Credit card rights

Seven On Your Side
August 22, 2008 8:44:05 PM PDT
If you've ever disputed a credit card bill, or even fought identity theft there's a little known rule that could save you thousands if you're ever ripped off. Seven on Your Side's Tappy Phillips has the story of one lady who learned a lesson the hard way. Eva Centeno's baby accesory business is in it's infancy. Her top seller is called a toasty toddler blanket.

All of her business comes through her website mobilemoms.com via credit cards.

But Eva says nearly a year ago, all her American Express charges stopped showing in her bank account.

"Every payment that came on the web from American Express went into the wrong merchant account," she said.

That's right Eva's revenues were being credited to another business.

"We're talking over $9,000," said Eva.

Months ago she notified amex of the mistake, who credited her back just 90 days worth of charges, less than $600.

Eva adds, "The bulk of my sales were done prior to 90 days they were done during the January February months."

Eva should've checked the amex terms and conditions saying she had 90 days to report billing errors.

"I think the message I'd have for consumers is keep an eye on your statements be vigilant," said Donna Rosato of Money Magazine.

Donna says the fair credit billing act allows consumers just 60 days to report errors.

"It's not good enough. You can't just call your credit card company to be protected on the fair credit billing act. You need to put your dispute in writing and you need to get that dispute letter out within 60 days of spotting the error on the statement you received," adds Rosato.

Even though Eva didn't report the error until months later - after Seven on Your Side contacted Amex eva says Amex acknowledged and apologized for their mistake and as a one time courtesy refunded the full amount nearly $10,000.

To read more on credit card laws, go to, www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/fcb.shtm

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips
WEB PRODUCED BY: Scott Curkin

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