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How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge
Posted By Jim On 02/17/2010 @ 7:28 am In Credit | 38 Comments
Last month, I went to a Trader Joe’s to buy a package of coffee filters. For whatever reason, their packages of unbleached cone filters are always remarkably cheaper than anywhere else, despite Trader Joe’s higher end reputation. On this particular trip, there was some sort of technical problem with the register. I would swipe my card, sign in the box, and then the system would skip the receipt printout step. Each time (this happened three times), the person working the counter would politely insist that charge didn’t go through and we’d have to swipe it again. We did this three times.
Unfortunately, the only technical problem was that a receipt wasn’t printed and it wasn’t until a week later that I saw I had three charges for one box of coffee filters. The
tricky annoying part about all this was that the charges were for only $1.80 each, which meant I was only out $3.60. Part of me wished it was more like $360 so that be more worth my time to deal with it!
If you need to dispute a credit card charge, here’s what you should do:
However, the most important tip to take away from this is how to avoid disputable charges in the first place. If there’s something non-trivial (we use $50-$100, depending on the product, as our bar), save your receipt and warranty if they exist. Your credit card will protect you from outright fraud but there are a lot of gray areas where documentation will be very important. If there is any ambiguity, try to have it clarified before you buy.
In the end, I opted to let the charges go because it just didn’t make sense for me to make the trip and spend the time required to get the charges reversed.
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 Fair Credit Billing Act: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre16.shtm
 EECB: http://consumerist.com/2007/05/how-to-launch-an-executive-email-carpet-bomb.html
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