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by Helen Silvis of The Skanner News
Published: 12 August 2013

It's easy for ordinary people to be ripped off by big corporations, banks and financial profiteers. When you take out a loan, sign up for a credit card or send money across international borders, you could be dealing with a businesses operating on the edge of the law –or outside it.  In fact, every time you sign a contract, you take a risk. So who is in your corner when it comes to dealing with financial products and services? And what about debt collectors? Do you know your rights?
Click the link at the foot of the page for the ANSWERS.

1. Which federal agency is charged with helping Americans get a fair deal from banks, loan and credit, and money transfer companies?
A. The General Accounting Office
B. The Securities and Exchange Commission
C. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
D. The General Services Administration

2. Which of the following examples of debt collection are illegal under federal law?
A. A collection agent calls you at all hours to recover a debt, sometimes even at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m.
B. A collection agent calls and says if you don't pay your debt you will be arrested and jailed.
C. Without your knowledge or permission, a collection agent calls your workplace and tells your co-worker she is collecting a debt from you.
D. You pay your debt installment on time, but it takes a week for the collection agency to process it. It posts two days after the due date.   The agency charges you a late fee. 
E.  All of the above

3. An attorney from Portland is one of 25 people appointed by President Obama to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Advisory Board. Who is it?

A. Amanda Marshall

B. Robert Stoll

C. Kenneth Walker

D. Amy Margolis

4. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created two years ago. Since then, how much money has it given back to consumers because of illegal practices?
A. $430 million
B. $175,000
C. $25 million
D. $100 million

5. You can enter a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about:
A. Credit reports and debt collectors
B. Mortgages and student loans
C. Overseas money transfers
D. All of the above (and any other financial services company)

6. Which area of the financial services industry has generated most consumer complaints so far?
A. Payday lenders
B. Debt collectors
C. Mortgage lenders
D. Student loans

7. A college education is one of the most important pathways into higher paying jobs. But the economic downturn has left one in every eight student borrowers in default. Which of the following is an option for student loan borrowers?
A.  You can apply to spend a year as an Americorps Vista volunteer. As a volunteer you will earn a small living allowance and at the end of your service receive up to $5,500 (2013 amount) to pay off your education debt.
B. You can apply for the Pay as You Earn program, which allows borrowers to pay 10 percent of whatever they make above the federal poverty line, and then have the balance of their debt forgiven after 10 or 20 years.
C. If you are in default you can rehabilitate your loan by paying nine consecutive on-time payments, based on your income. You only need to make a payment that is reasonable and affordable for your situation.
D. All of the above.

8. Which Senator from the Northwest has championed consumer financial rights as a member of the Senate Banking Committee?

A. Sen. Jeff Merkley D-OR
B. Sen. Maria Cantwell D-WA

C. Sen. Patty Murray D-WA
D. Sen. Mark Begich  D-AK

Get the answers here to Do You Know Your Financial Rights?

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