Credit Card Charge Disputes

 

Credit Card Charge Disputes

Sign of good faith (Photo credit: GravitysAppleNZ)

Credit Card Charge Disputes

Credit Card Charge Disputes are one of the few things in the world where the consumer actually has a presumption of good faith working in their favor.  Anyone who has ever dealt with unfair negatives on their credit reports will be shocked by this concept.  When it comes to disputing credit report negatives the consumer is working against a presumption of guilt.  It seems the credit reporting agencies philosophy is:  Why would anyone report a negative unless it is valid?  How could any of our merchant clients possibly make a mistake?  As a consumer battling an unfair credit reporting negative you are faced with an uphill battle.  This is caused by an unfair assumption against you and your side of the story.

If you have never disputed a charge on a a credit card you will find that credit card charge disputes operate with an assumption that the dispute is valid!.  Usually the card issuer will simply credit your account first before taking the dispute to the merchant for evaluation.  In short the burden of proof is on the merchant!  What a nice way to do business.  Another pleasant surprise that is revealed by recent studies is that abuse of this system by consumers is actually quite rare.  Credit Card Charge Disputes that are eventually deemed fraudulent actually come in at less than 1/2 of 1 percent of all transactions.  Merchants claim that 20 percent of disputes that are filed are fraudulent.

Credit Card Charge Disputes on Line

Banks make the credit card charge disputes process quite easy on line.  No one will go on the record about this but it is clear that disputes for amounts under $25.00 are not worth the paperwork for either the bank or the merchant and are absorbed routinely.  The vigor of the investigation varies from merchant to merchant but it is a safe bet to assume that the higher the dollar value claimed the closer will be the look by the investigators.  Needless to say a first time complainer is cut a lot more slack than a chronic abuser of the process.

As a matter of fundamental fairness consumers should usually start the process of working out whatever complaint they may have with the merchant.  After all you and the merchant are the ones who have the best idea of what actually really happened.  Credit Card Charge Disputes can later be made to the issuer of the card if the merchant is not cooperative.

The Credit Card Charge Disputes process is yet another reason why it is usually better to use a credit card than a debit card in most circumstances.  Remember however that certain transactions in some places are now legally subject to surcharges of 1.5–4 percent.  Notice of this practice must be prominently displayed at checkouts. You should inquire anyway rather than be surprised if they “forgot” about the notice.  Smaller merchants are most likely to try to implement this practice in the states that allow it.  Smaller merchants frequently feel they are being gouged by these fees.  For larger merchants the fees are much smaller.

Credit Card Charge Disputes and the new $10 Minimum

Under the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act it is now legal for merchants to set a $10.00 minimum for credit card charges.  Many consumers find this annoying.  Realistically this provision is probably justified because the rates and fees per transaction are just too high for single digit transactions.  At any rate that provision is here to stay, like it or not.  The low dollar threshold may even become higher in the near future.

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After practicing law for 37 years Edward F. St. Onge, Sr. now devotes all his time to helping consumers achieve a high credit score with amazing speed. Learn the counter-intuitive secrets to credit scoring through his down to earth instructions backed by extensive knowledge of the laws and trends. All of the latest tricks and techniques that they don't want you to know now at your disposal. At last a level playing field for the consumer!

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