Have you ever paid for something and either didn’t receive it or didn’t get what you paid for? It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it’s maddening. That’s when disputing credit card charges becomes an important skill. If you just ignore the charge, you’ll wreck the credit score you worked so hard to achieve so you have to respond. But do you have to pay? No.
There are plenty of credit card tricks to beware of. But what you probably didn’t know is that the rules are definitely in your favor as a consumer – if you know them. I paid for some consulting services in December but never saw the goods as promised. The vendor kept insisting they delivered and owed me nothing. We were at a standoff. Fortunately, I was aware of the rules and got my money back. Here’s exactly what I did.
1. Contacted the Vendor
Before the credit card company will refund your money, they want you to try to work it out yourself. Even if you suspect the vendor isn’t going to play nice, you have to make an effort. Make a written request to get your refund and explain why you deserve your money back. Ask them for your money and give them 10 days to complete the refund. Make sure to keep a copy of your request.
2. Go To The Credit Card Company
After the 10 days expire, go to the credit card company’s website and request your refund. Then, call the company. Follow up every few days and make sure you write down who you speak with and what is said.
3. Don’t Talk to The Vendor
In most cases, once you contact the vendor and make your request for the refund, you have no further obligation to negotiate with then. Confirm that with the credit card company of course. But I suggest that you refrain from speaking with the vendor at this point because it will drag out the case. Let the credit card company settle the issue at this point.
I don’t often have credit card conflicts with vendors but when I do, I usually get my money back as long as I have a justified reason to request the refund. In fact, this is one reason why I have a strong preference for using my credit card rather than using my checkbook.
One little known fact that credit card companies and vendors don’t want you to know is that you have up to 18 months to request a refund if you buy something over the internet and don’t sign a waiver of this right with the vendor. Vendors know this and are scared to death when customers realize it too. Of course you should not misuse this. But it’s a very nice tool to use if your vendor is a jerk.
What’s been your experience with disputing credit card charges?