How do I dispute credit card charges?
If you have a charge on your credit card that is not correct, you can dispute the credit card charges through a merchant directly or through your credit card company. It can be alarming when you see an incorrect or unknown charge on your card, but fortunately, there are ways to get it fixed.
Sometimes the easiest way to take care of an incorrect charge is through the merchant itself. If that does not fix the issue, most credit card companies have steps in place to take care of questionable charges. If there are multiple charges that you do not recognize then that is a probable sign of fraudulent activity and the steps you take at that point are different.
What is the first step to dispute a credit card charge?
It is important to keep all your credit card receipts in the event there is a questionable charge. Usually the first step is to contact the merchant themselves to take care of the issue. If the amount of the charge is incorrect, a receipt will help your case.
Oftentimes the phone number of the merchant will be listed on your billing statement. If not, you can look it up online or in the phone book (for those of you still in 1980). Call the merchant and explain the situation. Let them know either that the charge should have been a different amount or that the charge shouldn’t be there at all.
Sometimes the merchant will be able to take care of the issue right away from their end. If that is the case, the refund charge should show up on your credit card account within three business days. If it does not show up by then follow up with the merchant. There are times that the merchant may not be able to help you. If this is the case, you can take other avenues, the best one usually being your own credit card company.
How can your credit card company help you dispute a charge?
If you look carefully on your credit card statement, there are usually directions on how to dispute a charge. Most companies will require you to write a letter of complaint for corrective action. Before you mail it to the credit card company make sure you make a copy for your own records.
Along with writing the letter, call the credit card company. Explain the situation and let them know you have already contacted the merchant and they were unable to help. The credit card company
may have some specific documentation that you need to fill out.
After sending in your letter and documentation, be patient. The credit card company has 30 days to respond with their decision. Ask the credit card company about payment of the disputed charge. Many companies won’t ask for payment on that particular charge until a decision is reached. Most credit card companies have your best interest in mind and will do their best to dispute the charge and get it taken off your bill.
What if the dispute is not resolved through the credit card company?
In most cases, your credit card company is able to take care of any disputed charges. However, there are times in which their decision is not favorable to you. If this is the case, you may need to take legal action. In 1975, the federal government passed the Fair Credit Billing Act to help protect consumers.
This act allows you to take legal action against your card company. You can sue the company for the disputed charges. Most credit card companies would like to keep your business so fortunately it doesn’t usually come to that. You can also ask your credit card company if there are any other options for you to pursue.
What if there are multiple questionable credit card charges?
If you notice that there are a number of unknown charges on your bill, especially if they were close together time wise, it may be a fraudulent situation. Fraud means that someone has access to your card or account number and is using it for purchases with no intent to pay the charges.
The first step you should take after noticing possible fraudulent charges is to call your credit card company right away. Do not even bother with the merchant, as they will be unable to help you. Your credit card company will cancel your card and send you a new one with a new account number.
In situations of fraud you will often need to fill out a form and sign it that states you did not make the indicated transactions and do not recognize the charges. Most credit card companies will not make you liable for any charge over $50. Some companies will even wave the $50 charge in order to keep you happy.
Almost all credit card companies now have fraud protection actions in place but anytime a fraudulent charge is made you really need to act quickly to make sure you do not end up liable for someone else’s good time.