One of the most important things that you can do for yourself in terms of your credit cards is to get in the habit of always looking at your credit card statements thoroughly. This will allow you to catch problems with the card early and can assist you in preventing damage due to identity theft. One of the most common things that you may begin to find are erroneous charges on your statement that you may need to dispute.
Credit card charges that you’ll want to dispute may vary in their origin. A common mistake people find is that a business will accidentally charge them twice for the same purchase. Likewise, people may return an item and yet still be charged for it on the credit card. Sometimes the purchase is correct but the amount is wrong. In rarer cases, identity theft is the reason that you’ll need to dispute a charge. Any time that you see a charge with an incorrect amount or a purchase you didn’t make, you should dispute the charge to get your money back and keep your credit safe.
No matter what the reason is for needing to dispute charges, the process for doing so is going to be the same. Here are the steps to follow to dispute a credit card charge:
- Make sure that the charge is incorrect. We often forget what we buy before the bill comes in so consider the purchase carefully to make sure it’s really not correct.
- Find relevant receipts. If you purchased an item and the price is wrong, get the original receipt.
- Call the person who charged you. It’s best to not start with calling the credit card company but to instead call the seller of the product or service who initiated the charge. Often the charge is just an error and it can be corrected with a simple phone call to the seller to sort out the problem.
- Contact the credit card company. If the seller won’t work with you and the charge is incorrect, you should contact your credit card company. Have all of the important information about the charge in hand to discuss with the customer service representative. Explain what the charge is, why you believe it is incorrect, what would be correct (such as a single charge when there is a charge made twice) and then give them the contact information of the seller. You may need to send a written letter authorizing the company to work out the charge for you.
- Follow up with the credit card company. In most cases, your credit card company will resolve the problem and contact you but be sure to follow up if they don’t.
- Don’t get charged interest. Be aware that the law is that you can’t be charged interest on your credit card for a charge that is in dispute so be sure to double check that when the next bill comes in.
Most merchants and credit card companies will be more than willing to work with you to resolve the problem because they want to keep your business. It’s your responsibility to keep an eye out for those charges and to resolve them quickly.