How do I dispute a credit card purchase?

There is always a risk involved when a purchase is made. Whether you make a credit card purchase over the phone, over the Internet, or in a store, you should know how to dispute a credit card purchase. With ever increasing access to purchase anything you need from anywhere in the world, comes risk and reward. Here are some tips to keep in mind should you find yourself with a less than perfect purchase.

Understand Credit Card Law

When you use a credit card, the law is on your side and you can use it to your advantage. Paying with cash or debit card may be convenient, but this does not come with the protection of the law. Use credit wisely, but using your credit card for any over the Internet or over the phone purchases is very important. It can be equally important to use a credit card while shopping in a store as well.

Any purchase made with a credit card is covered under the Fair Credit Billing Act. If you make a purchase and find the item to be damaged or poor quality, the Fair Credit Billing Act gives you the right to withhold your payment. The law requires you to first attempt to return the item or make other arrangements with the merchant. At least one attempt should be made, if not more.

There are a few regulations to the law. The sale has to be for more than $50 and has to have been made within 100 miles of your home. This law has not yet caught up with the ever growing Internet and phone purchasing that now makes up for over half of the purchases in the United States. Because of this, most credit card companies will waive the two restrictions. You can find out more information about his law at the Federal Trade Commission website.

Make the Credit Card Company Work for You

Remember that the credit card company wants you as a customer. They receive millions of dollars from interest payments, yearly fees, late payment fees, and over the limit fees. Though you are technically just a drop in the bucket, they don’t want to lose your business. You can use this to your advantage.

If a credit card company will not waive the amount and distance restriction, ask to speak to a supervisor. Typically one or two supervisors up the line and you should receive what you are asking for. If you have a clean credit history and payment history, remind the company what a good customer you are and tell them you would like to continue with them, but you need assistance.

Another thing that credit card companies know is that if you do leave them and transfer your balance there are at least a dozen other companies ready to snatch you up and take over your credit card habits. It is always good to keep a few recent junk mail credit card offers handy so you can specifically tell your current company what another company may be willing to do for you (or of course use our free credit card finding tool on our home page to find and compare multiple credit card offers). These specifics may just tip the scales in your favor.

As the customer, you can ask the credit card company to do the work for you. Most companies will automatically credit the disputed amount until the issue is resolved so that you don’t miss a payment. It is important to know that once you pay your credit card bill, you give up the right to dispute the purchase.

Ask your credit card company to call the merchant for you and do the negotiating. They are good at it and most merchants want to keep credit card companies happy. They often have authority you do not and may know if a merchant has many complaints filed against them. If the amount is small, they may settle it amongst themselves.

Keep Good Records

Through this whole process, keep a paper trail. Write down when you tried to return your product, who you spoke with, what they said, etc. You should always keep your original paperwork, receipts, warranties, and promises made in writing. Also, when an employee of a company knows that you are writing down what they say, they may be more apt to me honest and fair.

Also keep track of who you spoke with at your credit card company and what they told you would be done about your situation. Ask for specific dates and call back to make sure they did what they told you they would do. Most credit card telephone operators have operator ID numbers. You should ask for both names and operator id numbers so you have a complete list of what transpired.

To compare which credit cards offer extra purchase protection, you can use the free credit card “Chaser” tool on the home right now. This tool can help you compare what different credit cards have to offer so you can find the one that works best for you. Click here to start comparing credit cards now!

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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or any other credit card company or issuer. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any credit card company or issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any credit card company or issuer. Credit Card Chaser may be compensated through various affiliate programs with advertisers. As always, Credit Card Chaser is an independent website commmitted to helping people research credit card offers and find the best credit card!