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Disputing a Credit Card Charge

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You may have heard the advice to always book travel using a credit card, so you can dispute the charge if necessary. But do you actually know how to dispute a charge?

The Fair Credit Billing Act is what protects credit-card users, meaning we can withhold payment if we don’t receive the goods agreed upon.

Before stopping payment, try to resolve the situation. That means calling the travel provider to discuss the situation. Write down the full names and ID numbers everyone you talk to, and keep a log of your conversation.

And this is important: Never take no for an answer from someone who’s not empowered to say “yes” in the first place. Go as high up as you can.

If that doesn’t get results, put your complaint in writing, keep a copy, and send it to the travel provider by certified mail.

If there’s still no response, you have to contact the credit card company within 60 days of it appearing on your statement.

Send the written dispute by certified mail to the billing address on your credit-card statement—NOT the customer service department. Check out for a standard complaint letter to get you started.

Include your receipt and the copy of your original complaint letter.

Now, there’s a catch. The Fair Credit Billing Act is only valid for purchases of more than $50 that take place in your state or within 100 miles of your home address.

The good news is, most credit-card companies don’t enforce that rule, but you have been warned.

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