What Is A Chargeback?

A chargeback is when the credit card company withdraws the money for a transaction from a merchant’s account and deposited in a consumer’s following a dispute.

Basically, you do a chargeback when you feel like you’re not getting what you paid for, in terms of the quality or type of good or service.

To start a chargeback, contact your credit card company and ask. A dispute process begins and the merchant will have to provide proof they rendered service properly. If the merchant can’t provide sufficient evidence, the credit card company debits the transaction amount from the merchant’s account and credits it to your account.

Additionally, the credit card company charges the merchant a chargeback fee.

We urge consumers to only use chargebacks as a last resort and never before making several attempts to resolve an issue directly with a merchant. The last step before doing a chargeback is to threaten to use one. Sometimes that’s enough to change a vendor’s mind and let them know you’re serious.

Have you ever used a chargeback? How did it work out? — BEN POPKEN


Edit Your Comment

  1. faust1200 says:

    Gosh I’ve been sounding like an ad for Citibank lately but anyway…every chargeback I’ve done with Citibank has been easy. Sometimes I had to sign a form, that’s it. The chargeback which was the most “heroic” was when I bought a high end CD player that was working correctly about 80% of the time. I sent it back to the out-of-state stereo store and I received a nasty letter from them saying there was nothing wrong with the player and they would be charging me 15% restocking fee. Considering the player was a few grand I wasn’t happy. Citibank understood my situation and within a few weeks I was credited. Comparatively, on my GM Card they insist on a written letter describing the situation before they will take any action. They seem to have a “dragging their feet” attitude.

  2. Jewcy says:

    I’ve successfully used a chargeback with Capital One recently. I was screwed by an Ebay Store seller, had plenty of email back and forth with them, but they still never delivered the product that I paid for. I filled out an online form on Capital One’s website and within about 3 weeks they had sent me a letter stating that they had credited the amount back to my account (about $35). They also stated that I should have advised them of the situation within 3 months so that they could have contacted the seller, but I think they overlooked it because it was such a small amount of money.

  3. bostonmike says:

    I’ve used chargebacks about once a year, sometimes for overcharges and sometimes for merchandise that was never delivered. For small amounts (less than $25), the credit card issuer often doesn’t actually do a chargeback. Instead they just credit my account and write it off. It’s frustrating to know that the merchant is getting away with an overcharge or wrong charge, but the credit card issuer has clearly decided that it’s not worth the paperwork to deal with small chargebacks.

  4. nightbird says:

    This unfortunately only seems to work for actual credit cards. I don’t use credit cards, and rely on my Mastercard branded HSBC debit card for electronic payments. I tried to do a charge dispute once after a computer repair shop grossly overcharged me on memory I didn’t need or want. HSBC did investigate my claim, but in the end they just said that since I had signed the reciept, I accepted the amount of charge. Lesson learned to me, I guess in the future if I know there is a problem with what I’m paying for, I should try something like this guy:

  5. zentec says:

    Having had my own merchant account for my business for ten years, I can assure you there’s a right and a wrong way to start a chargeback.

    First, do it in writing. Always. You can initiate the process with a phone call if you feel it necessary, but doing it in writing puts the complaint right in front of the business office at the business. At that point, the merchant has about seven to ten business days to respond to the credit card company. Failure to respond results in the charge back being honored.

    Second, if the merchandise is the reason for the complaint, four words will nearly always cement your claim. “Goods not as advertised” followed by a reason why they’re not, will on most occasions get you your money back. But you better be able to explain why.

    Keep in mind however, that if you’re on very shaky ground concerning your charge back, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that it will be denied. This is especially true if you have not worked with the merchant to resolve the situation, you still have the merchandise or if you are simply being unreasonable.

    The rules for what the card companies call excessive charge backs have tightened over the years and it causes many small businesses to fight every opportunity. The only ones I lost were the ones that I felt that it was better to just have the customer go away and convince them to never step foot into the store every again.

  6. sixtoe says:

    I ordered a garage door and installation from Home Depot (I know, big mistake) a few years back. When I got home from work on the day it was installed, everything looked hunky-dory. Except there were no windows in the door (I paid extra for them). After a few weeks of “we’ll get back to you to schedule a re-installation,” I initiated a chargeback. The problem was fixed within a couple of days.

  7. I have attempted one at one time but Visa refused. My wallet was stolen in late 2003 and rather than report my card as stolen immediately I did the “It has to be around here somewhere” game all weekend.

    Come Monday, the thieves took a trip to Anchorage (2 tanks of gas) and I reported this as a fraudulent charge and canceled the card. After providing a police report as well as proof that I didn’t even own a vehicle (no way to get to Anchorage from Fairbanks) – Visa says, “You should have canceled immediately – this isn’t fraudulent.” Chargeback was denied for the same reason.

