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How to dispute charges through your credit card

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about my epic ordeal canceling Sprint service and moving to Cingular (because of reception in a new house):

But then they told me my account had a $160.00 charge. For what, I asked? Wait for it…

“An early cancellation fee.”

Yeah, right. I knew I didn’t have a contract, and I had negotiated out of an early cancellation fee a long time ago. Cellphone companies make a lot of money from trying these shady moves, hoping customers will get frustrated, give up, and just pay.

[…]

As soon as I read these notes out loud, I witnessed a miraculous change in her ability to waive the fee. Within 2 minutes, my account was cleared and I was off the phone. Amazing!!!!! Thank you madam!!!

See the full article: Sprint tries to rip Ramit off? Oh my.

But here’s the clincher: Although I thought I was done dealing with them–and they told me they wouldn’t charge me–they did it anyway.

By this point, I was so fed up that I called in the big guns.

Many people don’t know that your credit card offers you excellent consumer protection. This is one of the reasons I encourage everyone to make major purchases on their credit card (not cash or debit).

I called my credit card and told them I wanted to dispute a charge. They said, “Sure, what’s your address and what’s the amount?” When I told them, they instantly gave me a temporary credit for the amount, and told me to mail in a form with my complaint.

I did so, including my notes and everything. 2 weeks later, the complaint was totally resolved–in my favor. In other words, that temporary credit became permanent, and I didn’t have to pay. Sprint had to eat the cost. And rightfully so, those jackasses.

What happens in disputes like this is that the credit card will go fight the merchant for you (it works with all major credit cards). This is the 1st or 2nd time I’ve ever had to do this, so I recommend waiting for something major. But in the case of Sprint, which had consistently lied, I was tired of it and decided to let the credit card company handle it. Keep this in mind for future purchases.

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51 Comments on "How to dispute charges through your credit card"

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Ravi Char
10 years 7 months ago
Do you think credit card companies will risk merchant’s ire by fighting them all the time? Once had to go through the same script with AMEX in a dispute against a lousy long distance provider (merchant). I got the credit back after a lot of hide and seek. The way I won was by investing my time 🙁 (because I wanted to teach lousy merchant a lesson). I repeated the dispute process 3 times and the lousy long distance provider gave up. Every time AMEX checked with the merchant, the merchant responded stating that the charge was valid and AMEX… Read more »
KJT
KJT
11 months 29 days ago

I had the same experience with AMEX AND I was shocked. I thought they were the TOP OF THE credit cards when it comes to disputes. Well today there is a $220 charge from Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia. Oh man when I saw this I thought I am sick, I don’t have the energy. In the past you could just notify AMEX and they would deal with it. Now you have to MAIL in documents and it is a long process. Yea from AMEX!!!

Tark
Tark
10 years 7 months ago

You can do this directly on the American Express website. I’ve disputed many charges in the past (over 10) and once I even received additional money back that was labeled “class action” on my statement. I agree, don’t waste your time arguing on the phone when your credit card company will do it for you.

Bruce Kroeze
10 years 7 months ago

Interestingly enough, this did not work for me on a measly little $9.95 charge fraudulently applied to my Bank Of America CC by scammers. I’m stunned, especially after I spent a half hour(!) on the phone with them filing the complaint. I filed the complaint Dec 9, and as of two days ago, it was still not refunded.

I blogged about this issue heavily on my website, http://fearlessmoney.com

Carissa
6 months 16 days ago

Please tell me how I can get this stupid website to stop taking my money out of my bank account. I checked them out ONE TIME and they made me check my credit on their website, charged me $1 and hasn’t stopped since. I am now overdrawn by over $100! And I fear my bank is also taking money for an “overdrafted fee”. I have no money in my account right now. I’ve called the credit website I checked my score on and they won’t let me stop using their website nor will they pay back what they’ve taken.

