As a credit card user, you have the right to dispute a credit card purchase, whether it was erroneous, fraudulent in nature, or if the merchant didn't provide satisfactory service. Always challenge fraud charges immediately. As for filing other types of disputes, always make an effort to resolve the issue with the merchant involved. There is a timeframe for filing a dispute; typically, you need to file a dispute within 60 days of the transaction. However, the specific timeframe will depend on the type of dispute you're submitting. This article will lead you through the nuances of credit card disputes. Read on to know more. 

If you notice a fraudulent charge on your bill, call your credit card issuer immediately. Depending on the kind of card you have, the credit card company might be willing to remove the transaction from your bill immediately. As a credit card user, you also have the right to dispute a credit card charge for a purchase you willingly made. This applies to circumstances where you were dissatisfied with the product or service you received, such as receiving a broken washing machine. However, you need to follow a formal process with non-fraud related disputes. Also, there is a specific timeframe within which you must file your dispute.  

Following are some scenarios where you may file a dispute:

  • Unauthorized/ Fraudulent transaction

  • Transaction failed but debited

  • Paid by alternate means

  • Duplicate billing on the card for the same transaction at the merchant outlet

  • Goods not delivered by merchant/services not rendered

  • Non-receipt of refund after the turnaround time committed by the merchant

  • Credit not processed by the merchant

  • Cash not dispensed from the ATM

Fraud or Unauthorized Purchase

If you see a charge on your bill that seems suspicious, you can dispute it by contacting your credit card issuer directly and informing them of the problem. However, before filing a dispute, take some time to investigate whether the purchase was truly fraudulent. For instance, the purchase might have been done by a family member or close friend without your authorization. If the unauthorized charge came about because of a miscommunication, work it out with the party involved before calling your credit card issuer and claiming it was a fraud.

Filing a fraudulent charge dispute is usually done online, through the net banking portal of the bank. Once your dispute of fraudulent purchase on your credit card bill is accepted successfully, you will be issued a new credit card and number issued in your name. This is to prevent someone from continuing to use your old card number without proper authorization.

Billing Errors

Every lender has different time frames within which you may file the dispute. You may check with your lender directly for information on the timeframe. The following errors may be disputed under the broad category of billing errors: 

  • Charges that list the wrong amount.

  • Charges that list the wrong date.

  • Charges for goods and services you didn't accept.

  • Charges for products or services that weren't delivered as agreed.

  • Calculation errors.

You can dispute minor errors on your credit card bill by writing a letter to your credit card issuer. You can download the Cardholder Dispute Form from the lender’s website, fill it duly and mail it to the address mentioned on the form. Alternatively, you can also dispute errors online through the net banking portal of your credit card issuer. During the course of the dispute, you are not obligated to pay the charge in question, but you will have to pay the rest of your credit card bill. The law requires your creditor to respond to you—in writing—within 30 days (i.e., after you have sent your dispute form within 60 days of receiving your bill). If you disagree with the final decision, you can have the dispute escalated. However, at this point, the lender is usually allowed to begin a collections procedure against you. This is also usually reported to the credit bureaus.

Additional Reading: What To Do If Your Credit Card Charge Is The Wrong Amount?

When you shouldn't dispute a Credit Card Charge

There are certain things you shouldn’t dispute. Following is an overview:

  • The “unauthorized purchase” was made by a friend or family member without your knowledge or permission. Always check with authorized users to see if they made a purchase you were unaware of. 

  • You’re dissatisfied with a purchase or service rendered, but you haven’t talked to the merchant yet. Reach out and resolve the transaction with the merchant. You will be surprised how easily an issue can be resolved by reaching out and communicating. 

Make sure you don’t resort to “friendly fraud”. 

What are the documents required to support a dispute that I am reporting?

Depending on the nature of the transaction that you are disputing, different documents may be required. Your creditor will also get in touch with you from time to time for any additional documentation or information, as required. Following is a tentative list of documents: 

Fraudulent transactions: 

  • For certain transactions which fall under the category of fraudulent transaction, you will have to share a police complaint, copy of all pages of your passport (for overseas disputes) and a copy of the cut credit card—if you are still in possession of the card.

Lost/stolen cards:

In case of lost or stolen cards where fraudulent transactions have been reported, you will need to provide the below-mentioned documents:

  • Copy of the police complaint / FIR (FIR to be lodged at the loss location)

  • Copy of all pages of your passport (for transactions involving overseas disputes)

For service-related transactions:

  • Proof of merchant interaction, like bills, invoices, etc.

  • If the merchant has done a refund: proof of refund, as provided by the merchant. This could include a void charge slip.

  • For failed transactions: Proof of alternative payment.

Cardmember Declaration Form (CDF): A CDF is required when the unauthorized transaction was done in the Europe region with a value of over USD 1000. This is applicable if you are in possession of a VISA Card. Mention all the details correctly in the form, duly sign it, and mail it to the address mentioned on the form. 

Additional documents: Proof of identity, PAN card, Aadhaar card, etc. 

Follow your card issuer’s guidelines for initiating a credit card dispute. Typically, you need to submit your request in writing. However, you can also call your credit card issuer to get the process started and for guidance in the whole process. Your creditor will also send you the forms you need. You can also initiate a dispute online by filling out a form on your net banking account. Different lenders have different processes regarding the method of initiating disputes. So, talk with your lender about the steps you’ll need to take. We, at CreditMantri, can also help you with your disputes.

Addtional Reading: How to Remove Disputes from Your Credit Report?