Disputing Credit Card Charges

by : Leo Chu

Unlike a stolen credit card, an unauthorized or wrongly billed amount is not limited to a $50 liability. As a matter of fact unless you take steps and dispute a credit card charge, the credit card company assumes that you accept the charges and are willing to pay the charges. There can be a variety of reasons for an incorrect amount being charged to your credit card, the first could be that the merchant has made a billing mistake, the second could be that a family member has used the credit card without your knowledge and the worst case scenario, it could be that someone has stolen your identity and is using an add on card to make purchases. In any event it is important to dispute these charges the moment you spot a discrepancy in your card statement.

The first thing you should do is write down every single charge made to your credit card that does not belong to you or is wrongly charged. It is important to sit down and study every new credit card statement religiously. Once you spot an incorrect charge the simplest thing to do is to write it down, instead of getting to work straight away make sure that you analyze the complete statement. Once you have isolated all the incorrect charges make sure that they are do not belong to a family member.

Another thing to note is, if you have made internet purchases the transaction might appear differently on your credit card statement, for example if you shopped with xyz.[com], the charge on the card statement might show as ABC info systems. This is because the merchant account is not in the name of the website but in the name of the company that made the website. Make sure you analyze the statement thoroughly so that you don't have some genuine charges listed as disputable charges. It is prudent to keep a printed receipt of all internet transactions so you can compare the date and time of the transaction with the disputable charge on your credit card statement.

Once you are sure that the incorrect charges on your credit card are probably a merchant error the first thing you should do is get in touch with the merchant. Instead of going to the credit card company, first contact the merchant and let him know about the error. In most cases merchants accept their mistakes and usually reverse the charges. Sometimes merchants do not agree to reverse the charges, in such cases the next step is to get in touch with the card company.

Call up the credit card company's customer services and let them know that you want to dispute a charge. The customer care agent usually asks you for the transaction ID, the date of the transaction and also the nature of the dispute. Once you let the customer care executives know the charges you want to dispute they usually send out a couple of forms for you to fill out. The 'dispute forms' require you to write down in detail the nature of your dispute, and if possible require a copy of the receipt of the transaction.

Once you have sent the necessary paperwork to the credit card company allow the company a 30 day period to get back to you with an adequate response. If the card company does not get back to you in 30 days, refuse to pay the charges and threaten legal action. If you are turned down the first time, don't worry get in touch with your card company and find out what options you have to further dispute the charges. Sometimes persistence pays off.

A word of caution, if you find more than one unauthorized payment on your credit card chances are that your identity has been stolen. In such cases you should get in touch with your credit card without any delay. Let them know that you feel that your card is being misused without your knowledge. By letting the card company know that you're in fact the victim of fraud you can make sure that your liability is limited and the credit card company cannot charge you more than $50.