    Moral of the story: cancel your card immediately!

  8. tricknick says:

    Having worked the financial side of a business before I know that chargebacks can be not only a hassle to a business, but a significant loss of profit. That said, I have in fact called in a chargeback (I would only do so under extreme circumstances).

    A few years ago, I was building a computer and ordered 2 of the components from ‘Company X.’ Company X not only waited 3 weeks to ship my items, but when I received the package, it only contained one item. The packaging slip only had the one item listed, but my credit card had been charged for both items. The company did not reply to emails and their phone had been disconnected (if it ever worked). MBNA was quick to refund my the money to my account. I sent them copies of all of my receipts and never heard back from the company.

    MBNA was extremely cooperative and I wouldn’t hesitate to contact them again in a similar situation, but I would urge anyone to only use chargebacks when the situation absolutely calls for it.

  9. hellinmyeyes says:

    I worked for a large national real estate advertising company’s support division. Fairly often, I’d get a call saying “I can’t believe you guys did this to my ad!! I already called my credit card company for a chargeback, and I’m getting my money back… Take these ads down!” Most often, this was a customer that never once called our support division to have the advertising fixed or even to complain that something was wrong.

    Our finance division mentioned to me many times on occasion that we won the chargebacks fairly often, but AMEX was the worst. AMEX will give its customers chargebacks for almost any or no reason at all, and we’re left to eat the costs.

    I agree with the final advice, though. ONLY use a chargeback as a last resort if you ever have any hope of keeping your value as a consumer of a business. Chargebacks can be nasty for everyone involved /except/ the consumer. But if everything (the eight/nine steps of getting your problems resolved) has been exhausted, then do it and get your money back.

  10. nickmil says:

    I have only had to resort to a charge back twice. The one I remember best was for tickets I purchased for a local music festival.

    I purchased the tickets online weeks ahead of the event. Needless to say, the tickets never showed, and to make matters worse, the event sold out. I was definitely upset about not making the show, so I called the promotor’s office the next day to no answer. For the next week they did not respond to phone calls or emails. Finally, I called American Express and began the dispute process. I had a credit in my account the same day, and that was pretty much that. The company did not even respond to Amex!

  11. AT203 says:

    Can anyone speak to the dangers of a merchant sending your debt to collections after initiating a chargeback?

  12. eldergias says:

    I have to say the same thing as faust1200. I have done 2 charge backs, one for $8 and one for $180, both with Citibank and both were easy as pie. The first one Citibank said they would just credit my account and not bother the merchant. The second one I told them my problems they placed a hold on the charge and did all the work with the merchant. The merchant never responded to my emails or the contacts from Citibank for at the end of the response period the money was refunded to me. Citibank also told me to keep the product I had purchased. I tried to be nice and contact the merchant to send it back, but never got a response.

    I always thought they they were so great to me because I put everything I spend on my Citi card and always pay the balance in full, so I have good standing with the company. I was really surprised they just wrote off my $8. I know its not much, but evil faceless corporate America isn’t supposed to do nice things for their customers, they are supposed to shoot for bottom dollar. That is why I love Citibank.

  13. MameDennis says:

    I had to do my very first chargeback in February… I’d received a shipping confirmation for a package of miniatures and craft supplies I ordered in December, but I never received it. After a few weeks, I sent a very polite email to ask if they had a tracking number.

    They emailed back, saying they’d check with the shipping department. I gave them another few weeks before emailing again. My next three emails (all very polite!) were never answered.

    I let this whole thing go on much longer than it should have because I understand that stuff sometimes simply gets lost in the mail, and I wanted to be very patient with what seemed to be a small business.

    After several weeks of unanswered messages, I sent the company a Very Stern (But Still Polite) Email basically saying that they needed to either replace the shipment or refund my card.

    The company wrote back promptly. They agreed to credit my card, claimed that they *had* credited my card, but had not, in fact, credited my card.

    Since I had given the company a number of opportunities to correct the situation, and I was variously ignored and lied to, I had no qualms about contacting BOA for a chargeback. The rep was really very helpful and sympathetic. BOA immediately credited both the purchase amount and the interest to my account. I got my money back, and I never had to deal with the lying nasty vendor again!

  14. acambras says:

    Never had to do one, but I’m glad I know how (thanks, Consumerist!)

  15. emjsea says:

    I did a charge back with Chase that was very easy. I simply called in, stated my case (briefly) and 20 minutes later I saw the charge had been credited to my account. Yay for Chase.

