Credit Card Disputes – What you should know
It’s frustrating to see an item on your credit card statement for something that you either did not order, receive or was defective when you received it. You should know your rights to dispute items that are on your credit card statement. In this article, we will explain your rights and the process you need to know to dispute these items.
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- Who are the parties to dispute a credit card transaction?
ANSWER: The card issuer (Visa, Mastercard), your bank, the merchant and the merchant’s bank.
- Is the bank required to have my signature on an agreement in order to enforce it against me?
ANSWER: No. Typically credit card agreements provide that your use of the credit card is your acceptance of the terms and conditions of the agreement.
- \Can my bank unilaterally change the terms of my credit card agreement?\
ANSWER: Yes. The credit card agreements typically provide that bank or card issuers can change the terms of the agreement at any time, usually with notice to you.
- \What is my liability for unauthorized use of my credit card?\
ANSWER: Usually, your maximum liability for unauthorized use of your credit card is $50. Even then, there are exceptions in which your liability can be even lower. Victims of identity theft need to know that if they have had their wallets stolen, this may be their maximum liability. However, if a credit card was opened in their name without their permission, then they have no liability for any amount incurred on that credit card. Credit card agreements may modify this rule, but may not increase your liability beyond $50.
- How do I go about disputing an item on my credit card bill?
ANSWER: Send a dispute to the credit card company immediately. Send a copy of your credit card statement that contains the offending charge and identify it in your letter clearly.
- If I do dispute an item on my credit card statement, what are my rights and obligations?
ANSWER: You should note that:
- You have rights under the law. The particular law that protects you in credit card disputes is the Fair Credit Billing Act (“FCBA”).This statute applies to consumers who use their credit cards to incur debt for “personal, family, or household use.” Hence, the business use of your credit card is not protected by the FCBA.
- Technically speaking, your billing error notice must be received by the credit card issuer or bank within 60 days of the date that they sent you the statement that contains the error.
- DO NOT PAY THE OFFENDING CHARGE. If you pay the offending charge or any part of it, you will have waived her right to dispute it. Note that you are still responsible for the timely payment of any other charges on your credit card statement that you legitimately owe.
- The credit card issuer or bank may not make an adverse remark on your credit report while the dispute is pending, unless of course, it had a right to do so for other reasons.
- The amount that you withhold pursuant to your dispute is not considered “delinquent” and hence, no one including the bank, credit card issuer or a third party debt collector is allowed to make efforts to collect that balance from you. If anyone attempts to collect this debt from you while your dispute is pending, you have a right to sue them for damages, plus cost and attorney’s fees. We provide these legal services for free to you.
- What are the most frequent type of billing errors on my credit card statement that I should be aware of, and dispute:
- extension of credit that was not made
- unauthorized use of your credit card
- property or services that you may have purchased, but are unacceptable to you
- goods or services that you may have aborted or were not delivered
- failure to apply a payment or other credit to your account
- computational or an accounting error on your account
These are all good reasons to dispute an item on your credit card statement.
- What should I put in my billing error notice to my credit card company?
ANSWER: your dispute must be in writing. Oral notice is not sufficient to trigger your rights.Identify yourself. Make sure your name, address, telephone number, last four digits of your Social Security number and full account number are in your letter.Identify the dispute. The body of your letter should identify the name of the merchant and the full account number or transaction number associated with the transaction, the date of the transaction and the amount. If you want to be absolutely certain that there is no misunderstanding as to the dispute, your best bet is to include a copy of the credit card statement and circle the offending charge. You should also send it by certified mail with a return receipt requested and of course keep a copy of your letter and all attachments for your records.
Specify the nature of your dispute. Tell your bank or credit card issuer every reason why you have to dispute the transaction. Be as specific as possible.
- What happens next?
ANSWER: The merchant and the credit card issuer or bank will both investigate your dispute. If they find that your dispute was valid, they must adjust your credit card statement by deleting the offending charge and any related charges to it. Of course if there was any negative credit reporting associated with that disputed charge, your bank must also notify each credit reporting agency to report the resolution of your dispute. A creditor’s failure to do so is a violation of your rights.If the creditor determines that there was no billing error the creditor must take the following action:
- Send you an explanation of its reasons for concluding that there was no billing error;
- furnish copies of all documentary evidence that you might request;
- promptly notify you in writing of the amount that you owe the time for payment;
- not report the disputed amount as delinquent unless you haven’t paid by the grace period.
- But if my credit card company ignores my rights and ignores my disputes?
ANSWER: You call us. You have rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under the law, we can get you statutory damages actual damages, costs and attorney fees. Our services are free to you because under the law your bank or Credit Card Company has to pay us. Don’t stand by idly and take it and certainly do not pay a bill you don’t owe.If you have an incorrect item on your credit card statement you should dispute it immediately. If you are still unable to get satisfaction from the credit card issuer or your bank, contact us at Michigan Consumer Credit Lawyers. We are happy to help you for free. Under the law the defendants pay our fees and costs.
MICHIGAN CONSUMER CREDIT LAWYERS
Southfield, MI 48033