IF YOU BELIEVE AN incorrect charge has been made with your credit card, you should dispute the transaction.
Disputing a charge is not difficult, but there are steps to take before contacting your credit card issuer, including making sure the charge is inaccurate and reaching out to the merchant to correct it.
The Fair Credit Billing Act, or FCBA, offers protections to consumers against billing errors. Wondering how to dispute a charge? Here’s what you need to know.
Verify the Transaction
The first step in disputing a charge is to make sure the charge truly is wrong. “Before you go and file a dispute with your credit card provider, make sure you understand the charge,” says Rebecca Gramuglia, personal finance expert for cash back website TopCashback.com.
The charge could be an example of an error or fraud, or it could be a legitimate transaction that you forgot. For example, an auto-renewal charge for a service like Pandora or Amazon Prime can catch consumers off guard.
“It’s always smart to go back in your tracks and ensure that this in fact needs to be disputed,” Gramuglia says.
Some reasons to dispute a credit card charge are:
- You didn’t authorize the transaction. If a charge from a vendor you don’t recognize shows up on your credit card statement, dispute it as quickly as possible.
- You were overcharged. If you were charged more than your receipt reflects, it’s possible someone entered the amount incorrectly – or intentionally overcharged you. In either case, you should contest the charge with the merchant first.
- You were charged more than once. Getting double-charged for a product or service is pretty common and may be resolved with a call to the merchant.
- What you bought didn’t come as advertised – or at all. While it can take more effort to contest a purchase that arrives damaged or isn’t delivered as agreed, it can be a valid reason to dispute a charge.
- You have buyer’s remorse. Credit cards make it easy to purchase something you can’t afford, but regretting that $350 Bluetooth headphones purchase is not a valid reason to dispute the charge. If you really can’t afford it, check whether you can return the item rather than disputing the charge.
- You’re unhappy with a purchase made by an authorized user. If an authorized user of your credit card makes a purchase he or she can’t afford, you may be tempted to dispute the charge to avoid paying it. However, neither merchants nor credit card companies will consider this a valid reason to dispute the charge. “Remember to ask any other authorized user on your account to verify that they didn’t make a purchase without your notice,” Gramuglia says.
Before getting into a credit card dispute, wait until the unfamiliar charge actually posts to your account. Some pending charges will correct or disappear before they’re posted to your account. Hotels and gas stations, for example, often place an initial charge on your credit card to request authorization for the transaction from your bank. Pending restaurant charges typically don’t include the tip you added and may appear lower than you expect at first…..Read more>>