If your credit card is stolen or you buy something that never arrives, the charges on your card can mean a costly but fruitless credit card charge. Your card agreement should provide you with information about how long you have to fight a charge on your card and may also give you a specific procedure for getting rid of bogus charges. You can't stop a charge before it hits your account unless you get the merchant to agree not to charge you.
Reach out to the merchant if you want to reverse the charge because an item was defective or you were charged the wrong price. Your credit card company may require you to show a good-faith effort to resolve the issue with the merchant. Keep records of your conversations with the store; talk with the store in writing or by e-mail if you can. If you hope to cancel a charge and prevent it from showing up on your card statement, you'll need to act quickly. Some merchants place a hold on credit cards immediately.
Call the customer service number listed on the back of your card. You'll probably get an automated response at first, so select the option for disputed and unauthorized transactions when you reach the main menu. When you're directed to a real person, tell her why you're disputing the charge and provide specific information. For example, you may have to tell her the things you bought were defective or your card has been stolen. In most cases, the card company will reverse the charge on a temporarily while it investigates your dispute.
Fill out any paperwork the customer service representative asks you to. You may have to complete a written dispute; in some cases, you'll have to wait until the merchant files her response to your dispute. If the merchant disagrees with your story, you'll have a chance to respond and provide any evidence documenting your claim. The credit card company will review your documentation and make a final decision. If the charge is reversed, the money will remain on your card. If you lose the dispute, the charge will go back on your account and you'll be stuck paying it.
If your credit card has been stolen or fraudulently used online, the bank will likely cancel your card and send you a new one.
If your card is stolen, you're legally required to pay the first $50 of unauthorized charges. However, your cardholder agreement may state you're not liable for anything, and many credit card companies offer complete refunds on fraudulent charges. Check your cardholder agreement to get an idea of how much money you might lose.
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