Every once in a while I like to flip the script. Sure, I could tell you how to dispute a credit card charge but I figured it would be more fun to tell you what NOT to do. This is based on a true story where I was the creditor. When I’m not writing about my personal finance journey I’m probably planning a conference. A couple years ago on the day of my conference I received a phone call. I’ll recap it from memory and I’ve changed the name to protect the not-so-innocent:
Time: 6am CST / Thursday morning
(Note: The conference we’re discussing started at 7pm that day)
Me: Good morning this is Lakita
Disputing Debra: Hello, is it too late to register for the conference
Me: Not at all, were accepting late registrations through tomorrow as long as space is available. You can register online or at the door.
Disputing Debra: OK, where are you located? I want to come to the conference with my daughter…
Me: We’re in St. Louis, MO. Where would you be coming from?
Disputing Debra: We’re in MI…
I forget the exact location, but I “Mapquested” it for her and determined it would have been an 8 hour drive. She decides to go online and register. I didn’t think too much of it because people have driven further than that to come to the event and attendees are from all over the U.S. and beyond. The conference comes and goes and after some much needed rest I return to life as normal. I have a voice mail from Disputing Debra:
(This message was time stamped the following afternoon): Hello, I’ve decided the conference is too far and I would like a refund.
I try to return Disputing Debra’s call a few times. After a few rounds of phone tag, I decided to leave her a message empathetically telling her I could not issue a refund on a no show in order to remain compliant with our refund policy. I asked her to call me if she wanted to discuss in further detail. I did not hear anymore from Disputing Debra until one day I checked my Paypal account:
Reason for Dispute: Unauthorized Payment
Action: Funds recovered from seller
I sent Paypal a screenshot of my registration website with the refund policy, a copy of the phone record showing her initial incoming call to me, and a summarizing note explaining this was buyer’s remorse masked as an unauthorized payment policy designed to protect people from fraudulent activity.
My money was shortly refunded and I never heard from disputing Debra again!
How NOT to Dispute a Credit Card Charge
- Wait until the last minute to make your purchase…that way you’ll rush and be more likely to regret it in the future.
- Do not do any research about your purchase. Being a confident buyer is overrated.
- Do not read the refund policy. It’s a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo that will never be enforced.
- Do not try to contact the seller or merchant first.
- Call the bank and tell them it was a fraudulent unauthorized purchase — hope that it will go unnoticed / undisputed by the merchant
Bottom line ~ If you do have a credit card charge dispute make sure it is valid and in line with the merchants refund / return policy. Even if you are outside the boundaries of the refund return policy, some human intervention may get your money back. However, that would be a favor not an entitlement. Under no circumstances should you take advantage of the banks / credit cards fraudulent charge back for a valid purchase. This could get you in trouble.
Have you been on either side of a credit card charge dispute? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!