Have you ever found a charge on your statement that didn’t seem right? Perhaps a retailer made an unauthorized charge, or you’ve found a charge with a retailer’s name that you don’t recognize. You might even have been charged for the wrong item, or for one that you didn’t receive.

Credit cards may offer an opportunity to dispute certain charges such as improper charges, billing errors, unauthorized and fraudulent transactions, goods and services you didn’t accept or weren’t delivered as agreed, and more.

What You Should Do Before You Dispute a Charge

Before initiating a dispute with your credit card issuer, an easy first step is to try to resolve the issue directly with the business. For example, if a store accidentally billed you twice for an item, they may offer you a refund of the extra charge.

If you do not recognize a transaction because the name or location of the retailer is unfamiliar, try to contact them right away. You might find that it was actually a company that you bought something from, but the charge appeared on your statement with an unfamiliar name, or the location listed on your statement is for a headquarters and not the exact location you purchased from. And, if you are unsatisfied with a purchase, the store may agree to offer you a replacement or a refund without the need to dispute a charge.

Starting a Dispute

If you are unable to resolve the problem directly with the business, then you should consider initiating a dispute. In most cases, you can contact your credit card issuer by phone and request to dispute a specific charge. You will need to specify the name of the business as it appears on your statement, the date of the charge, its amount and the reason for the dispute. Additionally, the credit card issuer may also ask for you to share any further documentation.

In general, the issuer will ensure you are not paying for the charge while it is in dispute. Also, you may not be responsible for interest charges on the disputed amount during the investigation.

What Happens Next

Within a few weeks, you may receive a letter or email indicating the investigation is complete along with the outcome of the investigation. Or, you may receive a letter or email requesting additional information to help with the investigation on the dispute. Uploading documentation can potentially help your case.

For example, if you were charged the wrong amount, then you could provide receipts for your purchase showing the correct price. Or, if you were promised a refund, you could provide proof of that promise to your issuer. These examples both provide information that a credit card issuer may need to help dispute the charge.

If the dispute is resolved in your favor, the credit becomes permanent. However, if the investigation concludes that you are not entitled to the credit, the charge will be reapplied to your account and you will be once again responsible for payment.

The Bottom Line

Credit cards may help protect consumers during a dispute. Discover’s dispute resolution resources provide answers to cardmembers’ questions about their options for disputing a charge and the specific steps they need to take.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.