    My problem was that Gevalia sent me an order of coffee that I never ordered and charged it to my credit card (even though I told them repeatedly to never, ever charge things to the credit card I originally signed up with). So I call Gevalia and they tell me that my account (attached to my address) is inactive, that the account number on the invoice doesn’t exist, and that they never sent me coffee.

    Sorry to all the merchants out there, but I have better things to do with my time and my cell phone minutes than spend it on the phone with you trying to help you work out your mistake. I’ll give you a certain amount of time to fix it, but after that… that’s why I put everything on credit cards. No hassle, indeed.

  16. xkaluv says:

    I hate to be the guy who asks, but who is the girl in the photo. Wow.

  17. SOhp101 says:

    I’m surprised no one using AMEX has written about the fact that you can dispute online!

    1. click ‘question a charge’
    2. choose the charge you’re disputing,
    3. choose the reason for your dispute,
    4. write a summary of your dispute
    5. write how much you think you deserve back
    6. review and submit

    Nicer to do it in ‘writing,’ I think, than to do it over the phone, so you get the convenience of almost instantaneous submission with the ability to proofread and make corrections.

  18. medalian1 says:

    You must do a chargeback by mail to be cover your ass.

    I’ve done about 7 chargebacks and got my money back on 6 of them. I’m about to do another one this week.

  19. @nightbird: Nightbird, running debit cards as credit cards is a convenience and a selling point, but debit cards lack most of the “standard” protections that come with credit cards. It sort-of bothers me they’re marketed as “just like credit cards” when they’re NOT and people often get burned finding that out.

    (Personally, debit cards make me nervous.)

  20. chameleonz says:

    As a avid ebayer I ALWAYS pay with a credit card because of the chargeback option.
    I am dealing with a scammer based in Australia right now as a matter of fact,I paid over $150.00 for collectable CD and after a month of emails he swore he sent it to me blah blah, so I initiated a charge back so he sent me a empty envelope express mail so he could prove he sent it.
    Of course I havent opened the envelope and I have contacted my credit card company who have requested that I send it to them to begin legal proceedings against him and will cancel his account.
    This happened before and I wound up tracking the dope to Virginia got his phone number,called his Dad and the local police.The scammer was at the U of V and I also called the dean of the school.
    He was arrested and fined.HA HA!!!
    Plus I used the chargeback option and got my money back.

  21. chrismar says:

    I had to do my first chargeback in December of last year. My wife had purchased a name brand scarf from a shady online dealer. The scarf was a fake, so we sent it back. After repeated attempts to get our money back, and listening to several excuses (ie- “I was out of the country”, “I had a death in the family”, “Your refund will be issued ASAP”, etc), I finally decided to file a complaint w/ Amex. Like SOhp101, I filed it online, and about 2 months later I had my refund. Couldn’t have been easier.

  22. codegrl says:

    I’ve done a chargeback on my debit card no problem and this was years ago before Visa started the ‘Zero Liability’ thing. And I’ve had quite a few chargebacks (3 maybe, over the course of 8 years) with Capital One. Most of them have been because someone got my card number and charged porn websites to my card.
    But I did have a dispute where the merchant wouldn’t give me my refund after I returned the merchandise. They wouldn’t call me back either..so I called Capital One and had them just give me back my finance charges and all that. I say if you’re a business and aren’t communicating with your customers you deserve every fine and fee that the credit card company charges you. I’ll try once or twice to resolve the issue with the merchant, but if that doesn’t work I’m not going to waste hours and days dealing with it.

  23. @nightbird: That link is awesome.

    I’ve known for awhile now that most places don’t check because I’ve signed my own name when I borrowed my mother’s credit card.

    I haven’t done that in years but the last couple of times I did they (a shoe store and Lane Bryant) did check the card and wouldn’t let me use it because I didn’t have her ID.

  24. Wormfather says:

    Part of my Job Duties for my Home Furnishings company is to handle our chargeback disputes. I can tell you that out of every 10 disputes, 5 have already been delt with and the customer fogets to call the issuing bank, 1 out of ten customers lie and get nailed to the wall, 1 out of ten get tossed back to customer service and three out of ten we just give the customer a refund because sometimes, it’s just easier to take the merchandise back.

    So all in all, 3/5 reasonable disputes end in the customer’s favor.

    Oh and also, go american express, they will GO TO THE EXTREEEEEEEEEM to see that an amicable resolution is came too…there was one instance where we’d won the case but Amex kept working it until we (i.e. I and the CFO of the company realized we were wrong).

    Yep, that’s a sheep’s sound you heard.

