Legislation can provide an indispensable framework to help protect consumers from exploitation, but that is hardly enough. The ultimate guardian of the consumer is the consumer. That means individual consumers, even in the best of times, must take responsibility for the evolution of their history. This means getting inaccurate information removed; understanding and explaining in a compelling fashion what went wrong and why, as well as what steps are being taken to rectify accurate negative information; and, correcting what's less than stellar in their conduct (paying down debt, making payments on time and exercising spending restraint where appropriate).
Even if such restraint runs counter to the spirit of the season, you must do whatever you can to strengthen your credit portfolio, thereby enhancing your ability to ride out any storm that might strike.
Better yet, here's your chance to prove that you can manage your life better than Congress can.
Adam Levin is chairman and cofounder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.