Sripathi
Sripathi
10 years 7 months ago
Ramit, maybe you or your blog readers can help me in my situation. I signed up with SBC DSL on Oct 28 when they had this $14.99 promotion going. I was connected only towards the last week of Nov because of the phone number transfer etc. Since Nov 1, their rates had shot upto $16.99. SBC now bills me for $16.99 even though I signed up befor e the other deal expired. When I call them they tell me that there are no ‘notes’ in their system that I signed up when I did and they refuse to even hear… Read more »
Jay Gatsby
Jay Gatsby
10 years 7 months ago

I’ve protested quite a few charges to both my MasterCard and American Express cards, and in each case I’ve been successful. In one case, I had been overcharged by the Palms in Vegas, and after disputing the charge, having it removed, the Palms re-charging my card (twice), American Express agreed to eat the charge itself rather than risk losing a customer. I guess casinos won’t quit when it comes to money (even where it’s more expensive to keep fighting), but credit card companies know where the economic “line” is in handling customer disputes.

Cap
10 years 7 months ago

I would suggest you to call back and try another CSR. it’s all in the manner of how you talk to them. eventually you should reach a helpful customer service rep.

is the DSL plan a 1 yr contract? because if not, you can always do the “okay cancel my service” routine and go from there.

its a shame that you may have to spend quite a bit of time just to get them to honor their prices.

Gregory
Gregory
10 years 7 months ago

Regarding your encouragement to use a credit card, debit cards must provide the same protection as credit cards. The advantage with that is that you can now make purchases without going into debt just to be “protected”.

Mike
Mike
11 months 24 days ago

False. Debit cards do not offer the same level of advantages. Even if they protect you, they do not reverse the charge until you have won your dispute. If you do not have any self control then cut up your credit cards and do not use them otherwise they are far superior to debit cards.

Cap
10 years 7 months ago
well with a debit card you are usually dealing with your bank, as to credit card.. you may have the support of a national cc issuer. they both can be the same, of course. but you should realize that doing a chargeback via a debit card is different than doing it with a credit card. I never make large ticket purchase with a debit card.. with a cc purchase you really do get more protection, not to mention the benefits associated with the card (warranty extension, buyer protection, etc. etc.) course I know what youre talking about too, responsible credit… Read more »
Roberta
10 years 7 months ago
Normally, if you call your credit card company, they will do a chargeback. This automatically freezes the funds so that the merchant has no access to the money. My mom had a dispute once with true.com, where they billed her debit card even after she canceled the service. First, they preyed on her because they thought she was an unknowing consumer. I got on the line and advised them that we’d do a chargeback with the credit card company, and they immediately corrected the issue. Large companies assume that the little guy doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And they… Read more »
Bill
Bill
10 years 7 months ago

Sprint may get that chargeback and add it back to your “account” as money you owe them. So you aren’t necessairily in the clear yet. You still need to resolve the charge with them, lest you wind up with a collections agency knocking on your door.

Catherine Hooper
Catherine Hooper
10 years 7 months ago

As a retailer, I can attest to the fact that credit card companies are absolutely on the consumer’s side in these mattters. In any case of mistake or fraud, the cc companies place a huge burden of proof on the business that puts through the charge. So do dispute anything unfair.

Jared Iverson
10 years 6 months ago

I just went through this same ordeal. Execulogo, an online logo design company we were using for our start-up company, delivered super crappy work. They had a money back gaurantee, but when I tried to get our money back they just ignored me. After a month of trying I contacted my cc company and now I have my money back.

Greg
Greg
10 years 3 months ago

Had a fradulent parking charge added to my hotel bill in NYC ($37/day at Hotel Pennsylvania). After two weeks of stalling tactics by the hotel, I finally wised up and called Discover. The hotel didn’t dispute the reverse charge.

