How to dispute a credit card charge
If you see an error on your credit card bill, chances are it’s just a mistake. Cases of fraud—when someone steals your card number and makes unauthorized charges—are far less common than simple human error. Still, if you wait too long to file a dispute, you could be on the hook for charges you never made.
Determine whether it’s error or fraud
To catch unusual or improper activity, it’s important to check your statements regularly. You should notify your credit card company when you detect both errors and fraudulent charges; however, the resolution processes are different.
If your card is stolen or used to make purchases, you need to deal with the unauthorized charges. You should contact your credit card company immediately to alert it to the fraudulent transactions and prevent further misuse.
Errors, on the other hand, might include being charged twice, or the wrong amount, for a purchase. You might have been charged for merchandise that was never delivered or for a service you canceled. Or you might not have been credited for an item you returned.
Notify the merchant
The simplest way to resolve a billing error may be to bring it to the attention of the merchant that made the charge. If you notice your card was accidentally swiped twice, for example, show the retailer or service provider the receipt, as well as your credit card statement. For online purchases, call or email the vendor and send copies of the relevant documents. In many cases, the merchant can cancel or reverse the charge. But you aren’t required to notify the merchant if you don’t want to. You could instead go directly to your credit card company to dispute the charge.
Keep your paperwork
To resolve a billing error swiftly, you may need to provide your credit card company with paperwork to support your claim. If so, make photocopies of any receipts and credit card statements related to the dispute and keep the originals.
Contact the credit card company
To preserve your right to dispute a billing error, you need to reach out to your credit card company in writing within 60 days of the closing date of the statement in which the error appeared. Bank of America customers can alternately contact the bank online through the bank website, or by phone to have their dispute investigated; however, only mailed inquiries will preserve their billing rights.
You should have the following information and materials on hand when you contact your
credit card company:
- Your name and credit card number
- The dollar amount and date of the suspected error
- The name of the merchant/vendor as it appears on your receipt or billing statement
- A description of the error and an explanation of why you believe there is an error
- Details of any attempts to resolve the problem with the merchant
- A list of all receipts and statements related to the dispute
To assist in filing a claim, you should explain the billing mistake that’s been made, request that
the error be corrected, and describe the information and materials you have to support your claim.
Make sure you receive a reply
The credit card company must send you a letter within 30 days resolving or acknowledging receipt of your complaint. Once your claim is received, the company has two complete billing cycles, not to exceed 90 days, to determine whether the charges were in error. If your dispute is upheld, you are notified by mail or via your online account that the charge is being refunded. If not, the credit card company explains why it denied the claim.
The company cannot report the contested amount as delinquent while the charge is being investigated. However, the company can count the amount toward your credit limit. If your dispute is upheld, any interest accrued on that amount is refunded. The credit card company also refunds any fees assessed on the transaction.
Remember, the majority of mistakes you may encounter are simple human error. The steps above can help you achieve a smooth resolution.