments, prohibit inactivity fees, require explanation of rate increases, and mandate review of recent rate increases.

For a brief overview of the changes now in effect and to find more information on the CARD Act, visit the Federal Reserve Bank’s pages on What You Need to Know: New Credit Card Rules.

You can also visit the Federal Reserve Bank’s website on Consumer Credit for credit card holders to find out more information on the CARD Act.


If I pay a delinquent account, will that remove it from my credit report?
No. Payment will not automatically remove the debt. You may be able to negotiate removal of the negative information as part of the payment agreement with a third-party collection agency. The original creditor is not as likely to negotiate removal of the negative information.

If you do attempt to negotiate removal of the negative information from your credit report, make absolutely sure to get the terms of the agreement in writing and signed by someone with the authority to request removal of the information. This is essential because if the collection agency does not follow through with its promise to contact the credit bureaus, you can forward the written agreement to the credit bureaus yourself.

How long does a delinquent debt remain on my credit report?
Delinquent debts remain on credit reports for seven years. Chapter 7 bankruptcies remain on credit reports for 10 years.

How do I identify a fraudulent sweepstakes scam?
If a consumer receives a sweepstakes notification by mail or telephone informing them they are a winner, the consumer should not provide any form of payment to the sweepstakes company until they are certain they have entered that particular contest. In most cases, if the sweepstakes is a scam, there will be some sort of payment request made in order for the person to secure the winnings.

How do I avoid becoming a victim of identity theft?

1. Don't carry your Social Security card with you. Keep it in a safe place in your home.
2. Don't give any personal information to anyone on the phone or through the mail or Internet unless you initiated contact with them. This includes your Social Security number, your bank account number, your mother's maiden name, your address, or your credit card numbers.
3. Guard your mail. When you send out checks to pay bills, put them in a U.S. Post Office mailbox to prevent anyone from stealing them. If your mailbox isn't locked, you may want to buy a small lock for it.
4. Order a copy of your credit report at least once a year. This gives you a chance to find out what is on your report and notify the reporting agency of any errors.
You can order a free credit report:
• On the Internet: www.annualcreditreport.com
• On the phone: call 1-877-322-8228
• By mail – complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form found at:
https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/requestformfinal.pdf (PDF) and mail to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

If I receive merchandise that I did not order, can I be charged for it?
When merchandise is sent, although not ordered or requested by the consumer, the item is deemed a gift which the consumer may use or dispose of without any obligation. To avoid the consumer's assumption that unordered goods must be paid for, New York law requires that the goods include a conspicuous notice stating that payment is not required.

Do I have three days in which to cancel a signed contract in New York State?
There is a three day “cooling off period” that applies to door-to-door solicitations, dating services, health clubs and home improvement contracts. Contracts for those types of services must clearly stipulate your right to cancel that agreement within 72 hours.

How do I find out if a product that I have purchased has been recalled?
Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website at http://www.cpsc.gov and check out products in a variety of categories which have been recalled. Also, sign up for direct recall alerts from the CPSC relating to specific product categories by visiting the CPSC at https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx

How do I register for the National Do Not Call registry?
To register by phone, call toll-free (888) 382-1222 or go to www.donotcall.gov. You must call from the phone number you wish to register.