Kit Langstroth
Kit Langstroth
10 years 3 months ago
I purchased an entire package of stock investing classes through a company called Teach Me To Trade. $20,000 worth that included a mentoring program. They had a 3 day cancellation policy that I signed. Long story short, The mentoring program did not include any phone support. I battled with Teach Me To Trade and they said the phone support was $3,500 extra. I was livid to think there wasn’t one person with stock trading knowledge I could call and of course it took almost 1 month to find all of this out after getting the run around. The 3 day… Read more »
David Santo
10 years 19 days ago
My experience with VISA. (Long history sort) A projector bought by Internet. One month later, I was said that they can not bring me. Bought cancelled. Several months later, the VISA is charged with the no-sent projector. I call VISA, and they say that it is my problem, not theirs. I press to the company that wrongly charged the projector and to VISA. The money is charged on my card, and at the end of the month the money is charged on the associated bank account. The official position of VISA was _always_ that it is not their problem. The… Read more »
Cynthia
Cynthia
9 years 11 months ago
I do agree that there are some charges definitely worth fighting for. On the other hand, my cousin owns an online store and tells me terrible stories about people. People will order an item and he ships it out. Then a day later they want to cancel the order even after they have already received the tracking number. He tells them it has already shipped and they can return it for a refund less shippping cost. They don’t want to pay for return shipping so they refute the CC charges. They always favor the consumer and immediately reverse the charges.… Read more »
alex
alex
9 years 11 months ago
feel good about your refund all you want, but the only real winner in the larger picture is VISA, MC, AMEX, etc and their issuing banks. They add more and more protection over time to the customers at the expense of merchant, convincing customers that buying with CC is the right thing to do. Well, now that CCs are obiquitous, merchants must accept them–but merchants must agree to bear all fees etc, and be at a disadvantage to the customers because of CC protection. Everytime a CC user files a charge back, the merchant gets charged $20-$50 no matter who… Read more »
I. Walter Jones
9 years 10 months ago
All that talk about banks, and card card companys. Until Americans with credit cards start cutting them up and sending the cut up credit cards back and start using cash or money orders the banks and credit card companies will continue suck your money in interest. What happen to good old cash. Too many middle class Americans are trying to keep up with the Joneses by using credit cards. Wake up middle class, wake up. Become savers and stack up on cash money and stop making the banks and credit conpaines richer. It up to you middle class America if… Read more »
Mike
Mike
11 months 24 days ago

Ummm… No. Use your credit cards because it makes YOU richer.

Don’t go into debt. But use your credit cards. Only people who are ignorant or bad with their money should not use credit cards.

jambhu
jambhu
9 years 7 months ago

one more thing about sprint.

they try to make sure, you dont have a written trail of communication between you and them. they will also make sure the “chat” with sprint representative is never working.

FERN FAULKENSTEIN
FERN FAULKENSTEIN
9 years 7 months ago

I am in a full scale revoult attack against SPRINT for all out Ganster Style Tactics of Corralling by, surveys to collect, give you a SPRINT plan, billing and the dubious thoughts of credit damage if you donot comply. I want restitution, not just complaining for the eight months and twenty days of hell I’ve been through with them.

joan simmons
9 years 6 months ago

how long do you have to dispute a charge & is it different with credit card vs debit cards?

Sll
Sll
8 months 9 days ago

Per regulation E, you have 60 days from the date the charge first appears on your statement. This is why it is very important to at least open and review your statements monthly. If you wait until after the 60 days the bank or cc company does not have to provide you credit and you can be held responsible for the charges.

lilly hanson
lilly hanson
9 years 6 months ago

I bough used furniture from Habitat store and never picked it up and it didn’t leave the store. I went back to them to cancel the transaction but they refused as their receipt siad no returns except for store credit. I called the credit card company a week after the event to dispute the amount, they said I should pay all charges on my statement and send them the dispute form. It might take months before they refund me. Is this how it is done, should the disputed charge paid until the dispute is over?

Jim DeLong
Jim DeLong
9 years 5 months ago

I am in process of disputing an AMX $3800 charge from Fotoconnections. Was told that the TV would be new with a manufacturers warranty when in fact the Fotoconnection TV’s come from overseas, are power converted, and Sony will not honor the warranty.

Twist is that I have not taken delivery yet and its on the truck.

dennis
dennis
9 years 5 months ago

Hello Everyone!
I’m a class representative in the Class Action lawsuit against VISA for their deseptive tactics in dispute resolutions. You can join the lawsuit at no cost to you if you had or having any problems with credit card billing dispute. It doesn’t matter what credit card you hold, it can be Visa MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club, etc.,
Please email me if you’d like more info or contact the plaintifs’ attorney directly at 1-212-732-7707

Kenny Zawahra
6 months 27 days ago

I’m a merchant who is a victim of fraudulent credit card purchases that then get stuck with dealing with the chargebacks. I would like to know if this class action lawsuit can help me.

