If you have been in possession of a credit card for any real length of time, it’s quite possible that you have had some sort of charge to your card that you have had cause to dispute. It’s also quite possible that without the proper information, you have found yourself paying for something that you didn’t buy, for something that didn’t work, or for a package that you never received. These are all terribly unfortunate circumstances that can happen to the best of us because of something as simple as not knowing when or how to dispute a credit card charge. This article will make sure that you never have to pay unwarranted fees on your credit card again because of misinformation by teaching you when you can dispute a credit card charge and how best to go about doing so without your credit dropping like a rock.
Why to Dispute a Credit Card Charge
If you have ever found yourself in a position where you have found yourself needing to dispute a charge, you may not have thought that it would be worth the trouble. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If you don’t dispute the charge formally, then the options that you’re left with are either to pay the charge (but why pay for an item/service that you never received?) or to leave the charge unpaid, which will lower your credit score. The best thing to do is to get the issue sorted out properly so that you’re not charged unfairly and your credit will stay up.
When to Dispute a Credit Card Charge
A credit card charge is something that needs to be taken care of in a timely manner to get dealt with effectively, but there is also a time and a place for it. The first thing is to understand when it is appropriate for you to dispute a credit card charge at all. Consumers are allowed to withhold payment on items that they bought with a credit card if the items are damaged, poor quality, or if the charges themselves are completely invalid thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act. It is legal for you to withhold the payment for the specified merchant while you dispute a credit card charge.
While the payment should be withheld initially, before you begin to actually dispute a credit card charge, you should see if you are able to settle the conflict with the merchant who charged your card. As you do that, you’ll want to keep the following things in mind:
- Treat the people that you speak to calmly, politely and most importantly with respect. People are more likely to be helpful if you treat them with such courtesies and you don’t want to start off making trouble for yourself.
- If you’re buying from a retailer or any large company, they will most likely do their best to help you rather than cause trouble. If you’re addressing the issue in a timely and reasonable matter, they are likely to give you the benefit of the doubt and arrange for you to either get a replacement item or your refund.
- If you’re talking to an employee or representative and they are unable to help you, ask if you can speak to the manager (who will very likely be more able to assist you.)
- It’s always a good idea for you to keep a record of the interactions you have with the retailer or merchant in question just in case they don’t retract the charge and you find that you must dispute a credit card charge.
- If simply talking to the person who charged your credit doesn’t work, it will then be time for you to dispute your charge and seek further action.
How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge
If you have found yourself in a situation where you have no option but to dispute a credit card charge, then you’ll need to know how to go about it in a way that will give you the best chance of winning your case without damaging your credit. Don’t worry; disputing a charge may seem intimidating, but you may have more rights than you know which will lend you an advantage. Credit Card companies tend to side with their customers as well, so as long as you act quickly and responsibly you should have no trouble winning your dispute.
- Keep making card payments. Just because you’re disputing one charge doesn’t mean that you can or should ignore the other charges made to your card. Not making other payments will not only damage your credit, but put your credibility into question. It’s important to keep up with the payments on things that aren’t being disputed.
- Put your dispute into writing. If the initial conversation with the retailer/merchant does not get the charge revoked, then you will need to carry on contact in the form of written word. Be certain to make copies of the emails you send (and the replies) and send copies of them all to your credit company as well as saving one copy for your records.
- Send a letter to your Credit Card Company that officially states that you are disputing a charge. The letter must be sent within 60 days of you receiving the disputed charge, and should include your name, your account number, the charge being disputed and the amount it was for alone with any documentation you have to support your claim.
- From this point, the credit card company will investigate the dispute. If they side with the merchant/retailer, then you will have to pay the charge. If they side with you however, you will be rewarded with a refund.