Credit & Loans

Published on February 20th, 2014

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How to File a Dispute with Your Credit Card Company

If you’re having trouble canceling unwanted charges or getting a refund from a merchant, try contacting your bank or credit card company instead. They may be able to help you out or even reverse the charges.

Is your credit or debit card getting charged for something you didn’t want or that never arrived? Are you finding repeated monthly charges from negative-option offers on your statements for products or services you returned or tried to cancel? Consumers are protected by federal regulations. The Fair Credit Billing Act covers credit card transactions. Debit cards are covered under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. Consumers can also contact their credit card company or, if the charge relates to a debit card, they can contact their bank or financial institution.

Here’s  how to report a problem to your credit card company or financial institution.

  • Call your credit card company or financial institution and ask to dispute a charge. Some credit card companies will issue you a temporary credit refunding your money while they investigate the dispute. A bank or financial institution may also issue a temporary credit for the debit amount in dispute while it investigates the claim.
  • Keep a written record of all your actions and phone calls while trying to resolve the issue. Keep receipts and anything that will help you prove your case, and follow up by writing a letter to your credit card company or financial institution with that proof included.
  • If your credit card company completes the investigation and resolves the issue in your favor, it will issue a chargeback or reversal of charges so that you get your money back. In the case of a debit card, the financial institution will replace the deducted amount.

You can also fight a charge by contacting the merchant/creditor (i.e, the person or company who unfairly charged you). Here’s how:

  • Alert the creditor that you are disputing a charge by writing them a letter.  Include any proof you have the charge was not legitimate. Here’s an example of what to say.
  • Send your letter by certified mail, if possible. The creditor has to receive the letter within 60 days after you received the first disputed bill.
  • The creditor must respond with 30 days.
  • Within two billing cycles not to exceed a total of 90 days, the creditor must resolve the dispute.
  • Any creditor who fails to follow the settlement regulations may not collect the amount disputed.
  • If a creditor determines you are responsible for the charge, you can ask for a written explanation and the documents it used when making its determination. But you will be responsible for the charge and any interest that accumulated.
  • Still having trouble? Lawyer time!

For more information, see:

Disputing Credit Card Charges
Visa Chargebacks
Negative-Option Offers

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Recurring offers or subscriptions that continue to bill you until you take steps to shut down the account. These types of offers put the onus on the consumer to remember and to take action, allowing a company to keep gathering in cash from forgetful or busy customers. Be wary of these types of offers, and remember to stop services you no longer want.

A magical piece of plastic made by banks that is sent to your home (normally accompanied with countless pages of fine print disclosures) that allows you to buy virtually anything

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