Danny
Danny
9 years 4 months ago

I just disputed a charge through Bank of America in the amount of $700 from Wal Mart. Wal Mart shipped out the laptop I ordered, 3 weeks past and never got it, and it said “delievered” in the UPS systems, I disputed the charge, and got to keep my credit and never saw that computer; I still wonder what happened to it. My wife says she blames those people at UPS.

Mary
Mary
9 years 3 months ago
I am amidst a disputed charge. My son was supposed to have two teeth extracted and two impacted teeth exposed and 2 brackets attached. The oral surgeon’s office would not bill the dental insurance saying”no company would pay for the brackets”. I had to pay a $500 something deposit and another $500 before the surgery. On the day of the surgery, the two teeth were removed and one bracket was put on. The surgeon said my son woke up during the surgery and was jumping around (gee, who wouldn’t if they were cutting in your mouth). He said I would… Read more »
Vicki
Vicki
9 years 3 months ago

I recently paid a $30.00 late charge on a card that payment was made on the due date. Was told by service rep that it takes 48 hrs. to post – therefore it is late. How ridiculous is that? Any recourse on this?

Viva La No Pay!
Viva La No Pay!
9 years 3 months ago

Keep Going. Never Stop. Google As Much As You Can. Google Ask a free attorney. Keep Going Anyways. NEVER PAY!!!

MIke Abb
MIke Abb
9 years 2 months ago
I recently made a mistake of ordering a camcorder from a online merchant–later after checking with resellerratings.com–I found out they were the shadies jackals in the biz with a lifetime rating 0.43 out of 10!!! Anyhoo I got the old bait and switch where they included a bunch of extras in a package without telling you the price and when I receivedd the camera the invoice was 1,500 more than I agreed to plus the promised product was anything but. I returned the camera and took it to USPS where they shipped it. I went to track the package and… Read more »
Gregory Mech
Gregory Mech
9 years 2 months ago
I filed a charge-back against PayPal on my DISCOVER card since DISCOVER advertises “100% consumer protection against fraud and unauthorized charges.” To make a long story short, I was UNSUCCESSFUL after following DISCOVER cards “dispute procedures” to the tee. I have perfect credit and the highest FICO score; howeverI, when I filed an appeal with DISCOVER they still refused to credit my account the measly $25.23. I ended up closing my DISCOVER card because I was irate that I spent SO MUCH TIME and for NOTHING. The CSR at DISCOVER had the nerve to say “you can come back to… Read more »
Sll
Sll
8 months 9 days ago
If you ordered something and the wrong thing was sent, it would not be a fraud dispute. For dispute reasons other than fraud you must provide any and all documentation that will support your claim. The credit card company will not give you money back if you cannot prove the wrong item is not in your possession and was returned. That is where you went wrong here. I totally get the extra charge for confirmation seems excessive given the original charge was only $25. But, unfortunately when it comes to disputes you have to cooperate and provide the info/docs required… Read more »
annie
annie
8 years 11 months ago
i purchased curtains from the internet and it was my mistake i winded up getting 2 different colors of one design. i called the company and asked them to change the color and i wouldnt pay for the S&H because i had thought i purchased the right product. they said i couldnt because they didnt have the color available. so i said i would liike to return them and they should bare the S&H charges. THEY SAID NO and that they would charge me a restocking fee. Called AMEX and got it disputed. they credited me the amount and i… Read more »
kaya
kaya
8 years 10 months ago

how long do you have to dispute a charge and is it different with credit card vs debit cards?

ModelElaine
8 years 7 months ago

I recently posted an article about erroneous charges from a dating site and what I had to go through to resolve it. As painful as it may sometimes be, it is worth trying to resolve the problem directly with the company imposing the charges. If all else fails, then disputing the charges with the credit card company is definitely the way to go about it.

