Fair Credit Billing Act Text

Fair Credit Billing Act Text

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Fair Credit Billing Act Text

THE FAIR CREDIT BILLING ACT

Public Law 93-495

93rd Congress - H.R. 11221

Fair Credit Billing Act. 15 USC 1601

 

 

TITLE III - FAIR CREDIT BILLING

§ 301. Short Title

This title may be cited as the “Fair Credit Billing Act”.

§ 302. Declaration of purpose

The last sentence of section 102 of the Truth in Lending Act

(15 U.S.C. 1601) is amended by striking out the period and

inserting in lieu thereof a comma and the following: “and to

protect the consumer against inaccurate and unfair credit

billing and credit card practices.”

§ 303. Definitions of creditor and open end credit plan

The first sentence of section 103(f) of the Truth in Lending

Act (15 U.S.C. 1602(f)) is amended to read as follows: “The

term ‘creditor’refers only to creditors who regularly extend, or

arrange for the extension of, credit which is payable by

agreement in more than four installments or for which the

payment of a finance charge is or may be required, whether

in connection with loans, sales of property or services, or

otherwise. For the purposes of the requirements imposed

under Chapter 4 and sections 127(a) (6), 127(a) (7), 127(a)

(8), 127(b) (1), 127(b) (2), 127(b) (3), 127(b) (9), and

127(b) (11) of Chapter 2 of this Title, the term ‘creditor’

shall also include card issuers whether or not the amount

due is payable by agreement in more than four installments

or the payment of a finance charge is or may be required,

and the Board shall, by regulation, apply these requirements

to such card issuers, to the extent appropriate, even though

the requirements are by their terms applicable only to

creditors offering open end credit plans.

 

 

§ 304. Disclosure of fair credit billing rights

(a) Section 127(a) of the Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C.

1637(a)) is amended by adding at the end thereof a new

paragraph as follows:

“(8) A statement, in a form prescribed by regulations of the

Board of the protection provided by sections 161 and

170 to an obligor and the creditor’s responsibilities

under sections 162 and 170. With respect to each of

two billing cycles per year, at semiannual intervals, the

creditor shall transmit such statement to each obligor

to whom the creditor is required to transmit a statement

pursuant to sections 127(b) for such billing cycle.”

(b) Section 127(c) of such Act (15 U.S.C. 1637(c)) is

amended to read:

“(c) In the case of any existing account under an open end

consumer credit plan having an outstanding balance of more

than $1 at or after the close of the creditor’s first full billing

cycle under the plan after the effective date of subsection (a)

or any amendments thereto, the items described in subsec-

tion (a), to the extent applicable and not previously dis-

closed, shall be disclosed in a notice mailed or delivered to

the obligor not later than the time of mailing the next state-

ment required by subsection (b).”

§ 305. Disclosure of billing contact

Section 127(b) of the Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C.

1637(b)) is amended by adding at the end thereof a new

paragraph as follows:

“(11) The address to be used by the creditor for the purpose

of receiving billing inquiries from the obligor.”

§ 306. Billing practices

The Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. 1601-1665) is

amended by adding at the end thereof a new chapter as

follows:

 

“Chapter 4—CREDIT BILLING

Sec.

161. Correction of billing errors

162. Regulation of credit reports.

163. Length of billing period.

164. Prompt crediting of payments.

165. Crediting excess payments.

166. Prompt notification of returns.

167. Use of cash discounts.

168. Prohibition of tie-in services.

169. Prohibition of offsets.

170. Rights of credit card customers.

171. Relation to State laws.

§ 161. Correction of billing errors

“(a) If a creditor, within sixty days after having transmitted

to an obligor a statement of the obligor’s account in connec-

tion with an extension of consumer credit, receives at the

address disclosed under section 127(b) (11) a written notice

(other than notice on a payment stub or other payment medium

supplied by the creditor if the creditor so stipulates with the

disclosure required under section 127(a) (8)) from the obligor

in which the obligor—

“(1) sets forth or otherwise enables the creditor to identify

the name and account number (if any) of the obligor,

“(2) indicates the obligor’s belief that the statement contains

a billing error and the amount of such billing error, and

“(3) sets forth the reasons for the obligor’s belief (to the

extent applicable) that the statement contains a billing error,

the creditor shall, unless the obligor has, after giving such

written notice and before the expiration of the time limits herein

specified, agreed that the statement was correct—

“(A) not later than thirty days after the receipt of the

notice, send a written acknowledgment thereof to the

obligor, unless the action required in subparagraph

(B) is taken within such thirty-day period, and

“(B) not later than two complete billing cycles of the

3

15 USC 1666.

Ante, p. 1511.

