Credit cards have become a primary purchasing method for American consumers since their introduction in America in 1946. Today, trillions of dollars are spent yearly in a completely automated, instantly approved manner. Most of these transactions are completed with the customer receiving their goods and the merchant being paid in an orderly and efficient manner. Sometimes, however, there is a breakdown in the process either on purpose or accident and a payment will need to be blocked.
Learn your rights. You have specific legal rights as explained in a host of laws most notably Regulation Z and the Fair Credit Billing Act. Your maximum liability in unauthorized charges is $50. Such issues as unaccepted or poor quality merchandise, math errors, failure to offer credit after a returned product and failure to receive bills are grounds to "dispute" a transaction, which blocks a payment.
Document everything. List everything you remember about the disputed transaction. Include such details as the date and time of the purchase, the circumstances of the dispute and any and all attempts to resolve the matter.
Attempt, in writing with documentation one final time to resolve the disputed transaction. If the dispute is legitimate, the merchant has a vested interest to resolve it before you enact legal rights in the dispute process. It is charged a fee from its merchant bank if it loses the dispute. Additionally, most businesses want to do the right thing and keep a good customer.
Submit a written dispute to the address on the back of your credit card statement regarding disputed transactions. Send it to a physical address and order a delivery confirmation.
Follow up the written dispute with a call to your credit card's customer service department as listed on the back of your card. It will notate your account and "freeze" the transaction, which frees up the disputer credit line and blocks interest and payment requirements until the dispute is resolved.
Send your dispute request within 60 days of the billing date of the transaction. While you have legal rights beyond this time frame, your primary protection is held within this time.
Allow two billing periods not to exceed 90 days for the resolution of the dispute as required by the Fair Credit Billing Act. You will not be responsible for the transaction during the period, but you will be responsible to pay your valid transactions as listed on your credit card agreement. You will be notified in writing that the dispute is issued and that the resolution has happened.
Be polite to customer service representatives. They are empowered to help. If customer service representatives cannot resolve your complaint, contact the management. Always keep receipts.
Follow time lines. Do not lie or deceive as you can be prosecuted under the same laws for fraudulent information. Continue to pay your bill subtracting the disputed amount.
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