Lana
Lana
8 years 7 months ago
After repeatedly “winning” $300 gift certificates towards laser hair removal at the American Laser Centers I went there for a free, ”no obligation” consultation. (American Laser Center located at 630 W. 34th St., Suite 205 Austin, Texas 78705, (512) 450-1800). I expected to have a “real consultation” with a doctor, where the doctor evaluates skin and hair type, does a “test treatment” to see if there is an allergic reaction etc. I did not see a single doctor there! Instead a receptionist who also turned out to be the clinic manager and the tech took me into a little room.… Read more »
Learned to Win
Learned to Win
8 years 6 months ago
I have had to dispute a few issues, however I find dealing with the merchant can sometimes help if you talk to the right people. I usually go to customer service first, than a first line manager and then, if I can a second line manager. If I don’t get anywhere, I then call the corporate HQ and talk to someone in the executive offices. These are the only people who are actually enabled to make major decisions. Customer service is trained to tell you no. Usually I can get it resolved to my satisfaction at this level. If not,… Read more »
Clarry
Clarry
8 years 2 months ago
Well done. Be warned though that this does not happen all the time. It is probably because you did not have a contract and thus they could not charge you a cancellation fee. I was ripped off a few nights ago when I was refueling up at a Gas station. I put $15 of gas in my tank but the store person charged me $50. I used my credit card but to my error I didn’t check (in my defence, you would assume that trivial things like this – ie refueling). I rang them up and (the woman, who was… Read more »
Judy
Judy
8 years 24 days ago

We are in the midst of a dispute with arthurspools. We ordered and paid for an above-ground therapy swimming pool on April 1, and we are currently into the fifth month of not receiving the product. Discover has placed this in dispute. I should have done research about the company’s reputation before ordering from them.

jim kelley
jim kelley
8 years 19 days ago
Mine is alot different Dec 4 2007 I ordered from E bay $241.88 worth of goods from Deal Exstream in China.I payed through pay pal.. In a few days they gave me atracking number from HonKong Post. When I tried to track it it says no information on that number. Bogus #. On Dec 21 I got an e mail that my order was cancelled and I would get a full refund. I have never received the refund nor the goods. My Credit card company claims that they proved I received the goods. Today my credit card company CHASE has… Read more »
stan mccain
stan mccain
7 years 7 months ago

bank of america charge my card 41.00us$ that made my acct.overdrawn and then posted charges to my acct.they said I owe $150 in overdraft fees. I am in the process of dispute.B.O.A is you just lost a very loyal customer.

Kris
Kris
9 months 26 days ago
Interesting. I’m trying to figure out what to do about my incident with Walmart.com. I bought a computer online with my debit card (being new to credit, my limit was $200 less than the cost of the computer, so it wasn’t an option). It arrived on time and they initially charged my account multiple times to where it would overdraft if not reversed. So they reversed all but one of the fees. A week later they also reversed the last payment for the computer. I called them about this to find out what was going on, and they basically told… Read more »
Sally May
Sally May
1 month 10 days ago
As a person who deals with dispute regulations for a major bank, I wanted to clear up a few things. First of all, the regulations that won your case are the same on any visa debit or credit card. The only protection from using a credit card, is if the merchant does a representment. This means the merchant is fighting the claim. In that case, the banks immediately remove the temporary credit they issued you when you filed the claim. Making the charge on a credit card, you aren’t losing the actual money out of your bank account. You are… Read more »
Sally May
Sally May
1 month 10 days ago

added note: Visa has the best chance of wining a dispute. Master Card tends to favor the merchant. American Express may be a good card, but don’t count on much help with a dispute. Also, these are disputes, when you give your card number to a merchant. For any reason!! Fraud is covered by your bank or the Association.

Liz
Liz
8 days 15 hours ago

While in Shanghai I did few shopping in the market. Today I received my credit card statement and it reads $1,003.50!! The charges should had been for $102.00 Now I missed placed the original receipt !! I used the pin. How could I dispute it? help?

Jane
Jane
7 hours 23 minutes ago
Hello guys.. I’m going through something now. Visited a spa in NYC and booked some services for the next day. They asked me how I would be paying and I said Amex and they asked for my card. I was under the impression that they were going to put my card on file like all other salons and spas. When I left the spa I got an email from Amex About the large amount that was charged to it. I didn’t disputed it then because I knew I’d be coming in the next day for the services however, I was… Read more »
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