Most credit card consumers experience problems with credit card bills at some point in their lives. A merchant might bill them twice for the same item or bill them for more than the agreed-to amount. Mail-order merchandise might never arrive, but a charge will appear on the consumer’s credit card bill. Thieves might use the consumer’s credit card number to buy a big-ticket item, such as a TV or computer. Even worse, some consumers have become victims of identify theft, the fastest growing crime in the U.S. Criminals open up credit card accounts in the name of innocent consumers and run up huge bills that the consumers don’t know about until the bill collector calls.
Fortunately, federal law protects consumers in all of these situations. It forces credit card companies to pay attention to consumers when they have a dispute about a credit card transaction. It prevents them from harming a consumer’s credit record or filing a collection lawsuit while a dispute is being resolved.