How to Handle a Billing Dispute
What to do if you want to dispute a bill for any valid reason1. Do not ever call to settle a bill or resolve a billing problem. Write a letter within 30 days of the date on the letter. Delay and it will be legally assumed that you have accepted the charges.
2. State briefly all your true reasons why you should not pay the entire bill or some specific amount.
3. Attach copies of all relevant papers.
4. Request specific action by a specific date.
5. Keep a copy of the letter.
6. Send by fax and certified mail to insure receipt.
What to write and where to send?1. Make sure you follow all instructions on the billing letter as to where it should go(person and address).
2. Make sure the letter has your name and address;
3. Captions are essential. List your name, account number, invoice number and amount separately.
4. If you dispute the entire bill - say so. "I dispute your bill/invoice in its entirety."
5. If you dispute a portion - say so. Attach check for the undisputed portion to the letter.
In the letter (and on the back of the check) write. "Acceptance and negotiation of this check constitutes accord and satisfaction and your waiver of any unpaid balance'. Make a copy of the front and back of the check.
6. Once the check returns make a copy of both sides.
7. Keep a separate folder for each billing dispute.
Reasons? I will give you reasons!1. State your reasons for dispute in a bullet form. Avoid generalities. Stick to dates and facts. (e.g. The item you bill for has not been delivered" or "The services you bill for have not been provided"
2. If something was promised, state the date and the name - "On 11/11/2011 Ms. XYZ promised that the shipment will be cancelled" or "Mr. KMN on 2/12/2012 assured me that the matter was resolved."
3. If you need some proof, any documents or records before accepting responsibility for payment - name them and ask for delivery by date certain.
Write "no payment shall be considered or made until I receve...within 15 days of this letter"
4. If your reasons are solid and you do not intend to pay please consider ending your letter with the sentence" No payment shall be made voluntarily."
No size fits all!These are basic common sense rules anyone can follow. However, generic as these points might be approach your situation carefully. Do not use angry words. violent adjectives or threaten things you do not intend or cannot do, such as "sending the company/person to jail' or suing them "for a million bucks" or bancrupting the company.
Remember, your task is to avoid and resolve a monetary conflict not to vent your ego.
If in doubt, offer partial payment as payment in full (see above). If the company is in error let them know. If they persist, consider filing a complaint with the Feds or State authority that regulates them. Everyone is regulated somewhere.
If in doubt or your situation is complex or invlves lots of money - go see an attorney.
G-d bless you and good luck