Mistakes on Credit Card Bills
Buying on credit, over time, is very popular these days. Yet once in a while, a bill has a mistake on it. What can you do when your credit card bill has a mistake?
The federal Fair Credit Billing Act protects you if your credit bill has a mistake on it. This includes:
- Credit cards and bank cards you can use anywhere.
- Store cards and charge accounts which you can use at only one store.
Read the law: Fair Credit Billing Act, 15 U.S. Code § 1601 et seq.
The Most Common Billing Mistakes Covered by Federal Law
- Charges made by someone on your account without your permission.
- Charges for things or services you've already paid for.
- Charges for things or services you never got.
- Charges for things you took back.
- Charges which don't tell where you were supposed to have bought the things.
- Mistakes in addition or subtraction.
These are NOT Billing Mistakes
- Charges for things you don't want anymore.
- Charges for things you tried to take back but the store would not take back.
If Your Bill has a Mistake on It, Read All the Writing on the Bill
- If it tells you how to tell the creditor about mistakes, do what it says.
- If it doesn’t tell you what to do, send a written note of the error to the creditor (the one who gave you the credit).
You must send this note to the creditor within 60 days of getting the bill with the mistake.
- A phone call is not enough. Writing a note on the part of the bill you send back is not enough.
- You have to send a separate note to the creditor.
- Consider sending the letter by certified mail with a return receipt.
- Sample letters are available on the Federal Trade Commission's website.
- Your credit card company may have an option for you to dispute your bill online, but, to fully protect yourself, send a letter within the required time frame.
After You Send Your Written Note
- The creditor has 30 days to act.
- The creditor must look into your claim.
- The creditor must either correct the mistake or explain why there is no mistake.
- The creditor must give you proof the bill was corrected if you ask for it.
- The creditor cannot do anything against you until it checks into your claim and reports back to you. It cannot close your account. It cannot make a bad report to a credit bureau.
If the Mistake is Not Fixed
Contact the Federal Trade Commission
- Phone: 1-877-382-4357
- Federal Trade Commission Complaint Assistant
Also, if you live in Maryland, you can call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
- Phone: 1-888-743-0023
- Maryland Attorney General: File a Consumer Complaint