Avoid being considered a credit risk

September 5, 2008 5:34:13 PM PDT
If you're planning to use your credit card to buy a big purchase, you may want to make sure your card's line of credit hasn't been dropped. A new poll by Consumer Action found 18 percent of people surveyed had their limits reduced without asking for it. The executive director of Consumer Action, Ken McEldowney, has some advice.

Consumer Action credit tips:

AVOID BEING PERCEIVED AS A CREDIT RISK

  • Pay your bills on time
  • Avoid using more than 50% of your credit line
  • Check your credit report for errors

    You should also:

  • Order a free credit report annually at annualcreditreport.com
  • Dispute any errors in writing
  • Complain to a customer service manager at your credit card company

    Report your dissatisfaction with the change in credit card limit, interest rate etc. to The Federal Reserve and to lawmakers in Congress.

    In the House, the Credit Card Bill of Rights (HR 5244), in the Senate, the Credit CARD Act (S-3252), would ban some of the punitive practices now imposed by credit card companies.

    Ken McEldowney Bio:
    Ken McEldowney is executive director of Consumer Action; a San Francisco based consumer advocacy and education membership organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. Consumer Action has worked on food, insurance, utility, privacy, toxics, health care, banking, postal and telephone issues for more than 35 years.

    Its focus is on ensuring that the interests of low income and limited English-speaking consumers are protected during this period of deregulation and corporate mergers.

    Each year, CA distributes more than one million fact sheets to consumers in five languages through its na-tional network of 11,000 community organizations and social service organizations. Millions more access CA's materials through its multilingual Web site (consumer-action.org). Along with other staff, Ken McEldowney represents the consumer interest before state and federal regulatory bodies, Congress and the California Legislature.

    At Consumer Action, he directed its contracts with the FTC, FDA, Federal Reserve, DOT, CPUC and HUD. Prior to coming to Consumer Action he was consumer editor for a weekly paper. Ken McEldowney is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a BA in Political Science with graduate work in economics.

    He is quoted widely on telephone, utility, health care, insurance, privacy, and banking issues and has been asked to speak on a variety of con-sumer related topics at conferences throughout the country. Major corporations seek his ad-vice on a wide range of consumer is-sues and concerns.

    He is president of the Consumer Federation of America-a fed-eration of nearly 300 pro-consumer organizations with more than 50 million individual members.

    Among his other responsibilities, he sits on the California Public Utilities Commission's Lifeline Telephone Committee, the California Department of Insurance's CAARP Advisory Committee, the California Privacy and Security Advisory Board and the Board of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. He chairs the Consumer Subcommittee of the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee.
    Website: www.consumer-action.org


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