Rebuilding Your Credit: Billing Disputes

It’s no joke that filing bankruptcy takes time and hard work. And while you’ll be able to let out a sigh of relief once your debt is behind you, you’ll still need to take some strategic steps to rebuild your credit. As you do this, it’s important to ensure that your credit report doesn’t include any errors; if you do find any, you’ll need to get them corrected. You’ll also want to monitor your bills and credit card statements monthly to keep an eye out for errors and incorrect charges. You may discover that you were billed for something twice or your payment was never processed. Some people are shocked when they figure out they’ve been a victim of credit card fraud. Mistakes and crimes happen, and the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) has set up procedures to get these problems resolved and protect consumers.


Credit cards and revolving charge accounts fall under the Fair Credit Billing Act, but loans, mortgages, and similar accounts do not. This is due to the fact that mortgages typically do not vary from month to month, so they are rarely disputed. If you find a discrepancy on your credit card statement (for example), contact your creditor by phone right away; you’ll also need to give them a written notice of your dispute. After this, the creditor has 30 days to meet the requirements set forth by the federal government. They must acknowledge, in writing, that they’ve received your dispute. They then have two billing cycles (not to exceed 90 days) to either correct the problem or send you an explanation. During this waiting period, you and your account are safe; they cannot close your account or report that you’ve skipped a payment to the credit reporting agencies. They also must not attempt to collect the amount that you’re disputing.

Preparing Your Written Notice

It’s important that you have all of your information ready to go when you contact your creditor. Your written notice must be addressed to your creditor and include all of the information they’ll need to research the dispute. They’ll need your account number and full name, as well as the date, amount, and vendor of the transaction you’re disputing. Write in your notice that you believe your bill or this charge is incorrect, and also explain why you’re disputing the bill; this could be because you didn’t make that charge, you were charged twice, you were a victim of identity theft, or many other reasons. Time is of the essence, so you’ll need to send your notice within 60 days of receiving the errant bill. There are many examples of dispute letters online that you can use as templates.

Minor Bump in the Road

After sticking to your budget and working hard to rebuild your credit, it can be disheartening to discover an error on a bill. But don’t worry. While you do have some tedious tasks ahead of you, these errors can be corrected without affecting your credit report or score. Soon you’ll be able to focus on continuing to build your financial future and taking care of your family.