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Credit Card Rights: Disputing Credit Card Billing Errors

Have you ever opened your credit card bill and been shocked to see an unexpectedly high balance due?  Maybe the balance is higher than you know it should be.  After going over the bill with a fine tooth comb you that there is either an unauthorised charge, or a billing error that led to the higher than expected balance. You feel a little better, but now this errant charge needs to be fixed. The law is on your side, its time to initiate a dispute with your credit card company.

You do not have to pay the disputed charge when you initiate a dispute, nor will you have to pay interest on the charge; this is to protect your credit history and pocketbook while the dispute is being settled. Don’t put off the dispute for later, do it now, you only have 60 days to initiate the dispute once you receive the billing statement with the error on it.

You must raise your dispute in writing; you will find the proper dispute address listed on your billing statement. Remember that the letter must include the Name and Account Number that appears on your bill, the dollar amount in dispute, and a statement of the reason for your dispute. You may have specific instructions provided by your credit card company on the billing statement, following their instructions may speed the process.

Once you have raised a dispute, the credit card company must investigate and report back to you in writing within two complete billing cycles or 90 days, whichever comes first. In many cases, the charge will be canceled. Often a business will back off rather than risk losing the opportunity of accepting commerce by credit card. Remember you are responsible for paying the undisputed portion of the credit card bill.

During the time that the charge is in dispute the credit card company may not take collection action or report you as delinquent to a credit bureau with respect to the disputed amount. If the credit card company does not resolve the dispute in your favor, it must send you a written explanation and give you any supporting documentation upon your request.