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
Bank of America<sup>®</sup> Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer

APPLY NOWAt Bank of America's secure website
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • No annual fee
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back on gas or your choice of one of five other popular categories, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
  • No expiration on rewards
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase
APPLY NOWAt Bank of America's secure website

0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days

16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

$0

Why we like it
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
We least like
  • 3% foreign transaction fee.
Excellent/Good
Capital One<sup>®</sup> Venture<sup>®</sup> Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

N/A

17.99% - 25.24% (Variable)

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Why we like it
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture.
We least like
  • No low introductory APR period.
Excellent, Good
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.
  • New 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • New 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.99% to 25.99%
  • $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

14.99%-25.99% Variable

$95

Excellent, Good
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 17.24-25.99%.
  • 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

17.24%-25.99% 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.
Excellent/Good
Bank of America<sup>®</sup> Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

APPLY NOWAt Bank of America's secure website
  • 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR ends, 17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR will apply
  • If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase
APPLY NOWAt Bank of America's secure website

0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases

17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

$0

Why we like it
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire.
Excellent/Good