  25. alhypo says:

    I’ve used these a number of times. My ex-wife got me this stupid Time-Life music subscription that I found rather difficult to cancel after our divorce. I couldn’t figure out how to get through their automated phone system and since the CD’s were going to her parent’s house I could not just refuse the shipment, so finally I called the credit-card company. Not only did they reverse the current charges but the previous four months as well (since that was when I made my first attempt to cancel).

    Time-Life did send the balance to collections, but I was able to deal with that as well.

    And as others have indicated, that is exactly why I never use debit cards.

  26. Buran says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: And that is why I charge everything, never use my debit card except to withdraw cash from ATMs, and pay the bill in full every month. I’ve gotten scammed a few times (I can’t figure out how the scammers got the info, though) and the banks (I have two cards, both have been scammed) just wipe the charges off my record and charge the merchants — some refused to cancel the charges or just ignored my demand letters — chargeback fees for illegally using my account without my consent.

    Legally I was liable for $50 of that but in practice wasn’t charged a thing.

  27. Lee Jones says:

    I’ve only used a charge-back once. We had a nice dinner at a hotel while on vacation, and on our next statement we realized they charged the card twice. A call to the restaurant manager got no results after three days, and the restaurant never called us back, so I called the card company and initiated a charge-back.

    In this case, they didn’t even ask for proof, the card company just noted the double-billing at the same time and place and just credited us then and there. The CSR said they’d contact the hotel. I was happy.

    An acquaintance initiated a charge-back for a video game that Fry’s Electronics wouldn’t take back. Fry’s has a rep around California for their arbitrary return policy and poor customer service. Still, I would do that as a last resort, but I buy everything at Fry’s on credit.

  28. tricknick says:

    I have to agree with hellinmyeyes about AMEX. AMEX gives authorizes chargebacks much too easily with little or no documentation save for the customer’s good word. Two of the restaurants I used to work for closed out their merchant accounts with AMEX for this reason. To this day I’ve noticed that many retailers (especially small business) won’t use AMEX because of the way they handle chargebacks.

  29. othium says:

    Once I ordered a pizza after a long 16 hour day at work and sat down to read my e-mail. I noticed my cat was acting strange and decided to bring her in to my vet. I called the pizza place to cancel my order (as it was only about 5 minutes ago that I ordered it) -the guy says “no cancellations! You already paid with your card!”. I try to explain the situation to the guy but he hangs up.

    After a couple days I notice the charge hasn’t been taken off my account and I call back and get the same guy. This time he says they sent the pizza out and left it on the front step of my apartment since nobody answered the door. I again explained to him the situation and he said I still had to pay for the pizza. (I was a bit perplexed at this time as I thought one had to actually sign the credit card slip for them to get the money.)

    I ended up writing the Consumerist for advice and I was advised to try one more attempt at working it out with the guy and to initiate a chargeback if it didn’t pan out.

    My last attempt to get this resolved had the manager of the pizza place offering to give me half off a new pizza (what about the one he already charged me for?) or nothing. Take it or leave it. I told him it wasn’t good enough and that I was going to do a chargeback. At that point he started swearing a blue streak and hung up the phone. Wells Fargo was very helpful and I got my money back.

    My first chargeback story.

  30. alfonzotan says:

    I can recall three times I’ve used chargebacks. Most recently, a $40 dinner in Mexico somehow incurred a $180 (US!) tip. That one got charged back without a fight. Before that, a sleazy hotel owner in a small town tried to charged me a full night’s stay after I’d called to cancel; an airline strike kept me several states away from the guy’s crappy hotel. Way back in the early days of internet mail order, I charged back a CD purchase that was never shipped after several months.

    Never had any serious problems at any of those times, I just called the CC companies (I want to say it was Amex two out of the three), explained the situation, and faxed them my copy of the receipt(s).

  31. Brad2723 says:

    Of all of the credit card transactions I have made, I have only initiated two chargebacks. The first one was for a clock I had ordered from Germany. The merchant had stated it would take two to three weeks from the initial shipping date to arrive. A week after that date had passed, and with no clock, I placed an international phone call (thank you Skype) to the merchant and was assurred that the package had shipped. A month later I still didn’t have the clock and additional calls to the merchant led nowhere. I initiated a chargeback, and days after it was finally approved, I got my clock. Turned out it had been stuck in customs for almost 3 months.

    The only other chargeback was for an eBay auction scam I fell victim to. Apparrently, the seller didn’t even have the item she placed up for auction. But being aware that these scams existed (not actually thinking it could happen to me) I use my credit card to pay for all expensive purchases made through the PayPal system. Their buyer protection guarantee just doesn’t provide adequate coverage.

