Accounts Receivable Disputed Charges
For Charges billed through the PSCD-Public Sector Collections and Disbursement Module.
There will be occasions when a customer disputes a charge that appears on his/her bill. Charges are disputed for a variety of reasons, such as, unauthorized charges, the return of merchandise, billing errors, wrong amounts/dates, services not received, etc.
The Fair Credit Billing Act outlines the responsibility that a creditor must follow when receiving a formal dispute. (Contestment). The act requires that the debtor must notify the creditor in writing within 60 days of receiving the initial billing statement.
Verbally complaining about a charge does not constitute officially disputing a charge. Therefore, charges that are disputed should be formally submitted in writing. Once a charge has been formally disputed, the creditor must acknowledge the disputed charge within 30 days. Within 90 days of receiving the disputed letter, the creditor must either correct the error or respond to the debtor explaining why the charge is correct.
Accounts Receivable will monitor disputed charges to ensure departmental replies are handled appropriately. Accounts Receivable will be responsible for coding the account, monitoring the status, and maintaining a file of “disputed charges” correspondence.
The steps outlining the process are summarized below:
- Written documentation from the customer is received officially disputing a specific charge.
- The written documentation should be forwarded to UCO/Accounts Receivable immediately upon receiving the notification from the customer. (If the original letter is received at a department, then the department will need to forward a copy of the letter to UCO/AR).
- Accounts Receivable will review the correspondence and if appropriate defer the payment date for 90 days and note the charges contested in the business partner comment screen.
- Within 2-3 days, Accounts Receivable will send a notice to the customer that acknowledges the dispute. A copy of that notice along with a copy of the letter will be sent to the appropriate department that will be responding to the disputed charge. This notification letter to the customer will meet the 30-day acknowledgement requirement outlined by the Fair Credit Billing Act.
- Within 90 days from the date the dispute was received, a response must be made to the customer explaining why the charge is correct or the error must be corrected. The originating department is responsible for validating the charge and responding to the customer. A copy of the response must be provided to UCO/AR.
- If the originating department does not respond within an appropriate time frame, Accounts Receivable personnel will contact the responding department to verify if the appropriate action was taken in accordance with #5 above.
- If the originating department fails to provide resolution or a written explanation to the customer why the charge is correct within the required time frame, UCO/AR will review the account and cancel the disputed charge. This cancellation is in accordance with the Fair Credit Billing Act. Cancellations of this nature will be approved by the Manager, University Collections.
- Once a resolution has been reached, or an explanation given to the customer that the charge is correct, Accounts Receivable personnel will remove the deferral date in order for the invoice to be generated in the next billing cycle.
- Non disputed charges under the same business partner number will continue to bill as normal.
- Payments will not apply to a charge area coded with a deferral date.
- Information will be entered on the PSCD comments screen for the business partner documenting the steps taken.
- A report is generated from PSCD each month that identifies accounts with an outstanding deferral date. This report is monitored each month by Accounts Receivable area and will provide follow-up as appropriate.
The Accounts Receivable Operations Manager will oversee and direct the administration of the steps outlined above. A central file will be maintained in the A/R Operations Area.
A monthly report of Contested Charges will be reviewed by the A/R Operations Manager to verify and assist in the administration of these procedures.