Credit cards are very convenient and safe. However, occasionally an incorrect purchase may be made to your credit card or an accounting error will be made on your credit card bill. If this happens, consumers should report and attempt to resolve the disputed charge as soon as possible.
The first step in disputing an incorrect charge or an error on your credit card bill is to notice it. You should always look at every charge on your credit card bill each month. Sometimes fees are added as separate transactions against your credit card. For instance, if you book a flight with an airline company, a baggage fee or travel insurance may appear as a separate charge against your credit card. By methodically reviewing your bill every month, you can quickly discover problems with the billing. If you have a problem with a charge, you have several options at your disposal to correct the bill.
1) Contact the Merchant: The easiest way to resolve a disputed charge to your card is to contact the merchant and ask them for a refund on the charge. Most merchants will quickly attempt to resolve the disputed charge in order to keep a good customer relationship with you.
2) Request a Charge-back: In cases where you cannot resolve the dispute by requesting a refund from the merchant, you can report the disputed charge to your credit card company and request they do a charge-back to the merchant. The disputed amount will be credited back to your account.
3) Arbitration: If a disputed charge cannot be resolved either through the merchant or through your credit card company, you may need to go into arbitration. If you read the terms of your credit card, you should find information on how to proceed with arbitration. Most credit card terms specify arbitration as a lawsuit alternative.
4) Lawsuit: If you are unable to resolve the disputed charge through any of the previous methods, you may need to contact a lawyer and proceed with a lawsuit. Obviously, the legal costs of pursuing a lawsuit could be very expensive, so you would need to decide if the cost is worth the disputed amount.
Regardless of how you attempt to resolve your dispute, you should always keep all pertinent paperwork. You should maintain the original copies of receipts in a safe place and provide copies if requested. Also, you should report inaccurate charges and errors as soon as you find them on your monthly bill. The sooner you begin the dispute process, the more likely you will have a favorable outcome.
If you are unable to correct a disputed charge to your credit card on your own, you might be able to get help from a government agency or from your local Better Business Bureau. Fortunately, most disputed charges to credit cards are resolved quickly by either the merchant or the credit card company in a manner favorable to the consumer.
Incorrect charges and errors rarely occur, but when they do, you should not be afraid to challenge the charge. By keeping all receipts and reporting the error quickly, you significantly increase the odds that the disputed charge will be removed from your bill or refunded by the merchant.
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