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Credit Card Chargebacks: Your Financial Rights

Posted May 13, 2013 by Ron.Barraza to Credit / Credit Cards 0 0
This post was written by a EasyFinance.com Community member. The views expressed below may not reflect the views of EasyFinance.com.


For decades, people have been relying on credit cards to make various purchases – whether it’s expensive appliances, magazine subscriptions, or groceries.  With the invention of the internet, credit cards have become indispensible. 

The Benefits of Credit Cards

There are a lot of perks to using a credit card.  They are often times more convenient than any other payment option – simply swipe your card and you are done.  They allow you access to vendors you wouldn’t otherwise be able to shop with; sending cash for your online payment isn’t usually permitted.  Credit cards also help you make big purchases when you need them; you don’t have to wait until you have enough cash saved.  Many people use credit cards because they want to take advantage of perks and cash back rewards.

Perhaps the best advantage of credit cards is the ability to file for a chargeback.  Chargebacks offer peace of mind; reassurance that your money is safe. 

Understanding Chargebacks

A chargeback is an extra layer of customer protection.  Here are some of the most common reasons why consumers file chargebacks: 
• Their credit card was overcharged for a purchase.
• They are dissatisfied with the product or service.
• They never received the product.
• Their card was stolen.
• They didn’t authorize the charge.
A chargeback allows the customer to contest their billing statement if charges don’t match their actual credit card use.  Chargebacks also let customers recoup their money if they are dissatisfied with their product (and can’t come to terms with the merchant).

Chargebacks and the Law

Customers are protected by both federal and state laws.  The Federal Trade Commission’s Fair Credit Billing Act addresses chargebacks.

According to federal law, a customer has 60 days to dispute an unauthorized charge.  Then, the company affected by the chargeback has 30 days to dispute the claim, providing an explanation and conducting an investigation.  Alternately, they can simply correct the charge. 

On top of federal laws, each state offers additional protection to consumers.

How to File a Chargeback

First, you should contact the company involved with the charge.  See if you can come to an agreement.  Make sure you have written documentation of all your conversations. 

If negotiations fail, you should then contact your bank.  Ask for a reversal of charges on a particular transaction.  Present the evidence you have acquired, proving you have first attempted to resolve the matter yourself.

After you have filed for a chargeback, the bank will conduct an investigation.  Be prepared: it could take up to two months for the bank to make a decision.  If the bank finds in your favor, the money will be credited to your card.

Avoiding Chargebacks

When you come across a faulty charge on your credit card, contact the company right away.  If your first attempt to claim your money fails, mention you are considering a chargeback.  Usually, the simple threat of a chargeback will get their attention.  If the offending company does rectify the charge, you’ll get your money much quicker.

Credit cards are a safe, easy way to make purchases.  When trouble does arise, you have the power to protect your financial and legal rights. 


About Ron.Barraza: Ron Barraza is a finance writer. He helps both consumers and businesses. Right now, he is working with Chargebacks911.com, helping businesses fight against faulty chargebacks.

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