The Bane of Humanity
Checking on the credit card statement when it arrives is a lot like going to an all-night dentist for a check-up … no fun whatsoever. However, the importance of checking each and every line item can not be understated. In the modern world, computers make life much easier and vastly more complicated at the same time. Credit card billing errors occur all the time and with computers being the mainstay of the credit card business, they happen on a broader scale and with greater regularity.Don’t do it because you have to … do it because you want to.
Don’t Help Criminals
The number of incidents of crime related to credit card fraud is astounding. Criminals know a good deal when they see it and credit card ripoff is one of the best deals to ever materialize. Stealing credit card info is so easy children are doing it. Scams, unauthorized charges, overcharges and a multitude of other maladies can all show up on a consumer’s credit card statement and if they’re not caught, they can happen again and again. Some mistakes are nothing more than simple human error while others are malicious attempts to steal money and identities. Whatever the cause, the effect is the same. The consumer pays for it, and in some cases, pays dearly. It’s better to take a few moments and read over the statement than having to take time later on to repair bad credit information.
The Facts, Just the Facts
Some interesting statistics most consumers don’t know are:
- 12 million victims of identity theft per year – that’s 250,000 per state
- 71% of fraud happens within a week of stealing a victim’s personal data
- Low-tech methods for stealing personal information are still the most popular for identity thieves. Stolen wallets and physical documents accounted for 43% of all identity theft, while online methods accounted for only 11%.
Here’s the breakdown according to Federal Trade Commission complaint data:
With Credit Card Fraud leading the pack, it’s almost mandatory consumers check their statements closely to make sure they’re not being victimized.
Rights of Credit Card Users
The Credit Cardholders Act went into effect in 2010 and quickly changed the relationship between consumers and credit card companies. The legislation did away with a number of suspicious and costly activities conducted by credit card companies which increased fees, interest rates, and other terms without proper notification of the consumer by the credit provider. It also established clearer guidelines for granting credit, reducing credit, and clearing up problems with credit-related activities on the part of the credit card companies.
Analysis and Communication Are the Keys
Even with the introduction of the Credit Cardholders Act, consumer must still remain diligent when reviewing their monthly statements. Inappropriate fees, finance charges, and other bank-related transactions can occur. Unauthorized charges or repetitive charges that the consumer didn’t know would be repeated are a large part of the problem. Consumer rights in these cases are clear and the problems can be taken care of with a phone, as long as the consumer is dealing with the credit card company in good faith. Numerous nefarious credit card abusers play this type of game and once a credit card company has had enough chargebacks against a particular company, they will cut off the errant company’s accounts.
Follow the Rules
When a problem is discovered, follow these steps to resolve matters:
1) Identify incorrect charges.
2) Contact the merchant directly if the charge amount is incorrect. Explain the situation and ask the merchant to correct it.
3) Contact the credit card company if the merchant is unable or unwilling to assist you. Tell the credit card company you would like to dispute a charge on your account.
4) Give the information to the credit card company over the phone. Some companies will send you a form to complete, sign and return. These forms often require an explanation of the situation, as well as copies of any receipts.
5) Wait to hear the resolution. The credit card company is obligated to respond to the consumer within 30 days of receiving the completed form.