How to Dispute a Charge with a Bank or Credit Card Company. Charges may appear on your bank account or credit card summary as a result of identity theft, merchant errors or bank errors. If you see duplicate or fraudulent charges, quick action needs to be taken to protect your account and your credit rating. Here are some helpful tips to dispute a charge you don't recognize on your account.
Check to be sure that you are still in possession of your ATM, debit or credit cards. If you've noticed an unfamiliar charge, first make sure your card has not been lost or stolen. If it has, report it immediately to avoid further charges and liability.
Compile your evidence. Gather your bank statement, credit card statement or any receipts. Have the information in front of you before you contact the bank, merchant or credit company.
Call the merchant. If you have a charge that is a duplicate of a previous charge or in the wrong amount, contact the merchant to resolve the issue. Sometimes this can be handled over the phone by providing some basic information about the date of service, time and amount.
Initiate a dispute with your bank if the dispute cannot be resolved with the merchant. Give them a call, and document who you spoke with and the steps they've suggested to further the dispute.
Write a letter. You may also need to include a specific form your bank or credit company may require. Be sure to fill out all the detailed information, include any copies of receipts or statements and send by certified mail.
Contact the fraud department. If you have multiple charges, inform your bank or credit company that you suspect identity theft, and cancel any cards to prevent further charges.
Communicate that you know the rules. The Fair Credit Billing Act limits a cardholder's liability for unauthorized credit card charges to $50 in most cases. An ATM card that is lost or stolen should be reported within two days for the same limited liability, but after two days you could be responsible for up to $500 of fraudulent charges.
Follow-up with your contacts in a timely manner. There are limitations to how far out a charge may be disputed. Most banks and credit companies require notification within 60 days of the charge.
Be persistent and don't give up. If you are not getting the results you wish from your bank or credit company, write to the credit bureaus to dispute any charges. Credit bureaus are required by law to investigate any charges you claim to be false. This may also protect or repair any damage to your credit rating.
Learn the laws that are in place to protect your from theft or fraud. Make sure you know your bank's policies regarding disputes. Check your credit yearly for accuracy.
You may need to file a report with your local police department for documentation and reimbursement. Don't be afraid to ask for a supervisor. Be polite but progress up the chain of command if you are not getting the responses you think you should be getting.