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5 Tips for Successfully Disputing Credit Card Charges

3 Apr, 2015

If you look at your credit card bill only to find that there is a charge that shouldn’t be there then the fix may be as easy as picking up the phone or writing a letter to your credit card company. However, in some cases it can be more complicated then that and may take several calls and more involved correspondence. In order to effectively argue a credit card charge it is crucial that you know the laws on credit and how it will affect you. The first question people must ask themselves is whether the charge was a billing error or credit card theft? Here are five steps that you should take in order to dispute an erroneous credit card charge.

1.  Unauthorized Use

If you believe your credit card information was stolen then you should immediately call your credit card company. By law you are only liable for the first $50 of credit card charges that aren’t authorized. However, the majority of credit card companies will not charge you a single cent for unauthorized use. If you think that someone has stolen your card or number then make sure you say that in the phone call, and arrange to have your card replaced.

2.  Merchant Error

If you believe that a charge on your credit card was caused by a mistake from a retailer then you should still make a call to your credit card company. You can also try straightening it out with the retailer or even call both in order to ensure the problem is fixed. The law gives you sixty days from when you first discover the error to when you can notify your credit card issuer of an error. Merchant errors include such problems as merchants double billing you or putting the wrong amount for a purchase on your card.

3.  Write to Your Credit Card Company

If you’ve already tried calling your credit card issuer about an erroneous charge and are still stuck with the billing error then it is best to then write them. In your letter summarize the phone conversation that you had, and the attempt to resolve the issue. Ensure that you include dates and names, and make it clear what you want your card issuer to do to resolve the issue. If you have any sort of proof that the charge isn’t yours then it is a good idea to provide it.


4.  Your Responsibilities and Rights

Once you’ve made your card issuer aware of the error then they must do an investigation and get back to you in no longer than two billing cycles. While your charge is being disputed you won’t have to pay it, however you still have to pay any amount that isn’t in question. Your credit card company won’t report you as paying your bill late to any of the credit bureaus and wont charge you any interest on the amount that is being disputed. If the dispute is resolved and is in your favor, then the issuer will cancel the charge and any interest that comes with it.

5.  Claims and Defenses

If a retailer made an error on your bill and you didn’t find it within a two-month period of it being on your statement then you can still assert claims and defenses. In order to do this you must not have paid the amount that is being disputed, and as long as your credit card balance has remained larger than the disputed amount you will be able to assert your claim. In order to do this you must speak to the merchant by phone or letter and outline the mistake that was made.