5 million people helped and counting  >  Call 1-888-888-CARE or Get Started Now
Article library
"I cook more dinners now and pack a lunch. Once you add up these savings, it's more than my monthly payment to CareOne!"Amy D., Woodruff, WICareOne Customer

Disputing A Credit Card Billing Error

It can happen to anyone. Your credit card statement has a mistake on it. Do you know how to handle credit card disputes?

If you discover a billing error from one of your creditors, you can do something about it. The provisions of the Fair Credit Billing Act can help you settle any errors and disputes you may have with your creditors. Keep in mind it only applies to revolving credit accounts such as credit cards, department store cards, and overdraft protection for your checking account.

Take a Look at Your Statements

Review your credit card statements as soon as you receive them each month to ensure that you identify billing errors if they occur. You might want to keep a file for each creditor and compare your receipts to the statement. Examples of a billing error include:

  • A duplicate charge

  • An incorrect credit of your payment

  • An incorrect charge amount

  • A charge for something you didn't purchase (you're only responsible for the first $50 of an unauthorized charge)

For general advice on finding and fixing billing errors, read the ConsumerWatchdog.org article Protecting Against Billing Abuse – A Consumer Guide.

Credit Dispute Remediation

You have 60 days after receiving the creditor's statement to report a billing error to the creditor. Your letter should be sent to the address for billing inquiries printed on the creditor's statement. It's a good idea to send the letter certified, return receipt requested, so you have proof the creditor received the letter. The letter should include:

  • Your name

  • Your address

  • The account number

  • A specific description of the billing error

  • Copies of receipts and other documentation supporting your claim (keep the originals in your files with a copy of the letter)

The good news is that, while the billing error is being investigated, you don't have to pay the part you're disputing (but you're responsible for paying any undisputed amount). See the State of California legal guide How To Correct a Credit Card Billing Error for more information.

The Creditor's Responsibility

The creditor has 30 days to respond to you in writing after receiving your letter. The correspondence should include:

  • The creditor's findings (whether or not your dispute has been found to be correct)

  • What (if anything) will be done to correct the problem

Don't expect immediate results. The creditor has two billing cycles (up to 90 days) to make the credit dispute remediation. This is another reason you should monitor your statements closely each month. If you're not looking at them, you won't know if the creditor has corrected the error.

Fair Credit Billing Act

Besides having recourse with a billing error, you have other rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act. During the credit card dispute process, for example, the creditor cannot begin collection procedures on the disputed amount or report you to the credit bureau as being delinquent in your payment. Also, if the creditor doesn't follow the dispute process exactly, you're not liable for the amount of the billing error, even if it turns out to be accurate. In other words, if the creditor doesn't respond to your letter within 30 days, you don't have to pay.

Sometimes the Creditor Doesn't Agree

Even though you've followed the steps exactly, the creditor may not agree with you. If the creditor tells you in writing that what you've described as a billing error is, in fact, correct, you can take one more step. You have 10 days to tell the creditor about the credit card dispute, in writing, that you disagree with their findings, and you can refuse to pay the amount in question. The creditor may begin the collection process and will probably report any delinquency to the credit bureau. If this happens to you, make sure your credit report reflects that the delinquency is due to a billing dispute.

It's good to know that you have rights when you find an error on your credit card bill. But, if you never review your statement, you may never know if something goes wrong. So make sure you regularly review your credit card statements.

For more information, see the U.S. Federal Trade Commission factsheet about Fair Credit Billing and the State of Indiana's article Fair Credit Billing, Your Credit Card Rights. You can also read the related articles in the CareOne Credit Knowledge Center.

Take control of your finances with our debt help tools. Use our calculators and budget planner to help you manage your money.

If you liked this you may also like:

  • Credit and Collections 101

    Debt has become a fact of life for many Americans. Nearly half of all U.S. adults who have credit cards carry a balance from month to month, which can create a never-ending cycle of debt.

  • Paying Off Credit Card Debt-A Variety of Options for Your Unique Situation

    Regardless of the amount of debt you are in, debt often brings about feelings of anxiety, fear, frustration, and sometimes shame. While your fears and feelings are valid, it's important to overcome these emotions, pull yourself together, and get on the right track to paying off your credit card debt. Credit cards can be a great tool in establishing or rebuilding credit, but are only valuable when used responsibly.

  • Straight Talk on Debt: Do You Talk About Debt?

    We are starting to see a trend today; people are opening up about their financial situation, including debt. While once a taboo topic many are looking to share their story in an effort to help others, as well as, themselves get back on track financially speaking.

  • FTC Proposes Changes to Improve Credit Reporting Notices

    Have you ever wondered what might be lurking in your credit report that could squash your chances of obtaining a decent auto loan rate, credit card, or even a mortgage? Well, if you're like many Americans who have taken advantage of their right to obtain free copies of their credit reports under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), then you shouldn't be worried. Instead, you should sleep peacefully at night, knowing exactly what data is listed on your report.

  • Living without Credit Cards

    If you believe the credit card commercials, you're not going to be able to have any fun in life unless you use their card. Well, if you've ever carried a balance on your credit cards, you know that paying interest is no fun at all. Tack on a late fee or over-the-limit fee and the good times are really over. Although credit cards can provide immediate gratification, they're more likely to cause long-term stress in your life. Thankfully, there are alternative strategies for living life without credit cards.

Begin our online process to see your personalized savings.

Start Now

Back Print

Quizzes and Polls

What's your debt IQ? Take one of our quizzes and find out how much you know about financial fitness.

Take the Quiz Now!

Stay On Track

Subscribe to our newsletter, packed with great articles, tips, and advice to help you make the most of your money.

Subscribe Now!

Crunch the Numbers

Our calculators can help you figure out your budget, credit card payments, mortgage, and more!

Learn More
Debt Help - CareOne Debt Relief Services
Offering CareOne Debt Relief Services: