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How Do I Get Comenity Bank to Fix Their Billing Problem With My Payment?

Question:

Dear Steve,

I recently opened a Comenity credit card account, and the account balance was $688.00. I paid $50 on the actual due date, 7/11, and then another payment of $500 on 7/14. I made both payments online.

The $50 payment was received.

However, the $500 payment showed processing, and then it completely disappeared from their system. However, I have the confirmation that I paid $500, which was deducted from my checking account and charged me a $15 finance charge based on the 688 amount instead of 188 since I made that $500 payment before the finance charges were applied.

My question is, after the investigation, they stated they did not receive payment even though I have proof that I paid and got a confirmation number, and my bank statement said they took the money out of my account. What can I do to stop them from double charging me? And fixing the finance charge?

Tesia

Answer:

Dear Tesia,

It seems clear something is wrong here. The starting point will be whose system you initiate the payment from.

If you logged into your Comenity account and initiated the payment, they should have a transaction record.

However, if you did it from your bank, it might have been debited from your account by the bank, but it is not clear how the bank sent it. Does your bank send checks by mail if online payments are over a certain amount?

The finance charge might be correct even when we get this resolved. It appears you did not pay off the full balance by the due date, so the finance charge may be charged on the entire balance on the next statement.

To solve that question, you’d need to look at the signed cardholder agreement. If you can’t find it, go here.

Comenity manages so many different cards I don’t know which one is yours. So I looked at the Comenity Mastercard terms.

Here is what those say regarding paying interest, “Your due date is at least 25 days after the close of each billing period. We will not charge you interest on purchases if you pay your entire balance by the due date each month. If you do not, you will not get a grace period on purchases again until you pay the entire balance by the due date for two billing periods in a row. We will begin charging interest on balance transfers and cash advances on the transaction date.”

It goes to provide additional details.

Charging Interest: Interest begins on a transaction, fee or interest from the day added to the daily balance until paid in full.

How to Avoid Paying Interest on Regular Purchases (Grace Period): If you did not have a Previous Balance, or if you paid the New Balance on your previous statement by the Due Date on that statement, we will not charge interest on new regular purchases, or any portion thereof, paid by the Due Date on your current statement. If you have promotional Credit Plans and/or balance transfers, we may exclude some of those balances from the amount you have to pay in a billing period to keep your Grace Period. However, you must pay (i) any required minimum payment on such balances, (ii) the full amount of any Cash Advances and (iii) the full amount of any promotional Credit Plan that expires in that billing period.

You Could Lose Your Grace Period: If you do not pay your New Balance in full each billing period, then, depending on how we apply your payment, you may not get a Grace Period on new regular purchases. Once you lose your Grace Period, you can get it back by paying the New Balance (less any promotional Credit Plans and/or balance transfers as described above plus any interest charged up to the date the payment posts) in full for two billing periods in a row.”

Comenity Process to Resolve Statement Disputes

The billing dispute process is described in the Comenity Mastercard agreement. It says:

What To Do If You Find A Mistake On Your Statement

If you think there is an error on your statement, write to us at the address for Billing Errors on the Summary

In your letter, give us the following information:

  • Account information: Your name and account number.
  • Dollar amount: The dollar amount of the suspected error.
  • Description of problem: If you think there is an error on your bill, describe what you believe is wrong and why you believe it is a mistake.

You must contact us:

  • Within 60 days after the error appeared on your statement.
  • At least 3 business days before an automated payment is scheduled, if you want to stop payment on the amount you think is wrong.

You must notify us of any potential errors in writing. You may call us, but if you do we are not required to investigate any potential errors and you may have to pay the amount in question.

What Will Happen After We Receive Your Letter

When we receive your letter, we must do two things:

1. Within 30 days of receiving your letter, we must tell you that we received your letter. We will also tell you if we have already corrected the error.

2. Within 90 days of receiving your letter, we must either correct the error or explain to you why we believe the bill is correct.

While we investigate whether or not there has been an error:

  • We cannot try to collect the amount in question, or report you as delinquent on that amount.
  • The charge in question may remain on your statement, and we may continue to charge you interest on that amount.
  • While you do not have to pay the amount in question, you are responsible for the remainder of your balance.
  • We can apply any unpaid amount against your credit limit.

After we finish our investigation, one of two things will happen:

  • If we made a mistake: You will not have to pay the amount in question or any interest or other fees related to that amount.
  • If we do not believe there was a mistake: You will have to pay the amount in question, along with applicable interest and fees. We will send you a statement of the amount you owe and the date payment is due. We may then report you as delinquent if you do not pay the amount we think you owe.

If you receive our explanation but still believe your bill is wrong, you must write to us within 10 days telling us that you still refuse to pay. If you do so, we cannot report you as delinquent without also reporting that you are questioning your bill. We must tell you the name of anyone to whom we reported you as delinquent, and we must let those organizations know when the matter has been settled between us.

If we do not follow all of the rules above, you do not have to pay the first $50 of the amount you question even if your bill is correct.”

What to Do Next

After following the dispute and statement error process in your cardholder terms and conditions, make sure you send the letter by some traceable means, so you have proof they received it.

You should include copies of whatever documentation you have to support your claim.

Keep all your correspondence in a safe place because you may need to provide copies to others if you have to escalate the issue.

If you receive the Comenity response and feel it is in error, you can always escalate the matter to your State Banking Commissioner or Attorney General. Both entities have a process to file a complaint, and they will investigate. You can find both parties for your State by doing a web search.

One final opportunity to avoid problems in the future. Making a payment on the due date, not from the card you owe, can cause a posting delay, and you can miss the payment cutoff.

Banks love that when it happens because they can charge additional fees and interest.

As a matter of practice, it is always better to work to shift your payments and make the when the bill is received and not due.

Sincerely,


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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