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Can Credit Card Companies Hold You Responsible For Credit Card Transactions You Didn’t Authorize?


When you live paycheck to paycheck and struggle with debt, as most of us do, you probably experience mixed emotions when your bank statements or credit card billing statements arrive or when you view transactions on your bank account.  On the one hand, just looking at how little money you have left for the month and how many more bills you still have to pay is stressful.  On the other hand, you want to scrutinize every line of the transaction record to make sure that there are no transactions you did not authorize and that no one charged you more than you owe.  The good news is that the law offers protections to consumers when it comes to liability for fraudulent transactions, but it is the consumer’s responsibility to act quickly to report suspicious activity on credit or debit cards.  Contact a Philadelphia consumer law attorney to find out more.

What Should You Do If You See a Fraudulent Charge on Your Credit Card?

The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) is a federal law that protects consumers in the event of fraudulent transactions on their credit cards.  It imposes a 60-day deadline, beginning on the date that the billing statement is issued, for consumers to report fraudulent charges to the credit card company.  If you miss the deadline, then you will be responsible for paying the full amount that the fraudsters charged on your credit card.  To report the fraudulent charges, you must notify the credit card company in writing of which charges you did not authorize.

Once you report the fraudulent charges, the credit card company must respond within 90 days.  If it determines that the charges were fraudulent, as you have claimed, it must remove them from your account and refund the credit to you.  If it determines that the charges were not actually fraudulent, it must notify you in writing that it has declined to refund the credit to you, and it must explain its reasons for this.

What Should You Do If Your Credit or Debit Card Gets Lost or Stolen?

Another law protects you from liability in the event that your credit or debit card gets lost or stolen; this is the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA).  It states that, if you report the card lost or stolen within 48 hours of the theft, the maximum amount of post-theft charges you can be liable for is $50.  If you report the theft more than two days after the theft but less than 60 days afterward, then your maximum liability is $500.  It assumes that, if you can go more than 60 days without noticing that your debit card has been stolen and people are making fraudulent charges with your account, you must not really miss the money, and you are responsible for the charges.

Contact Louis S. Schwartz About Financial Woes Resulting From Fraudulent Transactions

A consumer law attorney can help you recover from financial setbacks caused by credit card fraud or unauthorized transactions on your account.  Contact Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com to set up a free, confidential consultation.

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