There are many billing errors that would necessitate a credit card charge dispute letter. On most credit card bills there is the fine print that says calling about billing errors will not preserve the consumer’s rights. This is why the dispute needs to be in writing.
Some of the most common reasons for disputes are:
• Charged twice for the same item
• Failure to credit a payment to the account
• Charged for merchandise not received or returned
• Math mistakes
• Unauthorized charges
• Charges with the wrong date or amount
These errors can be corrected through dispute settlement procedures that are provided by the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA). If these procedures are not followed, the consumer could lose the dispute because of a technicality such as not filing within the time limit or not informing of the dispute in writing. The FCBA applies only to billing errors and not to disputes about the quality of goods and services.
The time limit for notifying the credit card company about an incorrect charge is 60 days from the date the bill was mailed. The credit card company must resolve the dispute in less than 90 days or within two billing periods after they have received the consumer’s letter. The letter should be sent to the correct department for disputes such as the dispute department or billing enquires. It should not be sent to customer service or to the address where bills are paid. Consumers can call the credit card company or look in the billing rights summary on the statement for the correct address.
While the credit card company is investigating the dispute, the consumer may withhold payment for the disputed amount. However, other parts of the bill that are not in dispute must be paid. The credit card company may not take any legal action against the consumer during the investigation, and the account may not be closed or restricted, but the disputed amount may be applied against the consumer’s credit limit.
If the dispute ends in favor of the consumer, all charges, late fees and any other charges that are related to the error must be removed, and the consumer must be informed of the decision in writing. If the dispute ends in favor of the credit card company, the consumer may appeal the result in writing within 10 days after receiving the explanation from the credit card company.
At this time, the credit card company my begin proceedings to get the money from the consumer, but if the consumer has sent written objection, this must be included by the credit card company when they report to any credit reporting company. If the consumer's credit report has been affected negatively, the company must report the continuing process to each person who got a copy of the report.
If the credit card company does not follow correct procedures in relation to a dispute, and the consumer who is disputing can prove it, the credit card company cannot collect any money from the consumer even if the investigation ends in the credit card company’s favor. For this reason, it is important for the consumer to be sure everyone is following FCBA rules.
By Andre Bradley