A credit card debt dispute letter is the first step for consumers to take who have received an incorrect bill from a credit card company. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), consumers have the right to dispute a debt in writing and be successful. This applies to credit cards and department store accounts that are open end accounts but not to installment contracts or loans. Once the credit card company or their debt collector receives a dispute letter, they must stop trying to collect the debt. This means no more phone calls requesting payment.
Some of the reasons a consumer may dispute a bill are:
• Charges for merchandise they didn’t receive
• Charges for merchandise that was returned
• Charges for the same merchandise or service twice
• Math errors
• Charges with the wrong amount or date
The credit card company is required to prove that the consumer actually owes the debt. If the consumer can prove otherwise, the debt must be removed from their record as if it was never there. The consumer must pay the part of the bill that is not in question, but they may avoid paying the disputed amount.
During the investigation of the dispute, the creditor may not close or restrict the consumer’s account or report them as delinquent, but the disputed amount may be applied to their credit card limit. Consumers may also not be denied credit simply because they have disputed a bill.
The letter must be very specific about the account number and the item that is incorrectly billed. A copy of the bill and any proof such as a receipt, cancelled check, correspondence with the creditor or bank statements should be included with the letter. It is also recommended that a copy of the consumer’s credit report with the incorrect information clearly highlighted be included with the letter. The consumer’s contact information should also be clearly presented, so the company can contact them to ask questions during their investigation.
If the investigation finds that the consumer does, in fact, owe the debt, the credit card company is required to send a formal reply to the dispute letter that contains the information proving their case. The consumer will have to pay the disputed amount and any fees that accumulated during the investigation.
The letter should be sent so that it is received by the credit card company within 60 days after the consumer received the inaccurate bill. Unless the error was settled, the creditor must acknowledge the request in writing within 30 days from the time they received the dispute letter. They must also resolve the issue within 90 days or two billing cycles after receiving the letter.
The letter should be short and to the point without complaints or accusations and written in the formal, business-letter style. It should include:
• A statement that the credit card debt is inaccurate
• The reasons why it is inaccurate
• A request for a specific action such as the removal of the debt from the consumer’s record
Here is a sample of a credit card debt dispute letter. It should be sent by certified mail, so the consumer has a record of the time and date the letter was sent and received. Any enclosures should be copies of documents. No original documents should be sent.
Sample Credit Card Debt Dispute Letter
City, State, Zip Code
Credit Card Account Number
Name of Credit Card Company
Credit Card Company’s Address
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Sir or Madam:
This letter is a formal dispute for a charge on my account for the amount of $$$. This charge should not be made to me because I returned the merchandise in question and received a full refund. I would like to request that the error be corrected, and the amount be removed from my record. If there are any related charges, they should be removed too. I would like to receive an accurate copy of my credit card statement when this item is removed.
I have enclosed copies of the receipt for the returned item that clearly shows the purchase was cancelled and a refund given. Please investigate the incorrect charge on my bill and correct the error as soon as possible. If any further information is required, I can be reached at 555-123-4567 or at Name@email.com.
Consumer’s Name Printed
List of Enclosures
By Andre Bradley