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.
The most common billing mistakes covered by federal Fair Credit Billing Act are:
- 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; and
- 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.
- Include copies of any receipts, checks, or other proof. Keep your originals.
- 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:
- must acknowledge receipt of your claim/complaint within 30 days;
- must look investigate your claim within 2 billing cycles (but no later than 90 days);
- must either correct the mistake or explain why there is no mistake;
- must give you the proof/documentation that the bill was correct if you ask for it; and
- cannot do anything against you until it checks into your claim and reports back to you (e.g., cannot close your account, cannot make a bad report to a credit bureau).
Read the law: U.S. Code Title 15 §§ 1666-1666j
Read the regulation: U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 12 § 226.13
If the mistake is not fixed, contact:
Federal Trade Commission
Maryland Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
- File a Consumer Complaint