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.
See the sample letter at the end of this guide to help you decide what to put in your letter. Remember that you must pay any part of the bill that is correct.
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 can't do anything against you until it checks into your claim and reports back to you. It can't close your account. It can't make a bad report to a credit bureau.
If the Mistake is Not Fixed
Contact the Federal Trade Commission
- Phone: 1-877-382-4357
- Web Site: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/
Also, if you live in Maryland, you can call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
SAMPLE LETTER TO CREDIT CARD ISSUER
(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.
(Sign your name)
(Print your name)