Dispute a Charge on Your Credit Card

hand holding a credit card

Have you ever had to dispute a charge on your credit card? Let’s imagine for a moment that you’ve just received your credit card bill in the mail and you think the only purchase you made with it the previous month was at the gas station. What do you do then, when you find three purchases on your statement that you do not recognize? Do you know what rights you have regarding fraudulent purchases on a credit card in your name? How about your rights if you purchased an item with a credit card, but never received the products you ordered?

If these problems have not happened to you yet, you are lucky. These are common situations credit card users face every day. It can help you to know before something like this happens to you what your rights and your responsibilities are if you need to dispute a charge on your credit card.

Disputing Charges You Didn’t Make

Did you know that federal law is involved in helping limit credit cardholder’s responsibilities for charges on credit cards that they did not make themselves? The Fair Credit Billing Act actually limits your responsibility to just $50 for any charges you did not authorize. If you open your credit card bill and find charges not made by you, there is a process for disputing a charge on your credit card that you should follow to get it resolved as quickly and painlessly as possible.

First, call the credit card company and explain the charges that were not made by you. They will give you instructions as to what to do next.

Then, you should take the time to find and review all of your recent credit card statements in case there were other charges that you may have missed.

The credit card company will most likely ask you to sign a form to confirm that you were not the one who made the charges in dispute. Don’t use the card while you are disputing charges.

Once you finally get a resolution and get the charges removed, be sure to order your credit report from all of the major credit bureaus. People often find that if they have had their credit information stolen, the may also find that their identity has been compromised and there could be additional accounts opened up in your name that you did not sign up for.

When You Are Not Satisfied With Purchase

One of the benefits of using a credit card to make purchases is the additional protection they provide if you make a purchase that you are unsatisfied with. For example, maybe you used a credit card to pay the contractors who were hired to repair your shower leak, but there is still water on the bathroom floor. Obviously, you are not satisfied with the work they completed, and you don’t want to pay for it. The problem is, you charged it on a credit card and now the bill has come! You do not have to have been the victim of frau to dispute a charge on your credit card.


Your first step is to contact the contractor, or the merchant you made your purchase from. Most of the time, the merchant is more than happy to replace a broken item, perform the service again or refund the purchase back to your credit card. If you make a phone call, document it and follow up with a letter to cover your tracks in the event the merchant doesn’t follow through.

If for some reason the merchant decides they are not going to do anything to correct the situation, you should immediately contact your credit card company and report the information. Don’t wait to report the problem on a later date- most credit card companies require you to report a problem as soon as you see it on the statement in order to benefit from any of the protection they provide.

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