Fair Credit Billing Act, do you know your rights?
I have a credit card account with HSBC card services/ orchard bank. I got the card to rebuild my credit and have rediscovered why I hate most credit card companies- The are out to SCREW you, but you need them.
Okay, I know what you are thinking. “Ditch the credit cards and just live off what money you have”.. the thing is that you need to have credit cards to build your credit and keep a good history. We are going to be buying a home soon and well, good credit is necessary for this.
So, back to my HSBC drama. They have this online payment system and I paid my bills through it all the time. This one time my payment comes back as “returned”, well the money is in the account. I call the bank, yep funds are there waiting to be withdrawn. Bank says it is a numeric processing error, a transposed number or something. The online payment system is set up so that you put your bank info in once and they use it to process all your future payments. My prior payments processed fine and so did the ones I made ofter the returned payment incident.
It kind of seems like this whole returned payment thing isn’t my fault so I research my rights as a consumer and find out the following:
- Most credit card companies give you 60 days to dispute charges on your bill and you must do this in writing to preserve your rights.
- When writing credit card companies regarding disputes you should send it via certified letter so you have proof they received the letter.
- Make sure to send your letter to the billing inquiries address not the payment address!
Here is the good part!
- Once your letter arrives the creditor has 30 days to acknowledge your letter. If they don’t acknowledge your letter within the 30 days they have to refund you regardless of the outcome of the dispute!
If you live in the USA the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) is something you should know about and you will need to stand up for your rights as stated in this act. In my own situation HSBC did not respond to my letter within the time frame, they can’t make me pay the amount I disputed now- they forfeited their rights.
Many consumers don’t know what rights they are entitled to and often do not fight credit card companies. That is how they get away with so much!
Once I even had a credit card company holding my checks and depositing them weeks after they were sent causing me to incur “late payment fees” and bad credit reports. These companies will try just about anything to make a buck off of you. If you don’t pay attention and don’t fight they are screwing you.
I read a post over at Life’s Just Beachy that made me want to share my info on the Fair Credit Billing Act. She had a similar experience as a consumer and fought for her rights!