The last thing anyone needs to be doing after filing bankruptcy is paying debts that they do not owe. The whole idea of bankruptcy is to get a real fresh start. Unfortunately, errors on credit card bills resulting in fresh debt are getting to be pretty commonplace. That being the case, you should always look at your monthly statements. The question is what do you do when you find an unauthorized charge on your bill?
Contesting errors on your credit card bill may seem a bit daunting, but there are procedures for helping you get things back in order.
First, review the charge in question to make sure that it is not just a mistake on your part. Obviously, check with any other users on your account to confirm that the charge is not theirs. Second, after you have verified the erroneous charge, contact the merchant to whom the charge was made. Most charge disputes can be resolved at this level, as merchant will generally either provide you with a copy of the signed credit card receipt or reverse the charge. At this point, you may find that you simply forgot about the purchase Finally, the last step is to contact your credit card company directly. You should do so in the following manner:
- Direct the inquiry to the creditor at the address given for “billing inquiries,” not the payment address
- Include your address, name, account number and a description of the error.
- Mail your letter such that it reaches the creditor within sixty days after the first bill containing the error was sent to you.
- Send your letter via certified mail with return receipt requested, so you that you can document what the creditor received.
- Make sure to include documents that support your position such as sales slips. Definitely save a copy of your dispute letter. Remember, creditors get thousands of pieces of mail from cardholders every day: If your letter gets lost you want to be able to establish that you followed proper procedure.
The creditor must acknowledge your complaint in writing within thirty days after receiving your letter, unless of course the problem has been resolved. The creditor must resolve the dispute within two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days) after receiving your letter. After you have contested the false billing entry with your credit card company, your job is to sit back and wait. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act the credit card company must get back to you with a response within 30 days. During this time, it’s obviously a good idea to check your bills for any additional false charges, just in case someone has been using your card info illegally.