Unfortunately, many creditor complaints have not been responded to and have been ignored in the past, which is a predominant reason why so many consumers rank billing disputes as their top complaint, stated Long Island consumer lawyer Andrew M. Doktofsky.
Long Island, New York (PRWEB) December 20, 2011
Credit card billing disputes are the most common national consumer complaint, according to a consumer response report published in November 2011 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is a U.S. governmental agency that enforces federal consumer financial laws.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) collected various credit card-related complaints from consumers over a three-month period and analyzed and how they were handled by credit card companies. The CFPB provided the report to law enforcement authorities in order to make markets more effective for consumers and to protect the nation’s consumers from unfair or deceptive practices.
Consumers who currently have billing disputes with credit card providers can seek a remedy for their dispute under the national Fair Credit Billing Act. This Act, which is part of the Truth in Lending Act, allows consumers to dispute with a credit card company various types of billing errors.
According to Andrew M. Doktofsky, a billing dispute lawyer in Long Island, “The Fair Credit Billing Act provides a remedy for consumers who have disputes associated with open-end credit, including credit card companies. The FCBA covers a variety of consumer billing disputes. Once an individual gives the creditor timely notice of a billing error, the creditor is not permitted to take any action to collect the disputed amount from the consumer, until the creditor conducts a reasonable investigation of the billing error. Further, the creditor cannot report the consumer as delinquent, or threaten the consumer’s credit rating, pending resolution of the disputed amount.”
A consumer may dispute any of the following types of credit card billing errors:
- Unauthorized charges,
- Incorrect billing statement amounts,
- Payments or credits not posted to the account,
- Charges not identifiable from the information provided,
- Charges for goods or services not accepted by the consumer,
- Charges for goods or services not delivered or accepted as agreed,
- Charges listing the wrong charge amount,
- Math or computation errors on the billing statement, and
- Bills sent to an incorrect address.
If the creditor fails to comply with the FCBA, the consumer may sue the creditor under the Fair Credit Billing Act to recover actual damages, statutory damages and attorney’s fees and costs. The statutory damages awarded are twice the finance charge, with a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $5,000.
The CFPB will provide another avenue for consumers to seek protections against unlawful, deceptive, abusive or unfair creditor practices. The agency aims to send consumer complaints to the credit provider or credit card company complained about, and permit the lender to address the complaint with the CFPB within 15 days and explain what they are doing to resolve the issue.
Long Island unlawful creditor practice attorney Andrew M. Doktofsky stated, “Unfortunately, many creditor complaints have not been responded to and have been ignored in the past, which is a predominant reason why so many consumers rank billing disputes as their top complaint. Previously, consumers have been required to pursue legal action in order to achieve any type of resolution. Hopefully, the CFPB will begin to regulate creditors and unlawful creditor practices in order to reduce unnecessary litigation.”
Other consumer complaints ranking near the top of the report included interest rate issues, fraudulent charges and financial scams. The CFPB has also recently started to take complaints regarding home mortgages and other home loans in an effort to reduce the number of consumer complaints in this lending area. Congress gave the CFPB the ability to overhaul and oversee credit card companies, mortgage lenders, student loan lenders and other financial products in 2010.
Andrew M. Doktofsky is a Long Island consumer lawyer and represents clients throughout Suffolk County and Nassau County, New York, including the areas of Deer Park, Hempstead, Freeport, Long Beach, Glen Cove, Brentwood, Islip, Babylon, Huntington and Commack.