The Fair Credit Billing Act Continued

In light of the fact that the Fair Credit Billing Act (“FCBA”)
Justice _scaleis
such a lengthy statute, I thought it best to break it up into two
discussions.  While last week’s
focused on “billing errors”, the most in depth topic of
the statute, today’s blog is dedicated to the additional
regulations of the FCBA and how the Act is enforced.
In addition to fashioning an outlet for consumers to deal with
billing discrepancies, the FCBA contains several other
regulations.  First, the FCBA requires creditors to submit
billing statements at least fourteen days prior to the payment due
date for open end credit accounts and to provide a reasonable grace
period prior to adding finance charges.  For credit cards,
statements must be sent at least 21 days before your payment is
due.  Second, the FCBA
prohibits merchants from offering a discount to consumers who pay
by cash or check instead of by credit card.  The Act also,
requires that when you open a new account, the business must
provide you with a written explanation of your right to dispute
billing errors
and further requests merchants to credit all
payments to your account on the date they are received.  The
FCBA generally prohibits banks from using money in a checking or
savings account to pay off the delinquent balance of a credit
account held at the same bank.  

Because disputes regarding your dissatisfaction of the quality
of purchased goods and services are not “billing errors”, the
dispute procedure doesn’t apply.  There is however an avenue
for you to reverse the charges if you paid for merchandise or
services by credit card.  In the event the purchased
merchandise fails to live up to your expectations, you can take
legal action against the card issuer.  To initiate a lawsuit
under the FCBA you must have purchased the goods or services
totaling more than $50 in your home state or within 100 miles and
have made a good faith effort to resolve the dispute with the
seller prior to filing suit.

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is the agency designated to
deal with enforcement of the FCBA and consumers may file disputes
directly with the FTC.  You may also file private causes of
action in state or federal court to recover statutory damages of
double the erroneous finance charges, actual damages and attorney
fees if you are successful on your claim.  If the unlawful
conduct is extensive, you can also file a class action suit and
seek damages up to the lesser of $500,000 or one percent of the net
worth of the creditor. 

If you feel your rights have been violated under the FCBA, or
any other consumer
contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case