  32. grrrarrrg says:

    I had placed a “reservation” through Uhaul’s lovely system. of course they “lost” my “reservation”, and i was left without a truck to move my crap.

    after waiting on hold for 45 minutes, i finally was able to get ahold of someone at Uhaul’s phone service center… who was totally unhelpful, and stuck to the company line that the reservation fee was non-refundable, but oh, here’s a coupon for $5 off your next move.

    one quick call to Visa, and i saw a credit show up on the next statement.

    btw, the total amount of the charge was a measly $5.00.

  33. Sudonum says:

    As to those merchants out there complaining about AMEX, too bad for you. Don’t take it and you won’t get my business. I’ve had an AMEX card for many years and have had to initiate many chargebacks. That’s one of the main reasons I use it, because they do protect their customers. The worst one was with Amazon and one of their “partner merchants” or whatever they call them. Long story, but here goes.

    I ordered what I thought were a couple of plasma TV’s for a house I was building, along with 2 wall mounts. I recieve the TV’s shrink wrapped on a pallet. I look at them and I can tell by the boxes they aren’t plasma’s. There are 2 smaller boxes in between the TV boxes. I assume they are the wall mounts. I don’t break the shrink wrap. These items have arrived via freight carrier. There is no packing slip, and the Bill of Lading simply states “Electronic Equipmet” Havign done this before I sign for the receipt of one skid of unknown material.

    I go back to my original Amazon order and low and behold the items are projection TV’s. Ok, it appears as though I ordered the wrong TV’s, which means I just ate a few hundred bucks in shipping. I e-mail Amazon and they direct me to contact the merchant directly. I call and explain the situation to them and they agree to issue me a full credit for all the items, less shipping. And, of course I have to pay shipping and insurance back to them.

    I call the same trucking company that delivered them to pick them up. Now I wait for my credit to appear on my AMEX card. After 3 weeks I contact the merchant, they tell me they’ll have to check to see if they received the return. Then I call the trucking company. I get a felivery confirmation from them. A couple days later I call the merchant again, I fax them the delivery confirmation from the trucking company. Nothing. 2 weeks later I call the merchant again. They tell me they’ll call me right back. No call. Next day I call AMEX and start the dispute process.

    A week later I get a call from the merchant telling me that they received the TV’s but not the wall mounts. I tell them that’s impossible as I sent back everything they sent me and never even opened the shrink wrap. If they didn’t get the mounts it’s because they never sent them to me. They tell me they’ll investigate.

    The following week I get a notice from AMEX that they have credited my account for the cost of the TV’s, but not the mounts or the shipping.

    I call the merchant, they swear they never got the mounts and won’t refund my money. I go back to Amazon and start looking at their A to Z guarantee. In order to make this short, after several corrispondences Amazon agrees to refund me the cost of the mounts. I wait a month for another credit to appear on my AMEX. Nothing. I contact Amazon again. They tell me they issued a credit in the amount of $xxxx.xx. I tell them that is the credit for the TV’s not the mounts. The CSR I spoke to was very nice she said she was going to have to investigate. I told to investigate all she wanted, however I had an e-mail (she was able to view it as well) from Amazon that stated that they would refund the cost of the mounts under their guarantee and that I was going to send that e-mail to AMEX when I started the next round of chargebacks. She was very sympathetic and asked me to give her a few days. She later sent me an e-mail asking for a few more days. 10 days later she sent me an e-mail telling me that they had issued the credit and given me a $250 Amazon gift card for my trouble. The next day I checked my AMEX statement and there was the credit. And my Amazon account also showed a credit of $250.

    Never underestimate the power of the chargeback, even when they’ve been denied once.

  34. Hallik09 says:

    Hi, just wanted to give the heads up for anyone with Paypal credit cards. They are unfriendly when it comes to chargebacks. I bought an item, and it turned out to be damaged and the company told me they can’t refund my money and I’d have to do a chargeback. I called the paypal credit card and started the process. They said a dispute rep wouldcall me. It’s been a week and half and no call. I called back several times and got the same response. Just wanted to let you know not to ever use that pitiful excuse of a card.

  35. I, too, have used a chargeback, with rather delayed success.

    After several months of haggling with a College shipping company (SmartMovers, if anyone is interested in not using them) over $1000 dollars in insurance they owed me after destroying two of my four boxes and sending another to the other side of the state. The company often hung up on me, refused to respond to emails, and consistently refused to let me contact their president.

    Needless to say, I got sick of the matter, and requested a chargeback through my father’s bank. It was quickly granted.

    Of course, we waited to get my items out of storage back in the city where I left them. Which were, of course, lost.

    Months later, I received an email out of the blue offering me the insurance costs, less the amount of the chargeback (which ahd been 250 dollars of shipping and storage fees).

    About a month and a half later, a check followed up for 750 dollars, and that was that.

