The FCBA is really a part of the more extensive Truth in Lending Act and it regulates how creditors are supposed to behave and allows you the right to request large amounts of information regarding your billing and payment history.
One provision of the FCBA is often not utilized because it can be confusing to understand from the general wording. This provision is actually the foundation of a great credit repair tactic.
The provision essentially states that an individual has 60 days to dispute an unauthorized charge. This seems pretty straight forward. However, in the summary of the tactic, we did not request a disputed charge. The tactic that we want to use here involves another provision of the law- the “Information Request”, and this is a broader term that is not restricted by a limited time period.
The FTC summarizes the statute’s prohibitions as: “unauthorized charges; charges that list the wrong date or amount; charges for goods and services you didn’t accept or weren’t delivered as agreed; math errors; failure to post payments and other credits, such as returns; failure to send bills to your current address — provided the creditor receives your change of address, in writing, at least 20 days before the billing period ends; and charges for which you ask for an explanation or written proof of purchase along with a claimed error or request for clarification.”
As you read the list of requirements the FCBA, just imagine the credit repair possibilities. Consider something like this…
“In compliance with the Fair Credit Billing Act you are obligated to fulfill with my request for documentation to substantiate the reporting of my account to the major credit reporting agencies. Please provide documentation on how you charged my account, how you calculated the interest rate, as well the full accounting history of where you mailed each of my bills. If you are unable to comply, then please remove your reference to this account from every reporting agency you have reported to. Your expeditious compliance is expected.”
The above example from DisputeSuite.com is considered an “information request” and is something no creditor wants to mess with. Creditors are in the business of lending money and not dealing with credit reporting information. So instead of wasting their time with finding all the requested information, they will often simply remove the marking.
While FCBA was created to assist consumers with current account disputes, it is actually very effective with older derogatory marks. No company wants to be accused of breaking the law even if it was a few years in the past. This is especially true of creditors. Creditors are highly motivated to avoid even the hint of a lawsuit or some public embarrassment.
So this is something to keep in mind when disputing with creditors. You will want to ensure all the below stipulations are met, otherwise request they stop reporting the account to the credit bureaus.
• The account was created at your request.
• Every item billed to an account was billed correctly.
• Every statement was created in a timely manner.
• Every statement was sent to the correct address.
• The creditor never ignored change of address requests.
• The creditor never ignored disputed charges.
• Ignored change of address requests, or disputed charges which weren’t facilitated correctly didn’t contribute to negative credit reporting.
• Interest and late fees were computed in accordance with federal law.
• The creditor didn’t break their contract with their customers in any way.
Remember one of the FCBA’s main credit repair uses is to allow you to request broad amounts of information from the creditor on your account history. It is not asking for verification of the account or making a claim—it is asking for a boat load of information.
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