Discovering an error on your credit card statement can be a big headache to resolve. Trust me: I'm currently working with Chase on a dispute where two of my linked credit cards on Amazon were charged for one purchase.
I called Chase to ask to have the erroneous charge removed, and the customer service representative informed me that I'm required to both dispute the charge over the phone and mail/fax proof that I used a card other than my Chase card to pay for the transaction.
All of this can be overwhelming, especially as time goes on. But if I don't handle it now, I could miss my chance for a refund.
Federal law only protects cardholders for a limited time — 60 days to be exact — after a fraudulent or incorrect charge has been made. Thankfully I noticed the billing error within a few days of it posting to my account and started the dispute process right away.
The next time you review your credit card statement, comb through it for any charges that seem out of place. If you notice a charge that isn’t familiar, confirm it’s inaccurate and dispute it.
There are two main types of credit card disputes: 1) billing errors and 2) complaints about the quality of goods and services. Here’s an overview of each type of issue, then a guide on how to dispute credit card charges.
Billing errors are one of the most common reasons why you’d want to initiate a dispute.
If you see a charge for a streaming service that you canceled or were charged for an online order that was never delivered, a dispute can help you get your money back.
The FTC provides these examples of billing errors:
Unauthorized credit card transactions are a form of fraud and also considered a billing error, according to the FTC. So if someone steals your physical credit card or skims your virtual card number, you can dispute the transaction.
Beyond billing errors, you may run into issues with the purchase of goods and services.
For instance, if you purchase a new mattress that comes ripped and the merchant doesn’t offer a repair or replacement, you'd have a case for a dispute. Or if you pay a deposit for a plumber to fix your sink and they don’t show and keep your money, this would also count.
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) has three requirements that must be met before you file a dispute about the quality of goods and services:
In cases of billing errors, unauthorized purchases and issues with goods and services, the FCBA caps the amount you're responsible to pay at $50. Many credit card issuers, like American Express and Chase, take the law a step further and provide cardholders with $0 fraud liability — so you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized transactions or issues with goods or services.
However, there’s a catch: you need to dispute charges within 60 days from when the purchase appeared on your statement. Since that’s a relatively small timeline, make sure you regularly review your credit card account for signs of billing errors. And if you have an issue with the quality of a purchase, act sooner rather than later.
In order to get your money back quickly, follow these five steps to dispute a credit card charge:
If the dispute is approved, your creditor will explain the corrections that will be made to your account, such as removing the charge.
If your dispute was denied, you’ll receive an explanation why and notice of how much you owe, which may include interest and fees that accrued during the dispute process. You can write back to the creditor within 10 days after receiving the denial and say you refuse to pay the disputed amount and explain your reasoning why. But this may cause the bill to be sent to collections and a delinquent account appearing on your credit report. However, the creditor must attach a note that states you don’t think you owe the money.
Submitting a credit card dispute can help you fix incorrect charges on your account, but it’s essential to act fast. The sooner you dispute a billing error or issue with the quality of goods and services, the quicker you’ll receive a resolution.