At some point of time, you might have received billing for a product you had returned or had never received. Your credit card company might have twice extracted money from you for the same item. These things are bound to annoy you a lot; but, they can be corrected too. The dispute settlement processes of Fair Credit Billing Act can get you out through it.
The Fair Credit Billing Act is a federal law in United States passed in the form of an amendment to TILA (Truth in Lending Act). The chief purpose of the act involves protecting consumers from unjust billing practices. According to the Fair Credit Billing, people who use “open end” credit accounts are given the right to fight against unfair and fraudulent credit charges.
The law involves “open end” credit accounts including credit cards and departmental store accounts. However, the law has certain limitations as well. It does not include installments (at times, customers purchase certain items on installment basis) and contracts, such as any kind of loan that is to be paid back within a fixed time frame.
One thing that is to be kept in mind is that the settlement process of FCBA includes the disputes related to “billing errors”. Some of the most common errors include:
Wrong account or date charges
Charges related to goods, which were agreed as not delivered or something you didn’t accept
Failure to accurately post credits or payments
Charges for something you had asked an explanation of or a written proof. The proof is related to any kind of purchase that you had claimed had an error and had requested for proper clarification
Charges for sending mails to the wrong addresses
In case you want to dispute an error in the bill, you must follow certain rules. Write a letter to the concerned creditor and elucidate the particular billing error. Make sure you write your name in full, along with the proper documents and receipts to support your statement. Remember to retain a photo copy of everything you give. Moreover, while you send the mail, ask for a return receipt. Send it through certified mail assuring that it will be delivered to the creditor within 60 days, following the first erroneous bill that was mailed to you.
Now, the creditor must admit receiving your mail within a span of 30 days after receiving the letter. It rests on the creditor to settle the dispute within two billing cycles. However, make sure you keep on paying other sections of the bill, since if the rest of the bill remains unpaid you might face certain penalties or be charged with a soaring rate of interest.
While the investigation goes on, the creditor must report that you are disputing the bill. In such cases, the creditors have no right to take legal action against you or even consider you as a person having felonious intent. Most importantly, if you are seeking for credit, you cannot be turned down by a creditor just because you are disputing a charge.
At the end of the investigation if it is proved that the creditor is responsible for the mistake, he/she has to write a letter to you about the several alterations to be made into your account. You must be credited with any kind of late fees, finance charges or allied error charges that are incurred.
However, if you are found guilty and the bill proves to be correct, the creditor must inform you in writing about the amount you owe. Now, you will owe the finance charges, the accumulated charges and the disputed amount. Due to the dispute, if you missed the minimum amount, you will be asked to pay that also. After you receive the mail you must answer back within 10 days regarding your next action.