Disputing a credit card charge can be a harrowing experience. First, you must deal with the issue that caused the charge that you are disputing and then you must deal with the credit card company to get the charge removed. Fortunately, the 1975 Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) protects your rights during credit card billing disputes and outlines the process you should follow to contest charges made to your account. Here are some tips that can make the process go smoothly.
Establish What The Issue Is
Before you begin to dispute a credit card charge, you must first identify the issue that caused the charge that you are disputing. Disputable charges include fraudulent or unauthorized use of your credit card, including issues where the card was stolen or the merchant charged unapproved items to your account; charges for goods or services you either did not accept or that weren’t delivered as agreed; charges that list the wrong date or amount; and math errors, such as being charged twice for a transaction. It is important to establish the issue quickly and contact the credit card company as soon as you can to prevent other charges from being added to your account.
Contact The Credit Card Company
Most disputed transactions must be reported within 60 days of the statement date on which the error appeared to be reimbursed in full for the disputed charges. If the issue cannot be corrected by the merchant, file a written report with your credit card company within the 60-day window. The credit card company is then obligated to investigate the dispute on your behalf and provide you with a written acknowledgement of your complaint within 30 days after receiving it. The credit card company then has two billing cycles to investigate the dispute and provide a resolution if anything is found to be in error.
Paying The Bill
During the investigation process, you may withhold payment of the disputed amount and any related charges, but you are still required to pay any part of the bill not in question, including finance charges on the undisputed amount. The card issuer may not take any legal or other action to collect the disputed amount and related charges during the investigation, but the disputed amount can be applied toward your credit limit. Many card issuers solve these issues by voluntarily removing the charge from your account until the matter is resolved. If the investigation finds that your bill contains a mistake, the creditor must send you an explanation in writing of the corrections that will be made to your account and remove all finance charges, late fees, or other charges related to the error.
Join our newsletter
Subscribe to get the latest "Engineer Your Finances" content via email.