When you have a dispute with a credit card company or issuer, you need to ensure that you handle the dispute correctly in order to gain leverage over the issue you are having and the situation that you are in. You may or may not decide to pay your debts if there is an error on your monthly bill. While a decision such as this can potentially harm your credit score for the time being, the big question you need to be asking yourself is: how can I gain leverage in a credit card dispute? Filing a complaint with your credit card issuer can be a hassle if you do not know the right answer to this important question.
Filling a Dispute
The federal law can protect consumers, but only to a certain point. Plus, complaints and disputes must be filed and done correctly. There are various complaints that you can file; however, each must be raised in a certain way. It is important to thoroughly research the type of complaint you wish to raise before you go about your dispute. Filing a credit card dispute without any preparation or knowledge is not going to give you any leverage in winning your dispute. In fact, you may find that not knowing anything about how to file a complaint can lead to negative results.
Billing Errors Dispute
One of the most common complaints is billing errors. In order to file a complaint, the billing error must be defined under the Fair Credit Billing Act, also known as FCBA, and your dispute letter must be sent within 60 days of the statement containing the first error. Within 30 days after receiving your dispute letter, the issuer must acknowledge your dispute letter and complaint in writing. The issuer must also investigate your claim as well as resolve the issue within two billing cycles or within 90 days, depending on which comes first.
If the issuer determines that a billing error was made, the bank must fix the error and credit your account. Any disputed amount, charges, or any other finance fees must be credited to your account with a correction notice. If the issuer determines that there was no error, the bank must still send you a notice with any reasons and explanations.
Funds & Credit During the Dispute Process
While your claim is being investigated you can withhold any payments on the portion of the bill being disputed. The bank cannot report those unpaid debts as delinquent when they are in the process of investigating your dispute. However, if your bill contains any debt that is not being disputed, you must at least pay the minimum payment by the due date. Otherwise, the bank can charge you late fees, slap on penalty interest after 60 days of receiving no payments, and report delinquencies on your credit report which can harm and lower your credit score.
If Issuer Breaks the Rules
Just like filing your complaint correctly, you need to be prepared in case the issuer decides to break the rules. What can you do? You are not helpless or out of luck when the bank handles your complaint dishonestly. If you would like to report FCBA (Federal Credit Billing Act) violations, you can report them to the state attorney general. You can also report violations to the agency that supervises the financial institution and the Federal Trade Commission. There is the option to sue as well or the option to go through the arbitration process. Keep in mind that a mandatory arbitration clause is in your credit card agreement. This means you cannot sue the bank or issuer in a court of law. You can only settle disputes through a private judge or arbitrator.
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