Many people don’t know why it’s better to use a credit card than a debit card, especially because credit cards have gained the reputation of being evil thanks to a few irresponsible spenders.
One of the biggest advantages of using a credit card is that you can dispute a payment without having any money deducted from your bank account—such as if it was made fraudulently by some trickster. The credit card company will investigate, and if they find that your objection is valid, you won’t have to pay the charge.
But just because you try to make a chargeback claim doesn’t mean the charge will be automatically waived.
The rise in online spending comes hand in hand with scams and fraudulent charges, so it pays to know how to give your chargeback claim the highest chances of success.
Make your claim as soon as possible
Even if all your credit card bills are paid like clockwork by GIRO every month, don’t neglect checking your statements whenever you receive them, as you’ll want to challenge any suspicious looking charges as soon as possible.
First of all, you need to dispute a transaction within 120 days from when it was made. Note that there is some timelag between the date of your transaction and the day your receive your bill.
You also want to give the bank as much time to investigate as possible, since a thorough investigation is likely to be in your favour. More crucially, if you are dealing with a merchant that is in financial trouble, waiting too long might mean the merchant will have closed down, in which case they won’t be able to repay the bank the wrongful charges.
Be prepared to try to resolve things with the merchant
In most credit card charge disputes (except for unauthorised payments that don’t involve cancellation of a recurring period), you must first attempt to resolve things with the business before the credit card issuer will help you.
So be prepared to prove that you have done so. Get everything down in writing and send the business emails summarising any telephone conversations. You will need this as proof that you have tried to resolve the matter.
Be prepared to return items you’ve bought
If an item you’ve bought is damaged or wasn’t as described, don’t just toss it into the trash and then try to dispute the charge.
In the case of a mistakenly delivered item, you will need to return it to the business and show proof that you have attempted to resolve the mistake with them. You can only dispute the charge if the merchant refuses to give you a refund or exchange the item.
You will be asked to produce documentary evidence that the product was defective or not as described along with your claim, so retain all receipts and order info, and hang on to the actual product.
Take note of the supporting documents you need to submit
Know what supporting documents you need to submit a chargeback claim so you don’t accidentally throw away important information.
Here are some of the documents you will need to make the following types of claims:
- Goods and services not received: Written correspondences reflecting attempts to resolve dispute with the business, detailed description of goods and services, proof of date of delivery and projected delivery date, documentation showing that the business is unable to provide the goods or services (eg. evidence that the business has closed down)
- Goods or services are defective/not as described: Written correspondences reflecting attempts to resolve dispute with the business, detailed description of goods and services, certification on authenticity of goods/services, date and proof that goods/services have been returned or cancelled, letter explaining defects/damages/difference in quality, documentation on calculated unused amount for partially used goods or services
- Transaction errors: written documentation reflecting attempts to resolve dispute with business, proof that payment was made by other means (eg. other bank or card statements), documentation showing authorised amount, currency or account number (for incorrect transactions)
- Unauthorised transactions: None if card was lost or stolen; in the event of a cancelled recurring transaction (eg. being billed for a gym membership that has already been cancelled), written documentation reflecting attempts to resolve dispute with business, and documentation proving that a prior cancellation was made and received by the business.
When you sign up for packages, keep a record of what you have used
Whenever you sign up for packages—whether they be a 12-manicure package at your favourite nail salon, 6 months worth of Crossfit sessions or a home renovation package—make sure you keep a record of what you have used and what services you have been provided. Get the business to indicate clearly what has been used.
At each session, make sure it is clear not just what has been used, but what has not. That’s because, if you later try to get your money back, you will need to prove how many sessions or services you have not yet used.
Have you ever had an experience with credit card charge disputes? Share your experiences in the comments.