    Successful, if slow, but that was the company’s fault, not the bank’s.

  36. chameleonz says:

    Make sure you always use your credit card for ebay
    purchases.Do not use a paypal credit card though.
    Twice I have been burned but was able to get my money back via a chargeback!

  37. tri.bassett says:

    Hmm. Chargebacks & Amex….

    I was working through my online expense acct reporting tool (I work for a Fortune 50 co, and they loves them some Amex) and noticed a $3500 charge from an electronics store in Brooklyn NY. Since I’ve never BEEN in Brooklyn, I immediately called AMEX and disputed the charge. (keyword was ‘dispute’). They put a hold on the charge (not a charge back) and start an investigation.

    4 months later, I get a letter from AMEX stating that the merchant has proven the charge to be valid (2 plasma TVs, on my corporate AMEX)

    Included in the letter (letter to me, at my address) was a photocopy of the charge slip (different name, different company, same card number) and some sort of scrawlings on a document claiming to be a ‘purchase order’.

    Ok, same card number, different names, different companies, yet the charge is deemed “VALID”.


    As soon as I get the letter I call back and say (as politely as I can) that these charges are FRAUDELENT.

    This got a different response from the AMEX phone-monkey.

    I’m still waiting to see what AMEX does for me. In all other PERSONAL dealings, they have been 100% behind me. In this one CORPORATE dealing, I’m sensing foot dragging, and a general attitude of “well Corp America will eventually pay up”

    This started in Nov 2006…. I’m still waiting

  38. Miguel Valdespino says:


    Why would they simply credit the $8? It’s simple – because it’s cheaper for them to simply hand you $8 than to go through all of the paperwork, contact the vendor, etc. I’ll bet they have a specific limit and will credit anything up to that limit for a customer in good standing.

  39. Jaaplaya says:

    I had a successful charge back against EA Games. I had preordered need for speed carbon and it was set to come out on one date. That date came and went and nothing available on the EA Link program to install it. (instead it listed a 2 day later release date).

    I never downloaded/installed the game so when it became available i contacted EA Games and they promptly replied back that “All game sales are final”

    I warned them that i would do a chargeback and they didnt care. Next day i went in to the bank and filed a complaint saying i didnt receive the product on the release date i agreed upon when purchasing it. 4 days later i had my money back and a new credit card in the mail (so they wouldnt just charge it right back)

    Was one positive about WAMU

  40. mad_oak says:

    A GUY WORKED FOR CHASE BANK. In their credit card customer service department. He knew that charge-offs for less than $25 were never even escalated to the merchant. (It costs the bank money to send a chargeback, too.) So he would eat out (cheaply), call his own customer service number and state it wasn’t his charge. Several hundred CSR’s, every one had the authority and would quickly credit the charge…. Until one day he got the same CSR for the 2nd time. And she remembered him from before. And they researched. And he got fired.

  41. brettt says:

    I’ve done charge-backs with American Express, and they are excellent. You can even do them from the website. The first time, a store in Canada misrepresented a product on their website. They claimed the item was 1 GB, when it was in fact, 1 Gb. Their webpage said 1 GB. When I contacted them, they claimed it was too late to return the item, and that “all product descriptions were from the manufacturer.” This was a load of crap, since changing GB to Gb is a big deal. The item was 8 times more expensive than it should have been, since 8 Gb = 1 GB. When I contacted Amex, they said the amount would be suspended, and that I should just not pay it. It would not accrue any interest while the case was open. In the end, after 1-2 months, they told me the chargeback was successful. They also told me to keep the product, which was kinda cool. While the product was a dishonest ripoff, it was good, and since it was free, of course I kept and used it. I would have sent it back to the merchant if they had been honest.

    The second time I did a chargeback was when the card itself charged me a yearly fee. It was a Costco Amex, and I got my rewards as a Costco coupon. I stopped using the card because the interest was too high. I also do not live at my billing address. Costco automatically renewed my yearly fee, and I never knew about it. So I got charged $50, and it sat on my account for a few months, accruing interest, late fees, and hurting my credit. When I called Costco and Amex, their solution was: Costco immediately refunded me the $50 to the account. Amex disputed the charge anyway, because that was how I could remove the fees and interest. After about 2 weeks, they had fixed everything, and my credit was unharmed.

    The unauthorized Costco charge was legit, however, because it was in the fine print of the card. However, those 2 companies seem to have great custoomer service, and gave me all the benefit of the doubt. This was in spite of the fact that I had used this new Costco membership to buy things already too! (When I bought the stuff, I had assumed they messed up at the store and didn’t notice my membership was expired).

    That said, American Express has bad interest rates, as far as I’ve seen. They are great with disputes.

