A Mistake in Your Bill

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?

Federal law protects you if your credit bill has a mistake on it. The law covers credit accounts like:

  • 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

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 seperate note to the creditor.

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

Also, if you live in Maryland, you can call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.

 

_______________________________________________

 SAMPLE LETTER TO CREDIT CARD ISSUER
 

(Your address)

(Today's date)

(Name of Credit Card Issuer)

(Address where you are sending the letter- This may be different from where you send your payments)

 

About: Account Number (fill in your account number)

To Whom It May Concern:

I have found a billing error in my statement of (fill in date of statement). This mistake is in the transaction dated (fill in the date the sale was recorded) from (fill in name of store which made the charge). It is a charge for $____________.

This is a mistake because (I never made a charge at this store on that date; or, this charge is for things I ordered, but never got; or, I returned these things to the store for credit; or, there is not enough information given for me to identify this transaction). I am not going to pay this part of the bill. Please fix this mistake. Please contact me if you need more information.

Thank you,

(Sign your name)

(Print your name)

Source: 

Edits by Regina Strait, Esq.

Escape Now Button: 

No
Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2017.”

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view, download Adobe Acrobat Reader.