The Fair Credit Billing Act

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The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), passed by congress in 1975, includes legal protections for problems with the quality of goods or services you purchase with a credit card. But did you know the protection includes erroneous recurring charges made to your credit card?

For example, say you canceled your internet service provider. You have a cancellation number for the disconnect, and the final charge has appeared on the statement for the card your ISP used to collect payment. Everything’s good, right?

Maybe not. Suppose next month’s credit card statement brings a surprise, in the form of an additional payment posted by your cancelled ISP.

What to do? Under FCBA, you have 60 days, starting from when you received your statement, to dispute the charge. Contact the vendor that posted the charge within that time frame. Present them with your cancellation number, and have them verify the recurring billing will stop.

If the charge continues, the next step is to contact your credit card issuer. You may be able to handle this part of the dispute on-line. You’ll need the date and the number of your cancellation confirmation, and the date of the charge. If your card company requests written information, make copies to send by certified mail, and keep the originals.

While you don’t have to pay the amount under dispute until you settle the issue, be aware you’ll have to continue to pay other undisputed charges on time.

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