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When it comes to credit card mistakes, don't forgive and don't forget -- II

Last week, our blog began discussing how even though people are understandably inclined to devote little time to reviewing their credit card statement, this can actually prove to be a mistake given how credit card companies are notorious for making billing mistakes.

To that end, we started exploring some steps consumers can take to protect themselves from unwittingly paying for these errors. We'll continue this effort in today's post, examining the steps that can -- and should -- be taken after the written notice is sent.

Make payments in the meantime

Once the written notice outlining the mistake has been sent to the credit card company, consumers can't simply ignore their other charges. Indeed, while they won't be required to put any money toward the charges or fees they've identified as a potential mistake in the written notice, they are still required to pay their other non-disputed charges in a timely manner.   

Make sure the mistakes were addressed

It's important for consumers to understand that the credit card company cannot take as long as it pleases to investigate the potential mistakes outlined in the written notice. Rather, the law provides it with 30 days to send a response letter to the consumer indicating that it received the written notice and an additional two billing cycles to conduct its investigation.

As outlined above, consumers are not obligated to make any payment toward this disputed amount during the course of the investigation. However, they shouldn't be surprised to see the disputed amount appear on subsequent statements accompanied by an explanatory note.

In the event the credit card company agrees that the charges or fees were a mistake, consumers should ensure that the disputed amount is removed, while also keeping a copy of applicable correspondence for their records.

However, if the credit card company declares that it wasn't a mistake, it must outline its reasons for this conclusion in writing, along with a restatement of the amount owed and its due date.

Make it a point to remember the following during the entire process

Credit card companies are prohibited from doing any of the following relating to disputed charges or fees at all times:

  • Demanding payments toward the challenged amount while the investigation is ongoing
  • Charging interest on the challenged amount while the investigation is ongoing
  • Reporting any payments made toward the unchallenged amount as late to the credit bureaus  

Always remember that if credit card company is harassing you over debts you know you don't owe that you have rights and you have options.

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