The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) lets you dispute charges and temporarily withhold payments without hurting your credit score.The law also forces credit card issuers to investigate any disputed charges and fix them if they are wrong. This law also protects cardholders from liability for fraudulent charges if credit card details have been compromised in a data breach or in the case of an identity thief gaining access to cardholder details. Here is how to use the FCBA to protect your consumer rights:
- You have 60 days to dispute to the credit card issuer an error on your credit card statement;
- Mail your dispute directly to the card issuer & sending it by certified mail provides documentation that you have given notice of the dispute;
- The card issuer has 30 days to investigate your dispute and during that time, the issuer cannot report the disputed charge on your credit report or try to collect payment on the disputed part of the bill or charge interest on it;
- If the card issuer finds the disputed charge was a mistake, they must correct it and deliver a correction notice. But if they do not find an error and you disagree with that conclusion, you can challenge the investigation within 10 days of receiving a written explanation and then they have to add a note to your credit report explaining that you dispute the charge;
- If your card has been fraudulently used, the FCBA provides that you are only liable for a maximum of $50 and often the $50 is waived if your card has been misused by someone other than yourself;
- If you are unhappy with a purchase and have a justifiable complaint about its quality, the FCBA grants you the right to delay paying specific charges on your credit card bill until your complaint is resolved. You must first notify the merchant of your complaint in order to invoke this right.
If you think your credit card issuer has violated the FCBA, you can file a complaint about your credit card company with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission. If you are having problems getting your dispute resolved Pine Street Legal can assist you and can be reached at (215) 345-9214, firstname.lastname@example.org.