How You Should Dispute A Credit Card Charge
Credit cards are in daily use and an important financial tool for many Americans. Data shows that 71 percent of Americans have at least one credit card, and the Federal Reserve Payments Study 2016 found that the number of credit card payments reached 33.8 billion in 2015
With so many transactions, it’s inevitable that some consumers will need to dispute certain charges. Which is why it’s important for all cardholders to know how to dispute a charge.
When Would You Dispute a Charge
If you’re unhappy with a recent purchase, it’s common practice to request a refund. Sometimes this is a simple process but not always
If the merchant refuses to honor your request, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company. Disputing a charge makes sense in certain scenarios. Here are a few examples
- Billing error: Mistakes happen and occasionally, the merchant may overcharge on your purchase. For instance, you ordered a new laptop but were charged for two instead.
- Fraud: If someone gains access to your credit card and spends money without your permission, you have the right to dispute the charges. Just make sure it’s truly a case of fraud and that the purchases weren’t made but another authorized user.
- A problem with the product: You just ordered a new TV. Once it’s delivered, you notice the screen is cracked. You should be able to dispute that charge with your credit card company
Keep in mind, you may be able to work things out with the merchant whenever possible. Take the time to ask them for a refund before trying to dispute the charge with your credit card company.
How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge
Once you’ve checked your statement and decided to dispute the charge, it’s time to contact the card provider. If it’s a case of fraud, your credit card company may be willing to remove the charge immediately.
According to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, you cannot be held liable for more than $50 in fraudulent charges. However, most banks have a “no liability” feature on all their credit cards.
But if it’s a non-fraud dispute, as in poor service or overcharging, there is a more formal process you will need to undergo. Once you receive your statement, you have up to 60 days to contact your card provider in writing and dispute the charges.
Once the credit card provider receives your letter, they have 30 days to respond to your request. They are required to resolve the issue within two billing cycles. But if you’re still unhappy with the outcome, you have 10 days to let your card provider know.
Does the Dispute Process Differ Between Companies?
Now that you understand the general process for disputing a charge, let’s look at how this process differs among the major credit card companies.
- Bank of America: Bank of America won’t charge any fees or interest on the disputed charge. In the meantime, you can track the status of the dispute in your Online Banking Message Center.
- American Express: American Express follows the same procedure listed above. You can submit your dispute online and American Express will investigate the situation further. Their website states that most cases are resolved within a month, though complex situations may take longer.
- Discover: Discover follows the process outlined above and will contact you by mail or email once the situation is resolved. You can continue to use your card while they investigate the charge
- Chase: If you have a billing or quality issue, Chase lets their customers submit a dispute on their website. For suspected cases of fraud, Chase asks that customers call them immediately.
- Capital One: Capital One recommends that customers try to work things out with the merchant first. For non-fraudulent cases, Capital One can take up to 90 days to resolve the claim.
- Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo offers Zero Liability Protection, so members are never responsible for fraudulent charges. For other issues, you can initiate a dispute with Wells Fargo on their website.
The Fair Credit Billing Act gives consumers the right to dispute inaccurate credit card charges. So there’s no reason to worry about disputing a fraudulent or inaccurate charge. If you have a legitimate claim, then you have a right to dispute the charges.
If you’re dissatisfied with your purchase, try to work things out with the merchant first. They may be willing to issue a refund. If not, gather any evidence that will support your claims and present it to your card provider.
By Andrew, a Content Associate from LendEDU – a website dedicated to consumer education regarding all things personal finance.