How Do I Dispute a Credit Card Charge?
What does it mean to dispute a credit card? How Do You Dispute a Credit Card Charge? or How to reverse a charge? How do you resolve a credit card dispute? Read on as all your unanswered questions will be satisfactorily dealt with in the course of this informative piece.
It is essential that you dispute the charge of any unrecognized vendor that appears on your credit card statement.
This action is necessary to avoid being liable — people panic when an unexpected charge shows up on their credit card statement.
Instead of panicking and concluding that you have been defrauded, you can take some steps to get the issue resolved because not all erroneous charges are due to fraudulent practices. So, you should not jump into conclusion until you are sure of what happened.
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) provides protections to consumers against erroneous billings. Here is what you need to do to exercise your rights under this law.
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Be Certain That Something is Wrong
The first step you need to take when you are about to dispute a charge is to ascertain that the charge is genuinely wrong. You should be sure that something is truly wrong before you make any further move. This is necessary so that you can be sure there is an error. Some situations where you need to dispute a charge are as follows:
You were Overcharged
If you are debited more than what appears on your receipt, there is a possibility of an error somewhere. Someone might have incorrectly entered the amount. If this is not the case, you might have been deliberately overcharged. Whether you are overcharged deliberately or erroneously, it is essential that you dispute the charge first with the merchant.
You did not approve the transaction
When a charge from an unidentified vendor shows up on your credit card statement, it is important that you dispute the charge without delay to avoid being liable.
You were double-charged
There are situations whereby you will be charged twice for an item bought. This situation is common, and if it happens to you, you don’t have to be alarmed as you can get it resolved almost immediately by calling the merchant. It is necessary that you take action as soon as you notice as this might facilitate the quick reversal of this erroneous charge.
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What you purchased did come as advertised
In some cases, your purchase may be different from what is advertised, or it is not delivered according to your agreement. If this happens, then you have a valid reason to dispute a charge. Note, however, that dealing with this kind of issue may take time and effort.
You should not dispute a charge in the following situations:
You have buyer’s remorse
With a credit card, you are tempted to purchase what you can’t afford. So, buying a $400 headphone and regretting it afterward is not a genuine reason for a credit card dispute. You should be cautious when making your purchase, do not buy impulsively, make a purchase based on your budget. If you can afford a purchase, you can check if it is returnable.
You are not happy with a purchase made by someone you authorize
Another situation where you are not required to dispute a transaction is when an authorized person buys what he/she cannot afford. In this case, you might want to avoid buying such thing by disputing the charge, but neither the credit card company nor the merchant will see this as a valid reason to reverse the charge.
There is also a possibility that you have made a legitimate charge in the past, and it escaped your mind. For example, auto-renewal charges for services like Amazon Prime and Pandora can catch you unaware. When this happens you wait till the unfamiliar charges are posted before you dispute it. When this is done, other pending charges will disappear or be amended before they appear they reflect in your account. Most times, gas stations and hotels will place an initial charge on your card for a transaction authorization request from your bank.
Determine If it is Fraud
Inaccurate charges are handled differently from fraudulent ones. So it is essential that you know if the unauthorized charge is erroneous or fraudulent. For instance, if you don’t authorize anyone to use your card on your behalf and you discovered a $230 worth of purchase was made in California, there is a high likelihood that your credit card number has been compromised. This has nothing to do with your location. When a situation like this occurs, you should contact your credit card company without wasting time.
A lot of credit cards come with features that allow you to report fraudulent charges on the internet. So, you can quickly address the situation. Your existing card will be canceled if the charge is truly fraudulent. Then, it will be reported as fraud, and the bank will issue you another card with a new card number.
Contact the Merchant
It is recommended that you contact the seller and work on resolving the issue if it does not involve fraudulent practice. You should not go directly to the credit card issuer; the problem can be addressed by calling or sending an email to your merchant. If a phone call or an email does not solve the issue, then send a letter to the seller. In your message, give an exact and detailed description of what happened. State in clear terms whether you are double-charged, overcharged, or another error. Duplicate the copy of the letter and try sending it again through a certified email.
Inform Your Credit Card Company
If the credit card issue is not a fraudulent one and you have notified your merchant, but it seems nothing is forthcoming, then you should get your bank involved. According to the FCBA, you are required to submit a written notice to the billing department of your bank within sixty days after the appearance of the charge on your credit card statement. A lot of banks allow their customers to submit disputes online. You are also required to supply copies of your receipts and other pieces of evidence of your transaction.
The creditors are required to send a letter of acknowledgment within thirty days after the receipt of your mail as mandated by the FCBA. The bank will issue a reversal of your transfer or a ‘chargeback’ if they agree with your claims. And, on the other hand, if the bank discovers that you owe the disputed amount, you will receive a notification letter to that effect, which will not exceed 90 days from the time your letter was received.
Keep Paying Your Bills
You should note that you are not under any obligation to pay the disputed charge or any related charges when the issue is under investigation. However, it is essential that you continue with the payment of your credit card bills for legitimate charges during this period.
Resolving Credit card issues doesn’t have to be a problem if you know how to go about it. With the right information, patience, and a good knowledge of your rights as a consumer, you can dispute a credit card charge successfully without any affecting your personal finances adversely.