  42. hardcle says:

    I’ve only had to do one chargeback. A few years ago, I won an ebay auction that I paid for right away. I later realized that the seller had bid on his own item. I reported him to ebay and they suspended him. The seller refused to refund my money or send the item. I called Capital One right away, and they told me I had to give the seller 30 days to send the item. I called back on the 30th day, and they took care of it right away.

  43. zgoat says:

    My gf tried to chargeback charges made by a contractor who charged for faulty remodeling work.

    She sent in 50 pages of documentation ranging from the original contract that showed he was providing false documents to the creditor to letters/emails sent to the contractor about the faulty work. She also sent in estimates from multiple other contractors to repair/fix the work he had done wrong.

    The end result, Citibank denied her chargebacks and went with the contractor. All he provided was a doctored excel spreadsheet showing false charges and a letter saying that she had harmed his reputation in the community. The invoice he had used to bill her showed it was for mainly materials and his “contractor fee” but the spreadsheet he sent to citibank showed that she hadn’t paid for a single material item.

    Not overwhelmingly happy with the chargeback process at citibank so far. Hopefully she is able to dispute it and get to speak to someone making the decision. The most recent letter says that she will be seeing the charges return along with all of the interest from the original charge date to now.

    So effectively the contractor gets to run off with 9k and she has to hire people to come fix the work and pay the 9k plus interest to citibank.

  44. germ says:

    I recently charged back a whopping $8.99 to Registerfly.com, who charged me for services not rendered. They stole my domain name and thousands others. But the cool thing was my credit card company did the charge back w/o much work on my part, for a transaction that took place nearly a year and a half ago. It’s not so much about the money, it’s the principle of what registerfly.com did to me and thousands others. I hope the class action lawsuit against Registerfly.com works out for those in it, as Registerfly.com has destroyed many people’s businesses & livelihood.

  45. dragonpup says:

    @germ: As for RegisterFly, ICANN stripped them of their registrar status.

    A quick google search gave me this page concerning it: http://www.searchstudio.net/registerflyemergencytransfer/H

  46. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    I wonder if I can charge my taxes to a credit card then start a chargeback on the grounds that they’re using my money for a war that I don’t want, oil subsidies, and to usurp and curtail my civil rights, and Georg Bush is completely irrespeonsible. No wonder he ran two companies into the ground….

  47. RulesLawyer says:

    In May 2006, I had a charge for about $30 show up on my Chase Visa card for a cheap motel in Wells, Nevada. I’d stayed in Wells one night during a road trip in June 2005 (11 months earlier), but not at that motel.

    I googled the name of the motel, and found that it was a few blocks from the one I stayed at. I suspected that someone had used my information from one motel at another, so I contacted Chase, telling them that I hadn’t been in Wells in 11 months, and that I’d never stayed at the motel that had charged me. They investigated and credited me back the amount within the month.

    Several months later, I looked through my old credit card statements. The place I’d stayed in back in 2005 had never charged me. My guess is that they were going through their books several months later, found my uncharged info, and perhaps no longer were accepting credit cards (yes, this was a really cheap motel). So they went to their buddy’s motel down the street, and ran the charge through them.

  48. atrauzzi says:

    My first chargeback experience was with the MMO World of Warcraft during times when they had realm queue issues. My basis was that they denied me access to the system by not properly addressing the problem.

    It worked and I got my money back. Blizzard locked off the account to blow off some steam, but I’m happy that I proved to them that revolving door support doesn’t get you anywhere.

    Right now I’m disputing two transactions. One where I was told I would be sent new equipment (video game stuff), and another one with Dell where they sent me a defective laptop that failed right on their 30 day warranty threshhold. Worse still with Dell is that they send refurbished equipment out to replace something I paid for new. A little silly considering how much I paid and how early in the warranty cycle we are.

    I’m fairly confident I’ll get my money back and I’m more than happy to send un-paid-for products back if I’m given an address. I just refuse to be abused by companies and sold garbage.

  49. belch says:

    @AT203: I don’t know about a company sending it to collections, (although it isn’t outside the realm of possibilities) but I work in the travel industry, and the company I work for keeps a record of everyone who does a chargeback. If their name or CC # comes up again, trying to purchase our services we immediately refund their money but keep the reservation active. When they show up to travel, we tell them they have to pay cash for this reservation, and the one they did a chargeback on. If they refuse, we invite them to leave.

  50. acambras says:


    Kind of shitty to spring that little “surprise” on them on the day they’re traveling, huh?

    Chances are that if I had to initiate a chargeback against a company, I wouldn’t want to do any more business with them in the future anyway.

