Disputing a billing error? Know your rights (1min read)

June 10, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ June News

Have you ever disputed a charge on a bill – or even thought about it? If you have, you’ll want to read about the FTC’s settlement with Credit Protection Association (CPA), a Texas-based company that collects cable bills and reports accounts to credit bureaus.

Here’s what happened: people challenged their cable bills, saying that they had already paid, that the amount was wrong or that they never had service. Yet, people told the FTC, CPA kept trying to collect on inaccurate account information – even after multiple disputes. In some cases, CPA simply deleted account information after a dispute, without informing the person of the action or the results of the investigation. 

The FTC sued CPA for violating a law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which gives rights to people when they dispute credit report information. According to the FTC, CPA made two big mistakes: (1) it failed to have reasonable written procedures for handling disputes and (2) it failed to inform people about the outcome of their disputes. Under the settlement, CPA will pay $72,000 in penalties. 

What does this case mean to you? When you dispute a charge, remember that the FCRA gives you certain rights, including:

  • the right to have your dispute investigated, and 
  • the right to be notified of the results of the investigation

The company has 30 days to complete both steps. That’s because you need to know whether your information has been corrected so you can make informed decisions on how to proceed.  

If you’re considering disputing a charge, read more about your rights under the FCRA. Or check out these tips on managing debt. And if you believe a company may have violated your rights, then report it to the FTC.