As a merchant, it's possible that you'll see a credit card dispute at some point in your business. Many businesses for one reason or another have already experienced a customer disputing a charge and have had to deal with a "Chargeback". This week, however, we wanted to address the issue of what happens when you, as the cardholder, see an error or an unauthorized charge on your own credit card.
The major card brands such as Visa, MasterCard and Discover all have established, published guidelines as to what protections are afforded to cardholders. Generally speaking, the cardholder holds zero liability in the instance of fraud, misrepresentation or error.
In the event that you see an error (The amount is different than what you agreed upon or different than your receipt, an accidental double charge, etc.) it is generally recommended that you contact the merchant directly to try and resolve the issue. If the issue isn't resolved, or if you do not want to contact the merchant, you can contact your card issuer (your bank or credit card issuer) and they have an obligation to investigate the issue by creating either a "retrieval" or a "chargeback". The merchant will then be given an opportunity to dispute your claim and based on the information received within the allotted time the issuer will make a determination. Generally speaking, excepting gross negligence or fraud on the part of the cardholder, the issuer will rule in the best interest of the cardholder.
Unauthorized Charges/ Lost or Stolen Credit Cards
If you lose your credit card, believe it has been stolen or see a charge that you did not authorize, contact your card issuer immediately. This is usually the result of identity theft in one form or another. The process of reporting can take a while, so be prepared to answer a lot of questions. They will try to determine if there was any negligence on the part of the cardholder, and try to identify, if possible, when and how any fraudulent transactions occurred. They will then go through your recent transaction history and try to find if there are any other unauthorized transactions. While the questions and method may seem as if they are accusing you, stay calm, answer honestly and provide any supporting data that you can. Their main job is to establish that fraud has occurred, once that's established, their job is to protect the cardholder.
While hopefully you don't experience credit card fraud personally, having an understanding of your rights and how to handle fraud when it occurs can help significantly when it happens.
If you have questions on how these disputes work on the merchant side, give us a call at 1-800-644-3909 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Agapay Team