If you have noticed a charge on your Visa card that doesn't look legitimate or you're having a problem with a store or vendor that sold you a defective product, you may need to stop the charge. Fortunately, there is a process by which you can do this. You have to be sure to follow the correct steps to preserve your legal rights.
If the situation warrants it, try to first resolve the problem with the merchant who made the charge. You will need to document your efforts to get the charge removed by Visa if the merchant doesn't take care of the situation. If the charge is for something you did not purchase or do not recognize, skip this step and start with step 2.
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Call the issuer of your Visa card to dispute the charge. You can call the customer service number on the back of your card and select the option to file a dispute or ask to be connected to the correct department by the operator. Be prepared to give specifics, such as the date on which the charge was made, the vendor and the reason for your dispute. Document the date and time of your call and the name of the Visa representative to whom you speak.
Immediately follow up on your verbal dispute with a letter that spells out the same information you provided verbally. If you tried to resolve the situation with the vendor, include proof of your efforts. The Fair Credit Billing Act requires you to send this letter within 60 days from the date that the disputed charge was made. Investopedia advises that you send it with a return receipt requested, so you have proof that it was delivered within the allotted time.
Check your account balance to see if your Visa card issuer temporarily removed the disputed charge from your account. Many of the larger issuers will do this as a courtesy while the matter is being investigated. However, if the credit card company decides that the charge is legitimate, it will be placed back on your account.
According to Investopedia, you should continue to pay your Visa account, even if the issuer doesn't immediately remove the charge. If the issuer finds that your dispute is correct, it will be required to remove the charge at the end of the investigation. In the meantime, if you don't pay on your account, you can rack up late charges and interest.
If you do not hear anything within 60 days of filing your dispute, follow up with your Visa card issuer. You can conduct the follow-up via telephone, although you may wish to document the conversation in a letter afterwards, if appropriate.
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, for you to file a dispute, the charge much be over $50 and the transaction must have occurred within 100 miles of your address. However, many credit card companies will waive these requirements to protect their customers who make purchases over the Internet from vendors located in a different state.