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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Money and Credit

The Attorney General’s Office provides the following guidance related to money and credit:

Debt Adjusters Adjusters are businesses that offer to settle, negotiate, compromise, or otherwise act on a debtor’s behalf to adjust or lower the terms and payments of outstanding debts. These companies typically charge a fee for their services. Some of these services may be helpful, but many are not.

Debt Collectors: If you are behind on your credit card payments, your home mortgage, a personal loan or other debt, you may be contacted by the creditor or a debt collection agency acting on the creditor’s behalf. There are laws to ensure fair debt collection practices.

Foreclosures: As more homeowners are facing foreclosure and other mortgage troubles, an increasing number of scams have emerged trying to take advantage of homeowners’ concern over losing their homes. Vermont has several laws and suggestions to help homeowners.

Personal Loans: Vermont has several laws to ensure fair loan practices, including a cap on interest rates, and lender licensing requirements. Loans that are: (i) Small-Dollar (i.e., $250-$5,000); (ii) High-Interest (i.e., above 30%); and (iii) Short-Term (i.e., for 2-4 weeks), are generally illegal in Vermont (separate rules apply to bank loans and credit cards).

Unwanted Phone Calls: Vermont provides guidance on how to handle telemarketing calls and other types of harassing or unwanted phone calls. Many consumers lose money to scams that are initiated via phone calls.

Credit Cards: Disputing a transaction, correcting billing errors, avoiding fraud and identity theft, etc.

Sweepstakes and Bogus Checks: Be wary of checks in the mail purporting to pay you for “winnings,” “prizes,” or something you didn’t expect — especially if you are asked to send money in return to “claim your prize or cash.”