Last year, I spent $300 on a set of online courses to learn how to analyze Excel data. The problem? Despite the name and description, the courses didn’t have much to do with learning how to analyze Excel data.
Without the option of a credit card chargeback, I would have lost that money. With it, I got my money back and spent it on a better course.
Here’s how this secret weapon can help you dispute a purchase you’ve made with the merchant that sold it to you.
What is a credit card chargeback?
As a consumer, there might be times when you have a dispute with a merchant. If it has your money, though, you could feel like you have no leverage.
But if you used a credit card to make the purchase, you’re in luck. If the merchant won’t give you your money back, you can request that your credit card issuer forcibly reverse the transaction on your behalf.
Common reasons for filing a credit card chargeback complaint include the following:
- You canceled an order or a subscription, and it wasn’t refunded.
- You were misled by a trial offer.
- You don’t recognize the charge.
- You were charged more than once for the same purchase.
- You never received the item or service.
- The item or service was not as advertised or expected.
- The item was damaged.
- The item was returned and not refunded.
- You were charged an incorrect amount.
- The merchant charged the wrong card.
Just because you have the power to dispute a charge at any time, though, doesn’t mean you should. Investigating a chargeback request takes time and money for the credit card issuer and merchant. So, you should use it as a last resort.
How to request a credit card chargeback in 5 steps
If you have a dispute about an item or service you paid for, follow these steps to get your money back.
1. Establish that your dispute is legitimate
Before you do anything else, make a case for yourself. Read up on the terms and conditions of the sale and the merchant’s refund policy. If your situation falls outside the merchant’s policies, assess it and determine if it merits an exception.
Also, if you don’t recognize the transaction at all, ask authorized users of the card if they made the purchase. That way, if an authorized user did make the purchase and didn’t notify you, you’ll be able to get to the bottom of it quickly.
2. Contact the merchant
Most legitimate disputes can be resolved with the merchant directly. If the merchant offers a refund, wait a reasonable amount of time to receive the money before you take the next step.
If the merchant is difficult, say you’re considering a chargeback request; it might reconsider.
In my case, I contacted the course administrator and asked for a refund. The person I spoke with told me the refund deadline was two weeks after I had made the payment.
Unfortunately, that was before the course had started. I escalated the issue, and the administrator wouldn’t budge.
Since there was no way for me to know the course wasn’t as advertised before it started, I felt justified in contacting my credit card issuer.
3. File a dispute
Many credit card issuers allow you to file a credit card chargeback request through your online account. Alternatively, you can call the number on the back of your credit card.
You typically have 120 days from the purchase date to file your chargeback request with your credit card issuer, and the process usually takes just a few minutes. Here’s how it works.
The credit card issuer will gather as much information as possible to investigate the dispute with the merchant. You’ll generally need the following information:
- The reason for the dispute
- The amount you’re disputing
- Whether the purchase was for an item or service
- Details about what you purchased
Depending on the reason for your dispute, the credit card issuer could also ask other questions. For example, if you never received the item or service, the issuer might ask when you expected to receive it.
If you were charged the wrong amount, the issuer might ask if you have proof, such as a receipt or invoice. Once you finish all the questions, confirm your answers and submit the dispute.
After I submitted my dispute last year, the credit card issuer gave me a temporary refund of the charge and then investigated it with the merchant. A month and a half later, I received a letter in the mail confirming the chargeback had been processed.
The investigation time differs by issuer, but it can take up to two billing cycles to reach a final decision. Once the issuer finishes its investigation, you’ll receive a letter in the mail or a secure message in your account.
If the issuer decides in your favor, you’ll keep the temporary credit and the issuer will reverse the transaction with the merchant. If the issuer’s investigation doesn’t support your claim, your temporary credit will be reversed. The transaction with the merchant will remain as is.
Use this tool wisely
Credit card chargebacks give consumers leverage when they work with unreasonable merchants. If you abuse the right, though, you could get into trouble. Chargeback fraud can get you blacklisted by the merchant or credit card issuer.
Remember: Chargebacks are meant to protect you from merchants, not your own mistakes. Be honest with yourself about whether your claim warrants a chargeback.
Do your due diligence and work with the merchant first. If your dispute is the result of fraud, take steps to protect your personal information from being compromised further.
If you use the credit card chargeback tool wisely, you’ll be able to protect yourself and your money without jeopardizing your relationship with the merchant and credit card issuer.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.49% effective March 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.50% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.81% – 8.79%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.55% – 7.12%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.00% – 9.74%6||Undergrad & Graduate|