Sunday, November 4, 2007

Disputing Credit Card Charges

If you are a credit card holder then knowing how to dispute a credit card charge is important. The reasons for disputing a charge could be many, you could have cancelled an order but still have been charged for it, a merchant could have charged you incorrectly, and worst of all you could be a victim of credit card fraud. In rare cases credit card companies might also make a billing mistake like charging incorrect APR or additional charges which should not have been charged. No matter what the reasons it’s important to know what you need to do to dispute a credit card charge.

The first thing you need to do is scrutinize your credit card statement. You need to check every single charge that has been made to your card, and if possible compare it with your credit card receipts. If you have not kept all your credit card receipts then double check all the charges made out to you. The moment you find a charge that is not correct or a charge you don’t recognize make a note of it and continue scanning the credit card statement. Once you have completed checking the credit card statement, start working on each disputable credit card charge one by one.

The second thing you need to do is get in touch with the merchant who has made the charge. Explain to the merchant that you have detected a charge that is incorrect and you would like the error fixed. In most cases merchants usually reverse the charges once they are convinced it’s their mistake. However if the merchant is adamant and refuses to reverse the charges then the next step is to get in touch with your credit card company.

Call your credit card company and explain to them that you want to dispute a credit card charge, usually companies require a card holder to fill out a form and send across the receipts of the disputed charge. If you have not kept any receipts explain this to your credit card company, and they will let you know what your options are. Once you have duly filled out all the forms and sent them to the credit card company allow the company 30 working days to get back to you with an answer. The maximum time period that you should allow a credit card company to get back to you is 30 days. If you do not get a resolution or response within 30 days, threaten the company with legal action, it works like a charm.

Make sure that you have done your best to locate the receipts for the disputed charges. Having receipts strengthens your case many times over, and the chances of the charges being reversed are very high. If you are denied a reversal and the credit card company determines that the charges are valid, don’t give up. You should make sure you have exhausted all possible avenues; make sure you speak to the credit card company regarding any further options that you might have to dispute the charges.
If you have found more than one unknown or unauthorized charge to your credit card, chances are that you are a victim of credit card fraud and you should speak to your credit card company regarding the same without a moment’s delay. Also remember that the maximum liability for unauthorized charges is $50, so even if you are charged for reversal of disputed charges the amount cannot exceed $50. However many credit card companies do not bother charging their customer the $50 either.

A very important thing to remember is that your first option should be disputing the credit card charges with the merchant. Only if the merchant refuses to give you a refund or reverse the charges should you go to the credit card company for a resolution. Also as a rule of thumb make sure you preserve all your credit card receipts till you receive your credit card statement.

Only once you have you received the credit card statement, and you are satisfied that the charges are correct should you dispose of your credit card receipts. Also it helps to be aware of the latest ways in which credit card fraud can occur so that you can nip the problem in the bud and not have to dispute any credit card charges due to credit card fraud.

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