Ante, p. 1511.

Page 6

PUBLIC LAW 93-495 - October 28, 1974

creditor (in no event later than ninety days) after the

receipt of the notice and prior to taking any action to

collect the amount, or any part thereof, indicated by the

obligor under paragraph (2) either—

“(i) make appropriate corrections in the account of

the obligor, including the crediting of any finance

charges on amounts erroneously billed, and

transmit to the obligor a notification of such

corrections and the creditor’s explanation of any

cage in the amount indicated by the obligor under

paragraph (2) and, if any such change is made and

the obligor so requests, copies of documentary

evidence of the obligor’s indebtedness; or

“(ii) send a written explanation or clarification to the

obligor, after having conducted an investigation,

setting forth to the extent applicable the reasons why

the creditor believes the account of the obligor was

correctly shown in the statement and, upon request

of the obligor, provide copies of documentary

evidence of the obligor’s indebtedness. In the case

of a billing error where the obligor alleges that the

creditor’s billing statement reflects goods not

delivered to the obligor or his designee in accor-

dance with the agreement made at the time of the

transaction, a creditor may not construe such

amount to be correctly shown unless he deter-

mines that such goods were actually delivered,

mailed, or otherwise sent to the obligor and

provides the obligor with a statement of such

determination.

After complying with the provisions of this subsection with

respect to an alleged billing error, a creditor has no further

responsibility under this section if the obligor continues to make

substantially the same allegation with respect to such error.

“(b) For the purpose of this section, a ‘billing error’consists

of any of the following:

“(1) A reflection on a statement of an extension of credit

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Definitions.

Page 7

PUBLIC LAW 93-495 - October 28, 1974

which was not made to the obligor or, if made, was not in

the amount reflected on such statement.

“(2) A reflection on a statement of an extension of credit for

which the obligor requests additional clarification includ-

ing documentary evidence thereof.

“ (3) A reflection on a statement of goods or services not

accepted by the obligor or his designee or not delivered

to the obligor or his designee in accordance with the

agreement made at the time of a transaction.

“ (4) The creditor's failure to reflect properly on a statement

a payment made by the obligor or a credit issued to the

obligor.

“(5) A computation error or similar error of an accounting

nature of the creditor on a statement.

“(6) Any other error described in regulations of the Board.

“(c) For the purposes of this section, ‘action to collect the

amount, or any part thereof, indicated by an obligor under

paragraph (2)’ does not include the sending of statements of

account to the obligor following written notice from the obligor

as specified under subsection (a) if—

“ (1) the obligor's account is not restricted or closed be-

cause of the failure of the obligor to pay the amount

indicated under paragraph (2) of subsection (a) and

“ (2) the creditor indicates the payment of such amount is

not required pending the creditor's compliance with this

section.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any action

by a creditor to collect any amount which has not been indi-

cated by the obligor to contain a billing error.

“(d) Pursuant to regulations of the Board, a creditor operat-

ing an open end consumer credit plan may not, prior to the

sending of the written explanation or clarification required

under paragraph (B) (ii), restrict or close an account with

respect to which the obligor has indicated pursuant to subsec-

tion (a) that he believes such account to contain a billing

error solely because of the obligor's failure to pay the

amount indicated to be in error. Nothing in this subsection shall

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PUBLIC LAW 93-495 - October 28, 1974

be deemed to prohibit a creditor from applying against the

credit limit on the obligor's account the amount indicated to be

in error.

“(e) Any creditor who fails to comply with the requirements

of this section or section 162 forfeits any right to collect from

the obligor the amount indicated by the obligor under para-

graph (2) of subsection (a) of this section, and any finance

charges thereon, except that the amount required to be for-

feited under this subsection may not exceed $50.

