How to Dispute a Transaction and Get Your Money Back

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

How to Dispute a Transaction and Get Your Money Back

Have you ever ordered something online that was never delivered? Bought something that turned out to be a complete dud? Had fraudulent charges on your credit or debit card? Credit and debit cards make life easy. But what is your recourse when a card transaction goes wrong? Keep reading to learn DoNotPay's tips for how to online.

If you happen to find yourself in any of these situations, you would want your money back, pronto. Consumers in the US have the right to dispute charges on their credit or debit cards if the merchant won't refund the money.

Fair Credit Billing Act

Congress passed the Fair Credit Billing Act in 1974. This law gives you the right to dispute card transactions and billing errors. The most common way consumers do this is to file a dispute with the card issuer. The FCBA lets you withhold payment of the disputed amount and any interest or late fees that the amount accrues, but you still have to pay the other charges on your card. Also, the card issuer cannot report you as delinquent in your payments until the investigation is concluded.

Reasons For You To Ask For a Chargeback

If you're wondering if you have a transaction that is eligible for dispute, here are the reasons you may have a case under the FCBA.

  1. Unauthorized charges - if your card or card data is stolen and someone uses your card, you are not responsible for any charges on the account after the first $50. Most card issuers waive that charge and give you zero liability protection.
  2. Charges with incorrect amounts or dates.
  3. Charges for goods or services that were not delivered as promised -- damaged, lost, or stolen items. Something that breaks or doesn't work as promised falls into this category.
  4. Any questionable charges - you have the right to request written proof of purchase or receipt and explanation if you believe there is a billing error.
  5. The FCBA also allows you to not pay the disputed amount, or interest and late fees, on the amount in dispute until the investigation is finished. You still have to pay the charges that aren't in dispute.

Chargeback or Refund?

RefundMost consumers start by asking the merchant for a refund. Take the defective item and the receipt back to the retailer if you made the purchase in person. If you bought something online, contact customer support and explain the issue before you ask for a refund.
ChargebackIf the merchant won't give your money back, then it's time to dispute the charge on your debit or credit card with the card issuer and ask for a chargeback to your account. A chargeback is basically a refund that comes from the card issuer and not the merchant.

You are within your rights to ask for a refund for an item you willingly purchased. As long as the item isn 't used or damaged due to your mishandling, you should be able to get your money back.

Steps for Filing a Transaction Dispute

There are three ways you can start the claim:

  1. By mail
  2. Online
  3. By phone

There are four players in the disputed transaction process:

  1. You
  2. Card issuer -- bank, credit union, retailer, airline, alumni association, or whatever institution issued the card.
  3. Card network -- the central clearinghouse company that sends the money back and forth: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover
  4. Merchant

Once you start the claim, the card issuer may ask you to upload supporting documents. These are the next steps.

  1. The card company reviews the dispute and determines if there is evidence to dispute the transaction and request a chargeback.
  2. If the request is accepted, the card issuer lets the network know and they will issue at least a temporary credit to your account.
  3. The network also reviews the transaction and either sends the dispute to the merchant or requires the issuing card company to pay the charge.
  4. The merchant's bank either forwards the dispute to the merchant or sends it back saying you are at fault.
  5. The merchant either accepts the chargeback or disputes the case. This can go back and forth for a few rounds.
  6. The card network makes your chargeback permanent.

It can take up to two billing cycles to settle the dispute, so be patient.

How DoNotPay Can Do the Work for You

You can log into the DoNotPay website from your browser and let us do all that work for you. Simply fill out the form and upload any documents and we 'll take care of the rest.

DoNotPay Offers Other Services

If a company declines to issue a refund, use DoNotPay to get a chargeback on the transaction. We can help with chargebacks such as:

Our app can do much more than this! Visit DoNotPay and get help with:

Want your issue solved now?