Settling disputes in black and white

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Paper-1141308_1920Even if you make 10 phone calls to correct an error in a bill, the law won’t be able to protect you if the billing company still fails to make amends. Protection under the Fair Credit Billing Act will only click into place if you address your problems on paper. If you’ve got an erroneous bill to settle, follow these written rules:

• Write a polite letter. You may feel like shredding the company for their errors, but you need to refrain from acrimonious language if you want results. Use language such as “I have and problem and need your help.” It makes the recipient more willing to help resolve the problems.

• Follow the chain of command. Addressing a letter to the CEO of a bank, for example, may only delay a resolution. Start at the bottom and work your way up until the problem is resolved.

• Write within 60 days of receiving the erroneous bill. The Fair Credit Billing Act will only protect you if you follow its limits. That means writing the company within 60 days after the bill was sent to you.

• Type the letter. Include your name, address, account number, a brief description of the problem, and copies of the sales slips and other documents that support your claim. Try to keep the letter to a single page.

• CC a regulator. If you show that you’re sending a copy of the letter and documents to the Comptroller of the Currency or the Federal Trade Commission, you signal that you mean business.

• Send the letter by certified mail with return receipt