How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge: After You willingly Paid For it
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How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge: After You willingly Paid For it

Do you know you have the right as a consumer to dispute credit card charges under certain circumstances, including fraudulent activity and unauthorized purchases? This article is here to guide you on everything you need to know about filing a credit card charge dispute.

How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge: After You willingly Paid For it

Consumers are entitled to challenge a credit card charge, whether it was reported in error, deceptive in nature. or whether the retailer did not offer products or services acceptable to them.

It is best practice to challenge fraudulent charges immediately, but only file other types of disputes after an effort is made to resolve the issue with the merchant. You typically need to file a dispute within 60 days of the transaction.

However, the specific time frame will highly depend on the type of dispute you’re submitting.

Disputing a Credit Card Charge

Consumers can dispute fraudulent charges on their bill by calling their issuer. This is typically a quick process where the issuer will cancel the credit card in question and reissue a new one.

You also have the right to dispute a credit card charge for a purchase you willingly made. This can be done for a number of reasons, including services not rendered or dissatisfaction with services rendered.

For example, if you purchase something online that shows up broken, your credit card issuer can assist with getting your money back.

How to Dispute a Charge

The proper way to dispute a credit card charge varies based on why you’re disputing it. Here are two scenarios where the Fair Credit Billing Act dispute process may apply.

Type of dispute Time limit Contact method Your potential liability
Fraudulent charges Dispute within 60 days of the bill with the error being sent to you Mail $50
Billing error Dispute within 60 days of the bill with the error being sent to you Mail Varies based on issuer’s findings

Fraudulent Charges

Your liability for fraudulent or unauthorized charges on your credit card is limited to $50 under the Fair Credit Billing Act. But many card issuers have $0 liability policies, so you may not have to pay anything if your issuer has this type of policy and you have eligible unauthorized charges on your bill.

Also, if you get your credit card statement and notice charges you didn’t make, check first with any joint account holders or authorized users to see if they made the purchase.

If you discover that a charge is fraudulent, contact your credit card issuer immediately to report it. The issuer should cancel your card so that it can’t be used anymore and send you a new one with a different card number.

Billing Errors

The Federal Trade Commission states that you have the right to dispute charges based on the following:

  • Charges that list the wrong date or amount
  • Charges for goods and services you didn’t accept or that weren’t delivered as agreed
  • Math errors
  • Failure to post payments and other credits, like returns
  • Failure to send bills to your current address — assuming the creditor has your change of address, in writing, at least 20 days before the billing period ends
  • Charges for which you ask for an explanation or written proof of purchase, along with a claimed error or request for clarification

You can dispute credit card charges by writing a letter to your creditor. During the course of the investigation, you are not obligated to pay the charge in question, but you will have to pay the rest of your bill.

You must send the letter to your creditor within 60 days, and the law requires them to respond to you — in writing — within 30 days. The card issuer is also required to resolve the dispute within two billing cycles.

Additionally, if you disagree with the final decision, you have 10 days to indicate this.

However, at this point, the creditor is allowed to begin a collections procedure. If they also choose to report the incident to the credit bureaus, they must include a note that you don’t agree you owe the money.

Quality of Goods and Services

While the quality of goods or services doesn’t fall under the FCBA dispute process, the legislation still provides some protections for problems with the quality of the goods or services you’ve purchased with your credit card.

If there is a problem with a product or service you paid for with your card and you want to withhold or stop payment, you must make a good-faith effort to work it out with the merchant first.

If you’re unable to resolve the situation with the seller, you may be able to withhold the charge while your credit card company investigates the claim, if it meets the following requirements (with some exceptions).

  • The purchase must be more than $50
  • The purchase must have occurred in your home state or within 100 miles of your billing address

If your purchase meets these requirements, you can let your card issuer know that you want to stop or withhold payment on a product or service you received because you’re not satisfied with it while the card issuer investigates.

Be sure to include any proof you have that you tried to work things out with the merchant. This should help before you dispute the charge with the credit card company.

Read Also: Can You Go To Jail for Using a Credit Card Generator? Is it Illegal?

Paying for Disputed Charges

It is important that you do not pay for the disputed credit card charge. Contact your issuer immediately and inform them that you are working on resolving the issue.

During the course of the investigation, your creditor may lower your credit limit proportionally to the amount being disputed.

For example, if you are challenging a $500 credit card purchase and your credit limit is $2,000, the creditor may set your credit limit to $1,500 while that purchase is investigated.

Additionally, complaints about the quality of goods and services can only be made if the following are satisfied:

  • The transaction must exceed $50
  • Purchase must have been made in the same state as the consumer’s address, or within 100 miles of the address. This does not apply to online transactions
  • The consumer is required to make a “good faith attempt to obtain satisfactory resolution of a disagreement”

Furthermore, assuming you meet all of the above qualifications, you should send a letter to your creditor’s billing inquiries department. This address will be different from the one you use to send payments.

It’s best to use certified mail and ask for a return receipt so that you have proof your bank received it. The letter should include any and all supporting documentation, including a copy of any sales slips.

And also pictures of damaged goods, and any correspondences between you and the merchant.

Final Say

Before you begin a dispute, it’s important that you gather all information that would support your claim of unlawful charges. The more organized and prepared you are, the more likely you successfully remove the disputed charge.​​​​

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