Credit Card Articles

How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge

22 September 2009 by CreditCardsCo™

Surveys show that the average American will not dispute credit card charges unless they amount to substantial sums. Contacting your creditor to dispute a credit card charge is not only your right but something you should do. Non-payment could lead to a decline in your credit score even when such charges are disputable without the creditor being informed. Disputing a credit card charge is almost as important as paying off your monthly balance in time. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act, credit cardholders can dispute monies charged to their accounts if they believe it was done in error. The specific situation to warrant a disputed charge greatly differs on the actual scenario, for example, returning a piece of merchandise to the departmental store from where it was purchased, or purchases you are quite sure of not making.

Steps to dispute a credit card charge:

  1. Write to your creditor

Calling a customer service representative isn't enough when disputing bank charges. The reason is there's no law that requires creditors to take action from phone submissions. The ideal thing is to send a dispute letter to your creditor stating your claim with documents of evidence if possible (be sure to keep original copies.) Include details such as your name, address, and account number. Dispute letters must be sent within 60 days of receiving the billing statements with the error.

  2. Sending the Letter

Make sure to send a dispute letter to the mailing address specified by your creditor as for that purpose. If you're not sure of the address call a customer representative and ask for it. The mailing address in the case may coincide with that to which you sent payments but this isn't always the case. It's advisable to use certified mail with return receipt so you'll know the letter has been received by your creditor.

A creditor must to confirm receipt of dispute letters within 30 days of receipt. Once a dispute letter is received, the creditor ideally would take a look into your situation and send a letter stating its findings after an investigation is carried out. In case of a favorable finding, your credit would correct the bill and restore any administrative charges related to the charge in question (for example, late fees). If the investigation find your claim to be incorrect, your creditor will write stating why the charge is correct as well as stating explanatorily the reason for the charge.

What happens next…

Between the time you send a dispute letter and await a response from your creditor, it is not required to pay off such disputed charges and you shouldn't be charged any consequential fees once the result of an investigation is declared. A creditor may not send negative information regarding the charges to the credit bureau before informing deciding the outcome of a disputed charge. If such negative information has been sent, the creditor must inform the credit bureau of the dispute and whether its investigation proved the disputant right or wrong. It must also inform the cardholder which credit bureaus such information has been sent to.

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