How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge
Whether you receive the monthly statement in the mail or online, it is important to carefully go through all the charges each month to verify that you have authorized every purchase.
You may think it will never happen to you because you keep your credit card safe, but the most common causes of fraudulent charges happen with the consumer being unable to prevent it from happening.
Security breaches where banks and merchants have experienced credit card numbers being compromised are rare, but they do happen from time to time. In some cases the credit card issuers realize what has happened and will automatically issue a new credit card.
Your credit card details and even the magnet stripe can easily be copied if you leave your credit card out of sight for just a short period of time. One of the few places where you lose sight of the card is at restaurants. The waiter will usually process the transaction at a terminal in the back and it is impractical to follow the waiter to make sure card information is safe. Cardadvantages recommends that you use a separate card for restaurant purchases, which will serve two purposes. You benefit from using a rewards credit card that offer higher rewards at restaurants and fraudulent charges are easily detected as the locations are easily recognizable and the transactions are kept to a minimum.
When your credit card application is approved you are instantly protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act against unauthorized charges. Your responsibility is limited to $50, but it is not unusual for a card issuer to offer $0 liability.
To take advantage of this protection, you must follow a few guidelines in the dispute process. You need to contact the creditor at their address listed for billing inquires and describe the billing error. Include your name, address and account number in this letter.
Your letter must reach the creditor within 60 days after you received the statement that included the error.
The card issuer is required to acknowledge the claim within 30 days from receipt, unless the dispute has already been resolved. The card issuer must resolve the dispute within the lesser of two billing cycles or 90 days after receiving your letter.
Credit Card Bill Payment
In an ongoing dispute you still need to make the payment by the due date; however you can deduct the disputed amount and related charges during the investigation. Your credit limit is most likely affected during the process by the amount in question.
If you have a legitimate dispute, the card issuer is very likely to side with you and remove the charge. Not only do they want to keep you as a customer, but they are also required to be able to prove that it is not a billing error.
Credit Card Rating
The card issuer is not allowed to report you as delinquent during the dispute process. The card issuer is allowed to report that a bill is being challenged, but you cannot be denied credit for that reason. Check your credit report during and after the dispute is settled to make sure the card issuer has reported correctly and the credit rating has not been affected.