The creditor must acknowledge your complaint, in writing, within 30 days after receiving it, unless the problem has been resolved. The creditor must resolve the dispute within two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days) after getting your letter.
You may withhold payment on the disputed amount (and related charges) during the investigation. You must pay any part of the bill not in question, including finance charges on the undisputed amount.
The creditor may not take any legal or other action to collect the disputed amount and related charges (including finance charges) during the investigation. While your account can't be closed or restricted, the disputed amount can be applied against your credit limit.
The creditor may not threaten your credit rating, report you as delinquent, accelerate your debt, or restrict or close your account because your bill is in dispute or you have used your FCBA rights. However, the creditor may report that you are challenging your bill. In addition, it’s against federal law for creditors to discriminate against credit applicants who exercise their rights in good faith under the FCBA. For example, a creditor can’t deny you credit just because you've disputed a bill.
If it turns out that your bill has a mistake, the creditor must explain to you — in writing — the corrections that will be made to your account. In addition to crediting your account, the creditor must remove all finance charges, late fees, or other charges related to the error.
If the creditor determines that you owe a portion of the disputed amount, you must get a written explanation. You may request copies of documents proving you owe the money.
If the creditor's investigation determines the bill is correct, you must be told promptly and in writing how much you owe and why. You may ask for copies of relevant documents. At this point, you'll owe the disputed amount, plus any finance charges that accumulated while the amount was in dispute. You also may have to pay the minimum amount you missed paying because of the dispute.
If you disagree with the results of the investigation, you may write to the creditor, but you must act within 10 days after receiving the explanation, and you may indicate that you refuse to pay the disputed amount. At this point, the creditor may begin collection procedures. However, if the creditor reports you to a credit reporting company as delinquent, the report also must state that you don't think you owe the money. The creditor must tell you who gets these reports. The creditor also must promptly report any subsequent resolution of the reported delinquency, to everyone who got a report.
Any creditor who fails to follow the settlement procedure may not collect the amount in dispute, or any related finance charges, up to $50, even if the bill turns out to be correct. For example, if a creditor acknowledges your complaint in 45 days — 15 days too late — or takes more than two billing cycles to resolve a dispute, the penalty applies. The penalty also applies if a creditor threatens to report — or improperly reports — your failure to pay during the dispute period.
The more you know about how banks decide whether to give you a loan and at what rate, the easier it will be for you to take the actions that make you seem as more creditworthy. Community credit repair will try to educate our clients about their individual credit scores and the rules that determine those magic numbers called credit scores.
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