Have you ever been charged for a purchase that you did not receive, or you were charged twice for a product or service? Like most people, you may have ended up taking the loss just because the alternative of fighting with the many parties involved just didn't seem worth it.

But next time you use your card to pay for something that leaves you feeling ripped off, you can take advantage of the dispute resolution benefit that many banks and credit card companies offer.

The Fair Credit Billing Act lets you as a consumer sue your credit card company in some cases, after you have made a good-faith attempt to resolve the issue with the store or other merchant first. This only applies to purchases over $50 and has to be made in the same state that you live in.

But to avoid the hassles of being sued by millions of unhappy consumers many credit card companies have taken the extra step by offering help with dispute resolution any time that you cannot come to an agreement with a merchant on your own. In fact many issuers offer this service no matter where you made the purchase, or how little you have spent.

American Express, Bank of America, and Citibank all offer dispute resolution services to cardholders. As a Chase cardholder you can even open a dispute resolution case if you aren't satisfied with the quality of a product or service that you paid for with your card.

There is no guarantee that the dispute will be resolved in your favor, but here are 3 things you can do that could help you come out on top of a dispute:

  1. Keep invoices, quotes, receipts & other written promises

    You will need these to prove that a merchant had promised to deliver the goods within a certain amount of time, or in a certain condition. Keeping receipts will help you prove that you were overcharged or double charged for a purchase.

  2. File your dispute correctly

    Make sure to file your dispute no more than 60 days after the merchant sends the bill. In the case of an unauthorized payment such as a double charge or a fraudulent transaction, you will usually come out best if you dispute these charges as unauthorized transactions, since the law limits your liability to $50 for unauthorized transactions. If the problem isn't at all related to payments, for example if you aren't satisfied with goods or services, then you should state that (first check if your card offers guaranteed returns).

  3. Count the cost

    Although most disputes are resolved quite quickly, some dispute resolution cases take many months to resolve. If you aren't able to negotiate an agreement with the merchant involved, and your card issuer isn't able to resolve the issue with the merchant's bank, the next step will for the payment network (Visa or MasterCard) to arbitrate. If you aren't happy with the final outcome you can still open a dispute with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) or report to consumer bureaus like the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

You will not have to pay the contested amount while you wait for the dispute to be resolved, and you will not incur interest on the contested amount during this time. If all goes well and you win the dispute, then you usually won't have to pay the cost of the payment or interest. But if you lose the dispute you will usually have to pay the full amount plus interest back to the date when you filed the dispute, so prepare yourself financially just in case things do not go your way.

If you want to give your money an extra layer of protection then consider using one of our highly rated credit cards from Chase, Bank of America, American Express, or Capital One, as all of these issuers offer comprehensive dispute resolution services.

Credit CardFeaturesIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeWhy we like itWe least likeCredit RequiredRelated links
Chase Freedom<sup>®</sup>

Chase Freedom®

APPLY NOWAt Chase's secure website
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
APPLY NOWAt Chase's secure website

0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

16.49% - 25.24% Variable

$0

Why we like it
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic.
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Blue Cash Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Don't wait for your Card in the mail. Start earning cash back before your card even arrives, if eligible for Instant Card Number.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 23.99%
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months

12.99%-23.99% Variable

$95

Excellent, Good