How to Dispute Credit Card Debt

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Disputing credit card debt, whether or not you actually incurred it, can be a long process. However, it is possible to successfully have credit card debt removed without filing bankruptcy or paying accounts unnecessarily. Keep in mind that claiming a credit card debt you incurred is not yours may be illegal. There are two major kinds of credit card debt to dispute. The first are charges on a current credit card that either were fraudulent or were the result of faulty goods or services. The second shows up as negative entries on a credit report, and are associated with a late or charged-off account.

Disputing Purchases on a Credit Card

Call your credit card company as soon as you notice there is a charge you do not recognize. Tell them you want to dispute the charge. They will usually require you to send them a letter or fax stating these facts, but calling right away protects your legal rights. If the charge is the result of faulty goods or services, try first to resolve it with the merchant. If you cannot get recourse that way, then call your credit card company followed by a written dispute.

Mail or fax any statements or evidence your credit card company requests, in a timely fashion. In the meantime, the charges should be temporarily removed from your credit card.

Write to your state Attorney General's office and the Better Business Bureau if your credit card company does not find in your favor. This may encourage your lender to reconsider the case, especially if the amount disputed is fairly small.

Disputing Credit Card Debt on a Credit Report

Write a letter to the credit bureau reporting the error, which is usually Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. State in your letter that the debt in question is not yours, and that you want it removed from your reports. Send your correspondence certified mail.

Write a letter to the collection agency or credit card company stating it is not your debt, and ask that they stop reporting it. Send your letter through certified mail. The credit card company may send you an affidavit to sign stating it is not your debt. A collection agency will usually send you printed copies of statements from the credit card company.

Write a letter insisting on investigation of the account if you do not get a response. Mention that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires the credit bureau, credit card company, or collection agency to investigate your disputes.

Contact an attorney or consider filing a lawsuit against the credit bureau, credit card company, or collection agency if you cannot get the dispute resolved on your own.

Tips & Warnings

  • In your letters, include your name, address, and the information on your credit report. This enables the credit bureau, collection agency, or lender to better investigate your dispute.
  • Do not send your Social Security Number or birthdate to a collection agency or a credit card company when disputing credit card debt that is reported on your credit file.

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