Credit Billing Disputes
Retailers and credit companies are required to keep accurate records of all consumer transactions, including purchases and payments. Bills sent to consumers must be correct, and any payments the consumer makes must be credited to the bill. If a consumer never receives an item, returns it or never ordered it in the first place, companies cannot expect the consumer to pay for it. However, these companies sometimes make mistakes or deliberately break the law. When this occurs, consumer rights are sometimes violated. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, credit companies and companies that sell items on an installment basis must avoid billing errors and rectify them when they occur. The most common credit billing disputes involve charges for an item you never received or never purchased, charges that weren't authorized by you, charges listing the wrong amount or date, mathematical errors, failure to deduct payments or credits from the amount owed and bills sent to the wrong address.
When billing errors or credit billing disputes occur, consumers have the right to question them. If you notice an error on a bill, you can write to the creditor using the address designated for billing inquiries. Creditors must acknowledge credit billing disputes within 30 days of receiving notification, and they must resolve the problem within two billing cycles. While the bill is in dispute, the creditor cannot report nonpayment to the credit bureaus as this would harm the consumer's credit score. If the creditor finds that the bill is incorrect, it must remove all inaccurate charges immediately, including late fees or interest that accumulated on the incorrect amount. If the creditor fails to follow this procedure, consumer rights have been violated, and the creditor may be subject to penalties. Consumers who attempt to rectify an incorrect bill and encounter a creditor who refuses to follow the proper procedures should seek legal counsel.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 10, 2013