If You Found an Error on Your Bill
You should always review your credit card bill
every month as soon as you receive it. If you
find something wrong, a charge you didn’t
make, a credit you didn’t receive, a double
charge or anything like that, contact your card
company immediately and follow the billing rights
instructions on the back of your billing statement.
If you don’t follow upright away they might
not have to fix the problem.
Billing errors do occur, but they are easy to
fix if you know how to use the Fair Credit Billing
Act (FCBA). To be protected under this law, you
must send the creditor a written notice about
the problem to avoid paying for any charges you
dispute. You may call them instead, however just
calling does not protect you the way writing to
the company does..
The law defines a billing error as any charge:
- for something you didn't buy or for a purchase
made by someone not authorized to use your account;
- that is not properly identified on your bill
or is for an amount different from the actual
purchase price or was entered on a date different
from the purchase date; or
- for something that you did not accept on
delivery or that was not delivered according
Billing errors also include:
- errors in arithmetic;
- failure to show a payment or other credit
to your account;
- failure to mail the bill to your current
address, if you told the creditor about an address
change at least 20 days before the end of the
billing period; or
- any questionable item, or an item for which
you need more information.
The Fair Credit Billing Act requires
creditors to correct errors promptly and without
damage to your credit rating.
In order to be able to take full advantage of
your rights under the law, you need to: .
- 1. Write to the bank, the financial institution,
or retailer who issued the card. Your letter
must be received within 60 days after the issuer
mailed you the first bill containing the error.
In your letter include: your name and account
number; the date, type, and dollar amount of
the charge you are disputing; and why you think
there was a mistake. It’s also a good
idea to photo copy the bill and include that
Some examples of reasons for dispute are:
- I did not authorize this charge.
- I did not receive the goods I ordered.
- I returned the goods I ordered
because they were defective, but did
not get a credit.
- The merchant sent me the wrong
- The merchant did not complete the
services I contracted for or performed
- The merchant billed me for $100
when I agreed to pay $10.
I canceled the contract with the merchant
or contractor before work was performed.
Although I agreed to buy something
from this merchant, I did not authorize
him or her to bill my account.
- Be sure to send the letter to the correct
address for billing inquiries, as designated
by the card issuer. You can find the proper
address on your bill under a heading such as
"send inquiries to."
- Make sure you do not put your letter in the
same envelope as your payment. It is a good
idea to send the letter by certified mail in
order to be able to track the inquiry later.
- Pay your bill on time, do not withhold funds.
You do not need to pay the amount you are disputing
but everything else must be paid on time.,
When they receive your dispute the creditor
- Acknowledge your letter in writing within
30 days after it is received, unless the problem
has been resolved within that time.
- Conduct a reasonable investigation and, within
no more than 90 days, either explain why the
bill is correct or correct the error.
- Include documents showing that the charge
was correct, if the creditor states the bill
is correct and you asked for "proof"
in your letter.
If the credit card company made a mistake then
you do not need to pay the disputed amount nor
any accrues interest. They must correct your account,
and they must notify you with an explanation of
any amount you still owe. If no error is found,
the creditor must send you an explanation of the
reasons for that finding and promptly send a statement
of what you owe, which may include any finance
charges that have accumulated and any minimum
payments you missed while you were questioning
the bill. You then have the time given on your
type of account to pay any balance, but not less
than 10 days.
Under the FCBA, the card issuer cannot close
your account just because you disputed a bill.
Your dispute rights also apply to certain purchases
on credit card if you have problems with the quality
of the goods or services you purchased. See Defectives
If you continue to have problems with the card
issuer, you might wish to seek legal advice or
contact your local consumer protection agency.
For more information about this law, contact the
FTC for a free brochure. Write: "Fair Credit
Billing," Public Reference, Federal Trade
Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580.