It probably happens to everyone at least once. You receive your credit card statement, you look through the list of charges, and you do a double take. One or more of the charges are clearly wrong, costing you big time. What do you do now? Fortunately, the Congress passed the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) to help people in these predicaments. Here are the steps you need to take.
(1) Write the creditor to ask for an explanation for the charges. Include your name, address, account number, and a concise explanation of the incorrect charges. Be sure to include a copy of the statement.
(2) Send the letter to the creditor within 30 days of receiving the notice, and no later. Seriously consider sending it by certified mail with a return receipt. Doing so ensures that you have proof the creditor received the letter.
(3) You wait. The creditor has its own 30-day period to respond to your letter. It will be in writing. If it is not in writing the creditor is in violation of the FCBA. The creditor will explain the error and must remove all late fees or other charges it added to your bill, but it is free to dispute the remaining charges.
(4) Keep the letter the creditor sends you. It will investigate the charges. In the meantime, continue paying all non-disputed charges and subsequent bills. However, the creditor cannot initiate collection proceedings on the account, nor can it freeze your assets. Fortunately, the creditor has 90 days or two billing cycles to resolve the dispute after receiving your letter.
After this, if the creditor concludes the investigation by finding it was correct all along, it will immediately send you a letter describing why it was correct. You can ask for documentation proving this point, but you will need to pay the amount owed plus any finance charges created during the dispute process.
If you still dispute the results of the creditor’s investigation, you must send it a letter informing it of your reasons within 10 days. The creditor can initiate collection proceedings against you. If it attempts to collect on your debt at any time prior to completion of the investigation it is in violation of the FCBA. The creditor is also in violation of the FCBA if it threatens or actually does report the unpaid erroneous charges to a credit agency.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation by calling 702-880-5554.