Unfortunately, companies do make billing errors. If a person discovers a billing error, he may do well to notify his creditor of it in a timely manner. He may also protect himself from misunderstandings in a billing dispute by handling communications in writing and keeping copies of all correspondence with creditors. Additionally, he may research the laws in his area to learn what a creditor can and cannot do when it comes to collecting a debt.
If an individual has a billing dispute, it is usually best to handle it right away. In many jurisdictions, consumers have 60 days to dispute a bill they believe is incorrect. If a person waits until this time period has passed, he may forfeit some of his rights and have a harder time proving his case. He may also do well to avoid ignoring a bill in the hopes that a creditor will recognize and fix its own mistake; this may not happen.
When a person wants to dispute a bill, it is typically best to do so in writing. An individual does have a chance of getting results if he contacts a creditor by phone to dispute a bill, but doing so also gives a creditor the chance to deny the communication or refuse to acknowledge an agreement made by phone. If a person communicates with a creditor in writing, however, he has a better chance of proving that he notified the company of the billing error. Likewise, he will have documentation of any agreements that have been reached.
An individual may also do well to keep copies of all of the correspondence related to a billing dispute. These copies may help him prove an error or the details of an agreement if his case ends up in court. Copies of correspondence may also prove helpful if he enters a dispute-resolution process outside of court. An individual may also protect himself by send billing dispute letters via certified mail and keeping copies of his mailing receipts. This may prevent creditors from claiming that he never sent a letter or that they never received it.
Another good piece of advice for dealing with a billing dispute is to refuse to be bullied. In the hopes of getting a debtor to pay a bill, some creditors will threaten to report a debtor to credit bureaus or file a lawsuit; some may even threaten illegal actions or harass a debtor. To deal with such creditors, a person may research the laws regarding fair-collection practices in his jurisdiction. This may help him understand his rights and what a creditor can or cannot do. In the event a creditor is breaking the law, he may report the company to put a stop to this behavior and possibly even collect monetary damages.