House Bill No. 6617

Public Act No. 99-40

An Act Prohibiting Advance Fees for Credit Repair Services.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 36a-700 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) As used in this section, "credit clinic" means any person who sells, provides or performs, or who represents that such person can or will sell, provide or perform, a service for the express or implied purpose of correcting, changing or deleting adverse entries on a consumer's credit record, history or rating or providing advice or assistance to a consumer with regard to correcting, changing or deleting adverse entries on a consumer's credit record, history or rating in return for the payment of a fee. "Credit clinic" does not include: (1) Credit rating agencies as defined in section 36a-695; (2) any person licensed to practice law in this state provided such person renders services as a credit clinic, as defined in this subsection, within the course and scope of his practice as an attorney; or (3) any organization which is exempt from taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as from time to time amended.

(b) A credit clinic shall provide to each purchaser of the services of a credit clinic a contract which contract shall include, in bold face type a minimum size of ten points, the following statements:

RIGHT TO REVIEW YOUR FILE

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to know what your credit file contains and the credit rating agency must provide someone to help you interpret the data. Sections 36a-695 to 36a-699, inclusive, of the Connecticut general statutes gives you the right to receive an actual copy of your credit report. You will be required to identify yourself to the credit rating agency and you may be charged a small fee. There is no fee, however, if you have been turned down for credit, employment or insurance because of information contained in a report within the preceding thirty days.

INCORRECT INFORMATION

If you notify the credit rating agency that you dispute the accuracy of information, the agency must reinvestigate and modify or remove inaccurate data. The credit rating agency may not charge any fee for this investigation or for modifying or removing inaccurate data. If reinvestigation does not resolve the dispute, you may enter a statement of one hundred words or less in your file, explaining why you dispute the accuracy of your record or file. This statement or a coded version of it must be included with all reports which the credit rating agency issues on you. If the error is corrected, the credit rating agency must notify any person who requested a report on you during the previous two years for employment purposes and the previous six months for any other purpose.

TIME LIMITS ON ADVERSE DATA

Most kinds of information in your file may be reported for a period of seven years. If you have declared personal bankruptcy, however, that fact may be reported for ten years. After seven or ten years, the information cannot be disclosed by a credit rating agency unless you are being investigated for a credit application of fifty thousand dollars or more, for an application to purchase life insurance of fifty thousand dollars or more, or for employment at an annual salary of twenty thousand dollars or more.

(c) In addition to statements required in subsection (b) of this section, each contract shall contain a complete, detailed list of services to be performed by the credit clinic and the results to be achieved by the credit clinic. A copy of the consumer's current credit report shall be attached to the contract with the adverse entries to be modified clearly marked.

(d) Any contract which does not comply with the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall be void and the credit clinic shall return to the consumer any payments made by the consumer to the credit clinic under the voided contract.

(e) No credit clinic may charge a fee or receive any money or other valuable consideration for the performance of any service the credit clinic has agreed to perform for any consumer until the credit clinic has fully performed such service.

[(e)] (f) A violation of any provision of this section shall be deemed an unfair or deceptive trade practice pursuant to section 42-110b.

Approved May 27, 1999

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