Using Credit Cards for Large Purchases: Retaining Your Dispute Rights with Merchants
When making large purchases, or in instances where you know little about a Merchant, I always use my MasterCard, VISA, or American Express.
In the case of MC and VISA, the bank issuing the card must follow internationally recognized charter rules by MasterCard and VISA International for the resolution of disputes between a cardholder and the merchant.
MC and VISA have VERY similar dispute categories and resolution processes.
Some Dispute Types:
Item Ordered, Not Received; Item or Service Quality Not As Expected, Unrecognized Charge from Merchant, Unauthorized Charge by Merchant, Merchant Charge Higher Than Expected, etc. etc.
A cardholder has these dispute-rights, both for domestic and international goods and services. For a merchant to conduct and accept MC/VISA transactions, they must agree to these cardholder dispute rights, or they may not accept these cards for commerce.
The timeframes to dispute a merchant transaction is generally 180 days from the date the change first posts to your account.
Look at your credit card statements online, or check your monthly bill. Don't recognize a charge from a merchant? The item you ordered is not how it was described? The quality of the hotel, or the quality of the paintwork you had done to your Peugeot?
Dispute it with the credit card's issuing bank. The issuing bank will "chargeback" the merchant, or take back the charge from the merchant, and credit your account for the amount in dispute. Your card company will ask that you first contact, or attempt a contact with the merchant for remedy. KEEP RECORDS: Times, Dates, Who you spoke with, what they said, what they would do, and when.
The merchant must respond to the cardholder's bank chargeback with evidence that refutes your claim "Yes, your Rolex was shipped 03/21/2011 via UPS, Tracking Number XYZ>>>, etc.", for example.
I've greatly simplified the dispute process, though.
But, the burden of proof is on the merchant to show evidence that you did indeed order those magazine subscriptions, did get your ThinkPad from Lenovo, and are happy with the goods and services you've received, and so forth.
If I know and/or have a current relationship with a merchant, and a problem occurs, I'll talk with them about a resolution. Never had a problem in this way.
If I'm ordering a large item with an internet merchant, whom I've never done business with before, I ALWAYS use my MC, VISA, or AMEX.
American Express' disputes process is similar, but stronger than either Mastercard or VISA International.
Call your card companies, or look online for more about your dispute rights!
ALWAYS use a credit card for purchases with merchants you know nothing or little about. Aggressively pursue disputes with uncooperative, unresponsive, or otherwise fraudulent merchants.
All the best,
Salt Lake City, Utah USA
97 S320, 91,100 miles, all is well, where's my &#$*@ summer!