Letters to Dispute Credit Card Charges

Kathleen Esposito
Upset Woman

If you are having problems with a charge placed on your credit card in error, a credit dispute letter to your credit card issuer can help. Knowing what information to place in these letters can get your account credited with as little hassle as possible.

Write a Credit Dispute Letter

After you've spoken to a merchant and you haven't been able to immediately resolve a credit dispute, immediately contact the customer service department of your credit card issuer. To protect your rights, you will need to report the dispute to your credit card issuer in writing within 60 days of the date on the first billing statement with the charge you are disputing. Explaining your dispute over the phone is not enough.

Some credit card issuers can generate a dispute letter for you, though you will still need to sign it and attach documentation such as your receipt and correspondence you may have sent to the merchant.

Writing your own credit dispute letter is easy. Listen carefully to what your customer service representative tells you to include in the letter. Most letters need to have the following information:

  • The date of the transaction and the transaction number from your statement
  • The name of the merchant
  • The address of where the transaction happened, if known
  • The amount of the disputed charge- whether it is the entire amount or part of the total amount
  • Why you think the charge is an error (wrong tip amount, duplicate charge, unauthorized charge, etc.)
  • What you have done to resolve the dispute with the merchant
  • Be sure to put a date on this letter and actually sign your letter, not just type your name at the end of the letter

Mail the letter and any documentation back to the card issuer via return receipt requested to prove the date you mailed the documentation. Don't mail the letter to the address you send your payments to. Instead, look for the address for "billing inquiries." It should be on the back of your statement. If you can't find it, call customer service and ask.

Here is an example of a letter:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to dispute a charge of [amount] on my credit card account from [name of merchant]. This charge is dated [insert date] on my billing statement. I have enclosed a copy of the statement with the disputed charge circled. I would like this charge reversed because [explain why here]. I have tried to settle the issue with the merchant, but they [refuse, went out of business, etc.].

Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, I request that this error be corrected and that finance charges and fees associated with the charge be credited to my account. In support of my dispute, I am enclosing [a sales receipt with the correct amount, proof of payment, a copy of the police report if your wallet was stolen, etc.]. Please investigate and correct this issue as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Your signature

Your printed name

Enclosures: [number of enclosures]

Follow Up Inquiries

Always follow up your letter with a phone call to your credit card company at least two weeks after you mail the letter to them. Occasionally correspondence gets lost in the mail, and it can delay the resolution of your dispute. Your credit card issuer has 30 days to respond back to you that they have received your documentation. According to federal law, credit card disputes have to be resolved by the card issuer within two billing cycles (or 90 days) after they receive your dispute letter.

If your credit card company contacts you for additional information, be sure to respond quickly. Usually the additional information can be given over the phone or faxed once they have your original dispute letter with a valid signature.

Dispute Resolution

While you are disputing a charge, you do not have to pay that portion of your bill. However, you are responsible for paying any other charges that appear on your statement. Credit card companies typically place a temporary credit on your account while the disputed charge is being researched.

Disputes that are resolved in your favor will be credited to your account, according to your credit card company's policy. This may occur within one billing cycle of the dispute being resolved.

Letters to Dispute Credit Card Charges