Disputing a Credit Card Charge

by Kay Lynn

credit card transactionDespite using credit cards for over 30 years I only remember disputing a charge once.  It is rather amazing that out of billions of transactions there are so few problems.

However when it does happen you need to know how to handle the problem transaction.

Disputed Purchase

My daughter-in-law had created a baby register on a major retailer website when she was expecting our grandson.  The grandparents got together and decided to buy the crib for them as a joint baby gift.

I ordered the gift from the registry which meant they would deliver it to the address specified in the registry setup and charged it to a credit card.  My daughter-in-law had designated her work address.  Unfortunately, she hadn’t updated it after her business moved to a new location.

The crib was returned to the warehouse but my card wasn’t credited.

First Contact

I was tracking the purchase online so saw the update when it was returned.  I waited a couple of days and never heard from the retailer so I opened a customer service ticket.  They advised me I would have to reorder the item, but I didn’t want to until I received a credit.  They assured me I would be credited within a few days.

This went on for two weeks.  I was told several times I had been credited but it never happened.  It was time to call in the credit card issuer.

Entering a Dispute

This charge was on my American Express so I went to their website to see how to challenge a charge.  They had an online form that made it easy to submit a dispute and identify the appropriate charge along with the reason and what had happened to date.

I received email and written confirmations about the dispute creation along with information on the process and expected timeframe.  The disputed amount is removed from bills until their investigation is complete.


The retailer never responded to American Express’ request for information so I was issued the refund.  I really don’t know what the breakdown was but am not naming the company because I’ve had many great experiences over the years and still use them.

But I did order the crib again…from a different company.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Jennifer @ CouponMommie.com March 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I believe I may have some rather good input on this. I work in customer service and have for many many years. I have some tips from the merchant side of things.

# 1 – tell me who you are. Meaning that when I ask for your name and telephone number, I want YOUR name and YOUR phone number. Why? So, I know who I am talking to and so that I can call you back if we’re disconnected. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re calling about your mom, dad or sister until later in the conversation if that’s who the dispute is for and we’ll eventually get to that.

#2 – don’t be rude or I’m not gonna want to help you. Meaning that while Yes, it is my job to listen to your dispute you don’t have to be rude to me. And, FYI, by the end of my 8 hour shift I am going to hear every complaint in the book so being rude doesn’t make your dispute sound any different by being rude, it just makes me bite my tongue at the things I want to say back to you and can’t.

#3 – be patient while I look at your account. Meaning that if you rush me you’re only hurting yourself because I can only move my mouse and keyboard so fast and everything does not appear on one little magic screen, I have to use several. (At my job I have 4-6 screens that I have to use on almost every call and up to 12 or more depending on how involved the dispute is)

#4 – let me help you by letting me talk. Meaning that while I want to hear your story I need to ask questions in somewhat of a certain order so that I can ascertain the situation and either make an adjustment or compile your dispute for further review.

#5 – be detailed and to the point. Meaning that you give me an overview of the dispute, I ask additional questions, you answer with more details and everyone is happy and well informed.

#6 – understand that it may take time. Meaning that I may be able to make an adjustment for you immediately but sometimes I may need to submit it for further review. If that’s the case then be understanding. The fact that you demand resolution immediately on the phone is not going to change the dispute procedures that I have to follow to get a resolution for you. Again, it only makes me bite my tongue at the things I want to say back to you.

I have a “My Pleasure” dialogue that I have to follow to be nice and say polite things to you and it only makes me smile and try to be as helpful as possible when I have a pleasant voice on the other end. Smiles are contagious and it takes far more effort to convey them over the phone than it does in person. So, smile when you’re on the phone even if you’re upset. It will do wonders and carry you farther than a hateful attitude.

But, that’s my opinion from my end of the phone.

Buck Inspire March 15, 2011 at 12:04 am

Nice breakdown on credit card disputing. I never had a problem, except for someone making charges with my credit card numbers, but the company took care of it in no time. Will refer to your process if my luck ever runs out. Thanks! 🙂

Evan March 17, 2011 at 7:43 am

I have never had to dispute a CC Charge, but I have heard that AMEX is better than most at handling it.

Just a heads up since I had a baby registry 3 months ago – Make sure your daughter in law takes it off the registry since you didn’t buy it at that company. Others may try to go in on the gift and then she would have 2 cribs!

Mandy March 17, 2011 at 11:06 am

I’ve disputed charges on a number of occasions, including fraud and have never had a problem with the credit card company handling it. I’ve always got the refund I was expecting. The first thing I do when I get my credit card statement each month is to look it over to make sure I recognize all the charges.

The weirdest charge I’ve ever had to dispute was a restaurant charge when I was out with a group and just paid my portion. The amount that was charged to credit card was completely different from the amount on my receipt. Fortunately I did have the receipt so I was able to send that to the credit card company and prove that that was the amount I’d agreed to pay. The odd thing was that amount didn’t show up as a separate charge – there was just a single charge with this weird amount.

Cori Westphal October 30, 2011 at 9:26 am

I like your gusto! I’ve had a few charges that were questionable, but turned out to be legit, just under a strange name. It does pay to keep your eye on your bill though. I have a small business, so every month, I match my receipts with my statement for reimbursement purposes. Well a couple years ago, I found a couple suspicious charges. One was for $0.02 and one was for $0.03. Now that caught my eye, just because how on earth could I have possibly bought something for $0.02, right?

So I called my CC company and they told me that sometimes, when a scammer gets hold of some credit card numbers, they will charge a small amount like that, hoping no one notices it, but thus proving that the card number will work for them. Then they hit you hard with shopping sprees and charges in the hundreds, sometimes thousands! My CC company said I was lucky to have seen the charges right away, so we could change my CC number before any other attempts were made. All I can say is definitely keep an eye on your bill. And it doesn’t hurt to check out something you aren’t sure about!

Geri S October 31, 2011 at 10:27 am

GREAT!!! post!!! I have called my Credit Card Company anything I do’t understand my statement and have a charge I thing isn’t mine, but never had to dispute charges. THANKS!!! for the info!!!

Tarri Christopher January 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Great post. It also illustrates how important it is to keep track via paper trail, online transactions, emails, etc. There have been a few times when a company has said that I wasn’t responding to their inquiries and I was able to show the communication trail with dates and times. Thank you.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: