|Disputing a credit card charge
Nothing can be more frustrating than disputing a charge
with a credit card company. The good news is that you have federal
law on your side. The Fair Credit Billing Act gives you the right
to challenge billing errors such as math mistakes, unauthorized
charges, charges for goods and services you didn't accept or weren't
delivered as agreed, or charges that list the wrong date or amount.
You naturally want the problem solved as quickly as
possible, so your first inclination probably is to pick up the phone
and tell your card company about the mistake. That's fine. But follow
up with a letter. In fact, if you've ever read the fine print on
a credit card bill, you've probably seen this notice: Calling about
billing errors will not preserve your rights.
Written correspondence gives you the opportunity to
clearly state why the charge is an error or other reason that it
should be removed from your account. Plus, when you send it by certified
mail, return receipt requested, the document serves as a record
that you made the effort to correct the problem charge. It can be
a valuable reference tool if you need to follow up on the matter.
Just be sure you don't delay your correspondence duties.
The deadline for notifying your credit card company of the incorrect
charge is 60 days from the date the bill was mailed to you. Your
credit card company also has deadlines. The creditor must resolve
the dispute within two billing cycles, but not more than 90 days,
after getting your letter.
To make the process go as smoothly as possible, send
the letter to "Billing Inquiries," not to "Customer Service." Be
sure to send it to the correct address; it probably isn't the same
one to which you send your payments. The back of your statement
should list the appropriate addresses for specific customer inquiries.
The form letter below should help you get your billing
dispute under way. Personalize it by entering your specifics in
the areas in red. You can print out
this Web page and make your changes by hand or copy the body of
the letter and paste it into a document where you can make your
changes on your PC.
Billing Inquiries Department
Credit Card Company Name
City, State and ZIP Code
Re: Disputed charge on card
name account number
Dear Sir or Madam:
On my most recent credit card statement, which closed
on statement closing date and which
I received on date, there was a dollar
amount charge made at retailer name
and address. This charge, made on date,
posted to my account on date.
I am disputing the charge, which is circled on the
enclosed copy of my statement.
I did not authorize any purchases at retailer
to be charged to my account. Elaborate on
your reason for disputing the charge. For example, the product was
never ordered or delivered, the product or service was not what
the merchant promised or the amount charged was incorrect.
If you did buy the item, but
the amount of the purchase is incorrect on your statement, note
here that you also are enclosing a copy of the original charge slip
showing the correct amount for which you should be billed.
As required by the Federal Fair Credit Billing Act,
please adjust my account in the above-referenced amount since repeat
here why you are disputing the charge. Please remove the
dollar amount charge from my bill and
notify me in writing by sending me a new statement showing the correction.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact
me by mail at the address listed below or call me at your
telephone number. Thank you for your prompt attention to
Your Typed Name
City, State and ZIP Code
Enclosure: credit card statement and
original charge slip if applicable