How many of us notice errors on our credit card bills? If you're like most people, you look at the total amount due, and you scan the companies that placed charges on your account. If all of the companies are familiar and the totals look accurate, most people accept the bills. However, often fraudulent charges are only a few dollars added to restaurant totals and smaller charges. Look carefully for errors, and if you do find an error, make sure you follow the right steps to fix it.
It's hard to keep all of your charge receipts, but it's essential. Keep a multi-sectional folder on your desk and empty all of your receipts into it each week. Label each tabbed section with a month, and keep the charges organized. Even if you don't use the receipts to double check the monthly credit card statement, you will need them if you do find an error and need to open a dispute.
When calling the credit card company about a fraudulent charge or error on their part, always follow up your phone call with a written letter. Write the same information given over the phone in a letter and have it mailed to the main office, not necessarily the address to where the bills are sent. Keep a copy of the letter for your records, and request a delivery request from the post office. Keep the delivery confirmation with your copy of the letter.
While you only have 60 days after the postmark of your bill to dispute a charge on your credit card, the company must settle the dispute within 90 days. The charges in question are suspended as long as the dispute is open. If the charge is ruled as valid, the total amount will be returned to your credit balance and must be paid within 10 days.
When making your claim about an error, have your evidence ready. In the verification letter that you send, include a copy of the original sales receipt. Then, request that the company provide an adequate copy of the store's sales receipt. The company making the false charge should be able to provide a copy of a sales receipt that matches yours. If not, you have a fairly clear case.
Not only will fraudulent charges be protected by the Federal Trade Commission's Fair Credit Billing Act, but so will others such as a failure to send bills to a current address (provided the creditor receives adequate notice of your new address.) More information can be found at www.ftc.gov.
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