§ 162. Regulation of credit reports

“(a) After receiving a notice from an obligor as provided in

section 161(a), a creditor or his agent may not directly or

indirectly threaten to report to any person adversely on the

obligor's credit rating or credit standing because of the obligor's

failure to pay the amount indicated by the obligor under section

161(a) (2) and such amount may not be reported as delinquent

to any third party until the creditor has met the requirements of

section 161 and has allowed the obligor the same number of

days (not less than ten) thereafter to make payment as is

provided under the credit agreement with the obligor for the

payment of undisputed amounts.

“(b) If a creditor receives a further written notice from an

obligor that an amount is still in dispute within the time allowed

for payment under subsection (a) of this section, a creditor may

not report to any third party that the amount of the obligor is

delinquent because the obligor has failed to pay an amount

which he has indicated under section 161(a) (2), unless the

creditor also reports that the amount is in dispute and, at the

same time, notifies the obligor of the name and address of each

party to whom the creditor is reporting information concerning

the delinquency.

“(c) A creditor shall report any subsequent resolution of any

delinquencies reported pursuant to subsection (b) to the parties

to whom such delinquencies were initially reported.

6

Noncompliance.

15 USC 1666a.

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PUBLIC LAW 93-495 - October 28, 1974

§ 163. Length of billing period

“(a) If an open end consumer credit plan provides a time

period within which an obligor may repay any portion of the

credit extended without incurring an additional finance charge,

such additional finance charge may not be imposed with

respect to such portion of the credit extended for the billing

cycle of which such period is a part unless a statement which

includes the amount upon which the finance charge for that

period is based was mailed at least fourteen days prior to the

date specified in the statement by which payment must be

made in order to avoid imposition of that finance charge.

“(b) Subsection (a) does not apply in any case where a

creditor has been prevented, delayed, or hindered in making

timely mailing or delivery of such periodic statement within

the time period specified in such subsection because of an

act of God, war, natural disaster, strike, or other excusable

or justifiable cause, as determined under regulations of the

Board.

§ 164. Prompt crediting of payments

“Payments received from an obligor under an open end

consumer credit plan by the creditor shall be posted promptly

to the obligor's account as specified in regulations of the Board.

Such regulations shall prevent a finance charge from being

imposed on any obligor if the creditor has received the

obligor's payment in readily identifiable form in the amount,

manner, location, and time indicated by the creditor to avoid

the imposition thereof.

§ 165. Crediting excess payments

“Whenever an obligor transmits funds to a creditor in

excess of the total balance due on an open end consumer

credit account, the creditor shall promptly (1) upon request

of the obligor refund the amount of the overpayment, or (2)

credit such amount to the obligor’s account.

7

15 USC 1666b.

15 USC 1666c.

15 USC 1666d.

Page 10

PUBLIC LAW 93-495 - October 28, 1974

§ 166. Prompt notification of returns

“With respect to any sales transaction where a credit card

has been used to obtain credit, where the seller is a person

other than the card issuer, and where the seller accepts or

allows a return of the goods or forgiveness of a debit for

services which were the subject of such sale, the seller shall

promptly transmit to the credit card issuer, a credit statement

with respect thereto and the credit card issuer shall credit the

account of the obligor for the amount of the transaction.

§ 167. Use of cash discounts

“(a) With respect to credit card which may be used for

extensions of credit in sales transactions in which the seller is a

person other than the card issuer, the card issuer may not, by

contract or otherwise, prohibit any such seller from offering a

discount to a cardholder to induce the cardholder to pay by

cash, check, or similar means rather than use a credit card.

“(b) With respect to any sales transaction, any discount not

in excess of 5 per centum offered by the seller for the purpose

of inducing payment by cash, check, or other means not

involving the use of a credit card shall not constitute a

finance charge as determined under section 106, if such

discount is offered to all prospective buyers and its avail-

ability is disclosed to all prospective buyers clearly and

conspicuously in accordance with regulations of the Board.

§ 168. Prohibition of tie-in services

“Notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary, a card

issuer may not require a seller, as a condition to participating in

a credit card plan, to open an account with or procure any

other service from the card issuer or its subsidiary or agent.

