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Subject:  Re: Charge dispute blown off, now what? Date:  10/7/2004  4:14 PM
Author:  joelcorley Number:  190852 of 312293


You wrote, Cancel the membership? What? I wrote regarding a fraudulent charge, not some inconvenient membership I was too lazy to cancel!

Is this in violation of the FCBA, or did I misunderstand the process? They never used the word "investigation" in their response, so I don't think they're claiming to have done one, which I thought they were required to do. I don't have contact information on this "merchant" beyond the 800 number printed on the bill. Needless to say I would prefer to contact them in writing if at all. Heaven knows what they'd claim I signed up for if I were to call the number.

Likely you've become a victim of some opt-out clause that was added to your credit card agreement. The problem with such clauses is that they purport to create a wholly new and separate contract with a third party without your explicit consent. I don't think such a contract is legally binding. What's more, I believe there are class-action lawsuits winding their way through the court system over this very issue.

Yes, BoA is almost certainly in violation of the FCBA, though honestly that might not do you all that much good unless and until they actually report you as in default to the CRAs. It's the FCRA and FDCPA that have real teeth, not the FCBA. Write them back with a copy of your original letter and their response. Tell them that you didn't subscribe to anything and that you specifically stated in your original letter than the charge was fraudulent. Tell them they must remove the original charge and any interest charges immediately.

Send a copy to the FTC. Tell BoA that you're filing a complaint against them with the FTC. Tell them that you suspect that BoA disclosed your account information to this credit protection service and that you believe it was a act of fraud on BoA's part as well as the part of the so-called merchant.

That should get their attention.

Once you've sent out that nasty-gram, call up BoA and politely ask to speak to someone that deals with account fraud. You should probably try to dodge CSR that answers the phone. Tell the rep that you sent a written dispute about some fraudulent activity on your account and that they sent you some bogus reply letter stating that they couldn't cancel a subscription with a merchant – which wasn't your complaint to begin with. Ask them if they handle all fraud complaints this way. If the rep hasn't handled your complaint by this point, tell him that the Fair Credit Billing Act only gives them 2 billing cycles to resolve such disputes. Also point out that if they fail to take your complaint seriously, they forfeit the right to collect anything.

If none of these efforts work, you can either write them and demand an arbitration hearing – assuming BoA has an arbitration clause – or you can sue them in small claims court.

- Joel
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