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Is there a law to protect me against unfair collections?

A company is threatening to take me to collections for not paying for an item that I never received. It is only $17, but I don't think I should have to pay for something that I did not get. Please advise. Is there a law to protect consumers in this situation? -Cindie


The federal Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) states if a consumer wishes to trigger an action under the FCBA, the consumer must send a notice "in writing" within 60 days after receiving the bill, outlining the nature of the dispute. An oral notification is insufficient. When a creditor, within 60 days after having sent the bill to the purchaser, receives a "written notice" from the purchaser about a billing error, the creditor, not later than 30 days after receipt of the notice, must send a written acknowledgement of the notice.

The creditor must:

1. Make the appropriate correction and notify the consumer of the correction.

2. After an investigation, send a written explanation or clarification setting forth the reasons why the creditor believes the account is correct.

If you would like further information about the FCBA, please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site.

Good luck!

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