General Question

tonystubblebine's avatar

Is there any downside to disputing a credit card charge?

Asked by tonystubblebine (152points) June 10th, 2008

I canceled my Sirius account last month and then got billed for it again this month. I called them up but they were closed so I disputed the charge through my credit card’s website and got the charge refunded.

Morally I feel great about this. I’d made an honest effort to cancel my account both by actually canceling my account and giving a followup call. I don’t think it’s fair for me to carry the burden of their mistake, so I was happy to quickly resolve the issue through my credit card. Plus, I’m pretty sure the merchant pays a financial penalty on disputed charges (beyond the refund). That seems fair.

I’d like to use this feature more often. But I’m afraid that there will be a downside to my relationship with my credit card. Does anyone know?

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9 Answers

waterskier2007's avatar

your relationship with your credit card? and what do you mean you would like to use this feature more, you can only use it when you have something disputable and if there is ever a dispute with money, i would definitely fix it

tonystubblebine's avatar

Re: relationship with my credit card. If disputing charges costs my credit card money I expect that they will raise my rates or cancel my card. That’s what I’m wondering.

Re: disputable. There’s tons of things that are disputable that I spend hours solving through bureaucratic customer service that could just as easily be solved by disputing the charge through my credit card. Why should I (or you) have to spend an hour on hold when we could spend five minutes filling out a web form?

tonystubblebine's avatar

Update: my CC company (Chase) reversed the charges although, offline, a friend claimed that I may one day need to show documentation. I don’t have any, so that would send me back down the path of resolving this through Sirius.

marinelife's avatar

It should not be your first resort. You are so right that the burden of customer service has been shifted to the consumer. Unfortunately, that is the accepted way of the world right now. If you continually dispute charges on your credit card, the card company will flag you and probably investigate you for fraud.

As to your Sirius problem, it is best to make a paper trail. Send them a letter in writing with the dates you contacted them and the outcomes of the contacts detailed. Tell them in the letter that because they did not cancel your account as promised, you disputed the charge on your credit card bill. List if you know it the name of the customer service rep you spoke to for the cancellation as well as the date. If they sent you a confirming email, indicate that in the letter. Keep a copy of the letter and that will be your documentation if the credit card company asks for it.

jballou's avatar

You should definitely NOT make a habit of disputing charges through your credit card company. Even in the case you mentioned, you probably could have gotten the oversight corrected through Sirius by just waiting a day and calling them back. I’m not sure of the technical term for it, but when you dispute a charge your file at the CC company keeps that on record. And just the same way that filing multiple claims with your car insurance agency (whether warranted or not) affects your future premium, any excessive activity will alert their fraud department to keep a closer watch on your activities.

Now this may not have any negative effects that will reflect on you, they won’t raise your APR or anything like that, but at a certain point every dispute you make will be fully investigated and you may be dropped as a cardholder when your card expires.

Disputing charges should only be used as a last resort if you are dealing with an uncooperative vendor or a case of genuine fraud or identity theft.

tonystubblebine's avatar

So does the negative track record only go to one CC or does it follow you on your permanent record? If a CC cancels your card or refuses to renew, does that end up on your credit report?

Response moderated (Spam)
shirleylopez's avatar

Yes, everything concerning your credit card and your credit is reported to the bureau. Too much disputes is not good for your credit score.

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