Always check your bills for errors, because creditors sometimes do make mistakes and credit-card theft may have occurred without your knowledge. In the event you discover a billing error, you should provide the creditor with written notice of the error.
Written notice to most creditors forces them to comply with federal requirements in resolving billing disputes. Some of these requirements place time limits on the creditor, for example: (1) the creditor must acknowledge receipt of the error notice within 30 days, and (2) the creditor must correct or explain the account within two billing cycles (90 day maximum). Other requirements prevent the creditor from taking certain actions until the creditor complies with the requirements of resolving a billing error claim: the creditor may not (1) close the account, (2) make or threaten to make an adverse report regarding nonpayment of the disputed amount, or (3) attempt to collect the amount in dispute.
To trigger the federal requirements, the written notice must provide the creditor with the following: (1) account identification information, (2) identification of the specific bill (or bills) in dispute, (3) a statement that the debtor believes the bill is in error, and (4) the reason(s) why the bill is disputed. In addition, the notice must be sent within 60 days of receipt of a bill containing the error. The following is an example of a billing dispute letter.