An Overview of the Fair Credit Billing Act
Enacted in 1974, the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) is a nationwide federal law that was created as an amendment to the Truth in Lending Act, a federal law designed to help consumers who are borrowing money. The FCBA is aimed at insuring consumers do not become victims of unscrupulous creditors and to protect them from unfair and unethical billing practices and to help consumers address and solve such issues. The main focus of the FCBA is for charge or credit card accounts. The FCBA provides consumers protection for the following situations.
• Unauthorized charges or charges not made by you
• Charges with an incorrect amount or wrong date
• Charges for products not delivered as promised or that you did not accept
• Mathematical or calculation errors on your bill
• Failure to give proper credits or post payments made
• Failure to send monthly statement to the correct address
• Charges for products where you asked for written proof of purchase or for an explanation or clarification
• Charges for products noticeably not as ordered or described
• Charges for damaged products
What Are Your Rights Under the FCBA?
As a consumer, you have certain rights that you can expect when dealing with consumer or credit card companies. You have the right to dispute any billing that you deem incorrect. These errors may be for products ordered online but never received; payments made but not credited on your account; duplicate charges or charges not pertaining to your account, among other things.
You also have the right to not make payment on the portion of your bill that includes the disputed amount. However, you are required to pay at least the minimum amount due on your bill if you have a balance and that balance is for purchases other than those in dispute. Although you have the right to dispute charges that are incorrect, the FCBA does require that you send a dispute in writing within 60 days of the first statement that included the mistake.
Calling the credit card company and complaining or just refusing to make the payment is not equivalent to filing a dispute. Failure to send your dispute in writing within this time period can nullify your claim, and you may be required to pay the charges on your bill. Sometimes if this happens, our firm may be able to help you work out an agreeable solution with the creditor. The letter you submit to the creditor must include the following.
• Your name
• Your correct address
• Account number
• Dollar amount in dispute
• Reason for the dispute
• The statement that contains the error
It is very important that the dispute not be made over the phone but must be made in writing. If the company so indicates, the complaint may be made online if the company has an area on the site solely for disputes. However, the usual procedure is in writing. Once the creditor receives your dispute letter, the creditor must investigate the dispute and provide a resolution within the earlier of 90 days or two billing cycles.
A common complaint with consumers is that they submit their complaint and don’t hear from the company for months, causing additional fees and more frustration. With our team of attorneys working on your behalf, you’ll no longer be at the mercy of an unscrupulous creditor.
Who We Are & How We Can Help
We are a bankruptcy law firm that provides assistance and legal help to clients in the New York City area. We not only provide help with bankruptcy issues but also various other financial problems such as those involving the Fair Credit Billing Act. Although the Federal Trade Commission helps consumers by enforcing the FCBA, sometimes this can still be a very confusing process. Our trained professionals are available to answer questions, offer suggestions and help you choose the option that can solve your financial problems as quickly as possible.
We can also help you fully understand consumer laws and laws involving credit practices as well as your rights and responsibilities. The FTC may bring legal action against the credit card company on your behalf, but your situation may be such that you may also wish to file a suit against the company. This is one of many instances where it’s beneficial to have one of our attorneys working for you.