How to File a Credit Card DisputeJune 8, 2011
You’ve read our past blogs on identity theft and know the importance of monitoring not only your annual credit report, but your monthly credit card statements. While conducting your monthly due diligence, a charge on your credit card statement pops out at you. You don’t remember making that charge. What should you do? First, you should know your rights as a consumer.
Under certain circumstances, the Fair Credit Billing Act allows you to dispute a credit card purchase or to withhold payment for a purchase. Disputes must typically be sent to the credit card company in writing within 60 days of the statement date. While disputing a charge, you won’t have to pay the contested amount, nor will you incur interest on it. (However, if you lose the dispute, the credit card company can charge you for back interest.) Of course, you won’t have to file a dispute if you can work things out with the merchant, so try that first. Many merchants are happy to reverse mistaken charges, but in cases of undelivered merchandise or a recurring fee, it may not be so easy.
In those cases where the merchant won’t budge, be careful how you classify your credit card dispute. You tend to get more protection under an “unauthorized transaction” dispute, which can often be filed by phone and is not limited to the 60-day filing requirement. If a merchant charges you too much for services or can’t explain what the services are for, that qualifies as an unauthorized transaction more than a billing error. After all, you didn’t authorize charges at that level, did you? And if you know nothing about an erroneous charge, request proof of purchase.
The credit card company must respond to your letter within 30 days. They must investigate your dispute within 90 days, and then provide either a proof of purchase, a reversal of the charges, or an explanation why the charges will stand.
If you’re unhappy with the dispute’s outcome, you still have options to recover your money. Filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or your state attorney general can yield positive results in a hurry. Filing a lawsuit is another option.
If you choose to pursue a lawsuit stemming from a credit card dispute, the professionals at Hornberger & Brewer can help. Our experienced attorneys have an excellent reputation for successful representation in credit cards dispute actions. We understand the process, know how to present a persuasive case, and will work hard to get you the money you deserve. For more information about how Hornberger & Brewer can help with your credit card dispute action, visit our website.
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