§ 169. Prohibition of offsets

“(a) A card issuer may not take any action to offset a

cardholder's indebtedness arising in connection with a con-

sumer credit transaction under the relevant credit card plan

against funds of the cardholder held on deposit with the card

8

15 USC 1666e.

15 USC 1666f.

15 USC 1666g.

15 USC 1666h.

Page 11

PUBLIC LAW 93-495 - October 28, 1974

issuer unless—

“(1) such action was previously authorized in writing by the

cardholder in accordance with a credit plan whereby the

cardholder agrees periodically to pay debts incurred in his

open end credit account by permitting the card issuer

periodically to deduct all or a portion of such debt from

the cardholder's deposit account, and

“(2) such action with respect to any outstanding disputed

amount not be taken by the card issuer upon request of

the cardholder.

In the case of any credit card account in existence on the

effective date of this section, the previous written authorization

referred to in clause (1) shall not be required until the date

(after such effective date) when such account is renewed, but in

no case later than one year after such effective date. Such

written authorization shall be deemed to exist if the card issuer

has previously notified the cardholder that the use of his credit

card account will subject any funds which the card issuer holds

in deposit accounts of such cardholder to offset against any

amounts due and payable on his credit card account which

have not been paid in accordance with the terms of the agree-

ment between the card issuer and the cardholder.

“(b) This section does not alter or affect the right under

State law of a card issuer to attach or otherwise levy upon

funds of a cardholder held on deposit with the card issuer if

that remedy is constitutionally available to creditors generally.

§ 170. Rights of credit card customers

“(a) Subject to the limitation contained in subsection (b), a

card issuer who has issued a credit card to a cardholder

pursuant to an open end consumer credit plan shall be subject

to all claims (other than tort claims) and defenses arising out of

any transaction in which the credit card is used as a method of

payment or extension of credit if (1) the obligor has made a

good faith attempt to obtain satisfactory resolution of a dis-

agreement or problem relative to the transaction from the

person honoring the credit card; (2) the amount of the initial

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15 USC 1666i.

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PUBLIC LAW 93-495 - October 28, 1974

transaction exceeds $50; and (3) the place where the initial

transaction occurred was in the same State as the mailing

address previously provided by the cardholder or was within

100 miles from such address, except that the limitations set

forth in clauses (2) and (3) with respect to an obligor's right to

assert claims and defenses against a card issuer shall not be

applicable to any transaction in which the person honoring the

credit card (A) is the same person as the card issuer, (B) is

controlled by the card issuer, (C) is under direct or indirect

common control with the card issuer, (D) is a franchised dealer

in the card issuer's products or services, or (E) has obtained

the order for such transaction through a mail solicitation made

by or participated in by the card issuer in which the cardholder

is solicited to enter into such transaction by using the credit

card issued by the card issuer.

“(b) The amount of claims or defenses asserted by the

cardholder may not exceed the amount of credit outstanding

with respect to such transaction at the time the cardholder first

notifies the card issuer or the person honoring the credit card of

such claim or defense. For the purpose of determining the

amount of credit outstanding in the preceding sentence,pay-

ments and credits to the cardholder's account are deemed to

have been applied, in the order indicated, to the payment of:

(1) late charges in the order of their entry to the account; (2)

finance charges in order of their entry to the account; and (3)

debits to the account other than those set forth above, in the

order in which each debit entry to the account was made.

§ 171. Relation to State laws

“(a) This chapter does not annul, alter, or affect, or exempt

any person subject to the provisions of this chapter from

complying with, the laws of any State with respect to credit

billing practices, except to the extent that those laws are

inconsistent with any provision of this chapter, and then

only to the extent of the inconsistency. The Board is autho-

rized to determine whether such inconsistencies exist. The

Board may not determine that any State law is inconsistent with

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15 USC 1666j.

Page 13

PUBLIC LAW 93-495 - October 28, 1974

any provision of this chapter if the Board determines that such

law gives greater protection to the consumer.

“(b) The Board shall by regulation exempt from the

requirements of this chapter any class of credit transactions

within any State if it determines that under the law of that

State that class of transactions is subject to requirements

substantially similar to those imposed under this chapter or

that such law gives greater protection to the consumer, and

that there is adequate provision for enforcement.”

§ 307. Conforming amendments

(a) The table of chapter of the Truth in Lending Act is

amended by adding immediately under item 3 the following:

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