Once in a great while, you may find an error on your ATM, debit, credit or charge card statement. The bank or card issuer must investigate the error but only if you notify them within 60 days. Because you could lose your right to challenge a statement or billing error if you don't act quickly, you should learn about your rights and obligations ahead of time. ATM Statements and Debit Card Receipts Although ATM statements or debit receipts don't usually contain errors, mistakes do happen. If you find an error, you have 60 days from the date of the statement or receipt to notify the bank. Always call first and follow up with a letter. If you don't notify the bank within 60 days, it has no obligation to investigate the error and you're out of luck. The bank has 10 business days from the date of your notification to investigate the problem and tell you the result. If the bank needs more time, it can take up to 45 days, but only if it deposits the amount of money in dispute into your account. If the bank later determines that there was no error, it can take the money back, but it first must send you a written explanation. Credit or Charge Card Statements The law regarding errors on credit and charge card statements is similar to that for ATM or debit cards. You must notify the credit or charge card company of any errors within 60 days of the date on the billing statement. Otherwise, the credit or charge card company has no obligation to investigate or respond. Notify the company in writing and enclose copies of supporting documents, such as receipts showing the correct amount of the charge.
The credit or charge card company must acknowledge receipt of your letter within 30 days, unless it corrects the bill within that time. Then, within two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days), the company must either correct the error or explain why it believes the amount on the statement to be correct. If the company does not comply with these time limits, they must credit you for $50 of the disputed balance. (In California, if the company doesn't comply with the 90-day limit, you don't have to pay any portion of the disputed balance.)
During the two-billing cycle/90-day period, the credit or charge card company cannot report the amount as delinquent to a credit bureau or other creditors. But it can apply the disputed amount to your credit limit and charge you interest on the amount. Of course, if the company later agrees that you were correct, it must drop these interest charges.
If the company sends you an explanation but doesn't correct the error, and you are not satisfied, you have 10 days to send another letter explaining that you still refuse to pay. If the company then reports your account as delinquent, it must also report that you believe you don't owe the money.