If you are NOT Satisfied with a Credit Card Purchase, YOU Have Rights!
In the United States, the Fair Credit Billing Act allows for consumer protection in the event of unsatisfactory purchases, and undelivered or misrepresented services/products. If you are unsatisfied with a purchase from a store, there are things you can do. If the merchant refuses to refund your money or replace the item, you may be able to take action against your credit card company. Your
rights are established by law, but they depend on certain things, such
as the purpose of your purchase (business or personal), how much the product cost, and how far from home you were when you made the purchase.
First, there are some factors regarding your purchase that must be considered to determine if the credit card company is legally liable:
of card that you used - You must have charged
the item by using the charge card issued by the store where
you bought it or by using a bank card, rebate card, or travel
card. Even if two stores are owned by a parent company, one store will not give you a refund for purchases made at another store (Gap will not refund your money for a purchase made at Old Navy, for example).
of merchandise - If
the merchandise was bought with a card notissued
by the seller, then the product must cost more than
$50. If you paid $49.99, you're out of luck, legally.
Then the dispute is between you and the merchant,
and the credit card issuer doesn't have to spend
time resolving the matter.
and timing of complaint - You
must complain in writing within 60 days after
the first bill containing the error arrives.
Some bank cards will intervene on your behalf
even if you don't write them until after
the time limit, but they may charge you an
additional fee for doing so.
of transaction - The
purchase must have occurred within
your home state or within 100 miles
of your billing address, unless the
item was purchased with the seller's
charge card. If you travel more than 100 miles from your billing address to make a purchase, your bank card doesn't legally
have to become involved in your quest
for a refund. However, many card
issuers will waive this mileage rule. You just have to ask, politely. Catalogues,
Internet sales, and phone orders
may be considered in-state purchases,
since information is sent to your
home or the merchandise was advertised
locally. State law may vary, but
these purchases are generally protected.
Overseas purchases are also frequently
covered under consumer protection
There are some circumstances underwhich the card company is not legally responsible. Some of these include:
- Business purchases - The card issuer has no responsibility for the transaction if a purchase was made for business purposes.
you've already paid for your merchandise - it won't help to contact
your credit card company if the purchase is paid for already.. If a product is defective or stops working after it is paid for, your dispute is with the store and not
with your card issuer. Your best course of action in this case is to
contact the store, the manufacturer, and/or the service center.
- You sign a blank receipt - If you sign a blank credit card receipt before services are rendered, and the service provider determines that additional costs are necessary above and beyond what was quoted, you are still liable. Take your car mechanic for instance. If you sign a blank credit card authorization before final charges are tallied, and the mechanic determines that additional repairs are necessary above and beyond the initial estimate, you may
still have to pay him.
You have received
a benefit for your
payment, and you
signed the authorization
for an unsatisfactory
As we said, you do have purchase protections under the law. If you feel you were ripped off by a merchant, under US Federal law, you must first
try to settle
by going directly
to the merchant.
If the company
is still in
will need to
show that you've
made a good
the matter. Keep
with the merchant,
on phone conversations
60 days of
on your statement.
nature of dissatisfaction).
you may withhold
or late fees
will be charged.
the credit card company does
not believe the merchant
is at fault, you will be
expected to pay for the item.
If you don't, you risk being
sued, losing your credit
rating, and having the card
company turn your bill over
for collection. You may choose
to continue your dispute
with the merchant by going
to small claims court. While
the dispute continues, you
should send a letter to the
credit bureaus explaining
the apparent delay in your
Related Pages in Our Site: Using Credit Cards Properly | Pros and Cons of Credit Cards | Credit Card Basics
Disclaimer: We have built this resource with great care and expertise. We try to keep the articles current and up-to-date, but this isn't always possible given the ever-changing financial and lending markets. As such, DirectLendingSolutions.com provides no guarantees, and NO WARRANTY, expressed or implied, for the accuracy of any information provided, or its applicability to your financial situation. We strongly suggest that you consult your own financial advisor to determine the best course of action for your financial situation.