Many people who have credit cards and use them regularly have received statements with charges they did not make. Some of those charges may be due to merchants’ errors, and the credit card company may be responsible for billing errors as well.

Cardholders can be victims of fraud when someone uses their credit card information to make purchases. If you receive a credit card statement with charges you do not recognize, you have a good chance of resolving the issue when you follow certain steps to formally dispute a credit card charge.

How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge

1. When you do not recognize a charge, check to see if the amount matches one of your receipts because some companies use different names for billing purposes.

2. Contact the merchant that submitted the charge, and ask for a correction. Many times, the merchant’s phone number will be on the statement. If you do not know how to contact the merchant, your credit card company can give you the information you need to reach them.

3. If the merchant cannot give you a remedy, contact the credit card company, and explain the situation to their representative.

4. If your phone call does not bring the desired results, follow the call with a written statement, including all pertinent information, and keep a copy for your records. According to the Federal Reserve Board Regulation Z, you have 60 calendar days from the statement date to write to the credit card company stating your complaint.

5. If you are disputing the amount of a charge, send a copy of the receipt if possible.

6. It is essential to act quickly if you discover an error on your credit card statement, especially if you suspect fraud. You should always follow certain practices when you use a credit card, and those steps will help you dispute a charge if you receive a statement with an error.

7. Keep all receipts until you check them against your statement.

8. If you make purchases by phone or on the Internet without getting a receipt, make a note of each charge.

9. Review your statement shortly after receiving it every month, and check it against your receipts and notes.

10. Report any discrepancies immediately.

Multiple charges that you do not recognize on your statement may indicate that someone has your account number, and you should report it immediately, so your credit card company can cancel that number and send you a new card with a new number. The customer is liable for the first $50 in fraudulent charges on a credit card statement, but most companies do not enforce this rule.

Many card issuers monitor customer’s charges and notify them if they notice unusual charges on their accounts. This prevents excessive fraudulent charges, which could occur if they do not discover the fraud until card users receive their statements.

Many credit card companies remove disputed charges from bills until the matter is settled, so if your card issuer follows this practice, you will not have to pay the charge in question until you know the outcome. If you always pay your bill on time, your credit card company will usually be eager to keep you happy with their services and help you with disputes.

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