How To Resolve a Credit Card Dispute

  • 4 min read

There are millions of credit card transactions that occur daily and are smooth and efficient. The purchases are processed, the charges are posted, and the payments are made without any trouble. Sometimes a dispute can arise that requires a resolution. It might be because there wasn’t enough information on the statement about a transaction or it might be because a customer is disputing that they even made the transaction.

Credit Card Terms You Need to Know in a Case of a Dispute

Copy Request: This occurs when a copy of a sales receipt is required during the investigation process into a disputed transaction.

Chargeback: This is the reversal of a credit card transaction. Chargebacks are usually between the merchant’s bank and the merchant. They can be requested by a credit card customer for transactions that were not made.

What Can Trigger a Chargeback?

Most chargebacks are initiated by a customer. They can be done in writing, but most credit cards have an online form that can be filled out to initiate the request. Authorization issues, a processing error, or even the refusal of a copy request can all result in a chargeback as well. From a customer standpoint, chargebacks are a way to protect an account from fraud. Retailers, on the other hand, can get chargebacks from simple administrative errors.

Preventing a chargeback is something that customers and retailers can work on together.

What Does the “Call” Command Mean?

Sometimes a credit card transaction will be attempted and instructions are given to call an authorization center. This often requires an operator to speak directly with a customer before a transaction can be completed. Retailers will not process a transaction until this conversation takes place because they won’t receive an authorization code for the sale.

As a customer, if you do need to speak with an authorization center and you do get the transaction authorized, make sure that you take down a copy of the authorization code as well.

Allow Only One Imprint of a Card

Some retailers might make an error on a transaction and need to start over after they’ve initiated an authorization. If this happens, do not allow the retailer to make more than one impression without voiding out the incorrect item and destroying the incorrect impression in front of you. Otherwise you may find a dual charge on your credit card and need to request a chargeback for the incorrect transaction

How to Dispute a Credit Card Purchase

While diligently scanning your credit card statement, a consumer might discover some charges that you have not made.

Here are a few tips for successfully disputing charges:

1. Timing

The best way to dispute charges is to dispute them swiftly. Most credit card companies cap the cardholder’s liability at zero if the charges are reported to the company soon after discovering them.  Disputing a charge with a lender might take a long time—several phone calls and correspondence, etc.  While the consumer might have been defrauded, retailers also have plenty of experience with consumers attempting to defraud them by claiming that charges that were made were not made by the consumer.

2. Stolen Card or Card Number

Call the credit card company immediately. Let them know in that first call that the card or card number has been stolen. Cancel that card immediately. Then, ask to be sent a new one as soon as possible. This is a good time to also ask that the company look closely at the account for a period of time in order to make sure that the thief has not taken the user’s identity.

3. Merchant Error

Under United States law, the consumer has sixty days from discovering the billing error to notify the credit card issuer of the error. This must be done in writing. It is a good idea to send this letter by certified mail with return receipt requested.

By following these chargeback rules, retailers and customers can work together to make sure that every transaction is accurate. Keep these guidelines in mind as you shop and act quickly if you see something suspicious.

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Christopher - BSc, MBA

With over two decades of combined Big 5 Banking and Agency experience, Christopher launched Underbanked® to cut through the noise and complexity of financial information. Christopher has an MBA degree from McMaster University and BSc. from Western University in Canada.