  51. Amazed says:


    Ok, so let’s get this straight:

    1. Your company advertises as a travel agency.
    2. Your company makes a transaction with a customer, promising them a ticket for travel, but not delivering, and thus forcing the customer to waste time going through the rigamarole of requesting and explaining their reasons for wanting a refund of their money. (This usually entails proving to the CC agency that you have been defrauded and have not received services for payment rendered).
    3. Should the customer have the great misfortune of coming back to you (perhaps because your company uses multiple names, or consistently undercuts other companies for ticket pricing to attempt to drum up business from suckers who don’t know how you operate, or you are the only travel agent in their area), you promise to deliver them services by a set date, then behind their back and without their consent, refund their money, allow them to continue with their vacation as planned, and only at the gate do you show up, demand payment for previous unrendered services, as well as current services, in cash, on the spot, without prior notification?

    This also (intentionally) forces them to pay premium, short-notice fares on competing flights, as well as making them late for their planned arrival.

    Gee, I wonder why your company gets so many chargebacks.

  52. cboh3k says:

    On May 5, 2007, I used my Chase CC to pay for the second half of upgrades to a vehicle we own. The work done by the shop we used was never completed and the work that was performed not only caused damage to our vehicle but also rendered our vehicle unsafe to drive. After repeated attempts to have the shop make good on their work I was forced to request a chargeback from Chase CC for $4371.72.

    I assumed this was a futile as I thought the Credit Card companies would decline my dispute. To our surprise, we received a letter dated July 03, 2007 from Chase Bank that stated, “We have resolved this dispute and issued a credit to your account for the amount of the charge. You will see this on your next monthly statement.

    I then used that available credit to have the issues with our vehicle resolved and thought all was good.

    Today November 2, 2007 we received a letter from Chase Stating. “As you know, when you advised us of the dispute on your credit card account, we issued a credit of $4371.21 on July 03, 2007 while we completed research for your dispute…Based on the investigation; the final decision regarding the dispute was made in favor of the merchant.”

    It goes on to say they understand the merchant did not complete the work but the merchant said the proof we provided was for ungrades and had nothing to do with his work or damages.

    So now, as I used the card for 4 months to make corrections by doing what they did in reversing a decision they already ruled in my favor for has caused my account to be over the limit by $4371.72 plus over limit fees.

    My question is how can this be legal and what should we do. We cannot afford to pay this over amount off and worse yet we are paying twice for the same work. What are my rights?

  53. imaan says:

    First of all I commend all of you who actually take the time out to call the company or write the company to dispute the charges.

    Unfortunately too many customers abuse the chargeback and do them incorrectly. As a online store owner all of my chargebacks (very few) have just been a matter of the customer forgetting that they purchased the item.

    Although it’s understandable, a simple phone call or email to find out what the charge is all they would need to do. Fortuanately most do. In other cases, they freak out and initiate a chargeback. It only serves to waste valuable time away a non-refundable chargeback fee that we have to pay only to hear “oh yeah I forgot.”

    So most definitely if you are being screwed, initiate a chargeback, but if you just don’t recognize a charge, give the company a call first.

  54. troubleshoppers says:

    I know that some merchants sometimes do not follow with their promises, but I also know that shoppers abuse the system with BAD/UNJUSTIFIED CHARGE BACKS, so buyers be aware, SELLERS are now reporting unjustified charge backs to TROUBLESHOPPERS.NET. most likely some of you are going to be reported.

  55. kenblakely says:

    “SELLERS are now reporting unjustified charge backs to TROUBLESHOPPERS.NET. most likely some of you are going to be reported.”

    Oh No. I’m scared.

    It’s not really known as a ‘chargeback’. technically, it’s known as “disputing a charge”, and I for one will do it at the drop of a hat. There’s waaaay too many shopping options for me as a consumer to lose any sleep over any one merchant, and if they don’t make me happy, then screw ’em – I dispute.

  56. kenblakely says:

    Postscript: If you wanna have a good chuckle, go check out that troubleshoppers.net site. What a buncha losers!

  57. kenblakely says:

    @cboh3k: Here’s a suggestion: Don’t pay the credit card. I’d take a hit on my credit report before I paid a $4K bill that’s not right. In a heartbeat.

  58. ChrisNF says:

    @chameleonz: When I tried a chargeback with Visa after receiving a broken camera through eBay, I was told that they treat eBay differently, and I would have to go through eBay’s dispute resolution system and that eBay itself would have to refund my money. This was a couple of years ago, so maybe things have changed? I’ve done it for a duplicate charge from a restaurant though without any problem.

  59. ChrisNF says:

    @troubleshoppers: Ha ha! Very professional website. I’m sorry to hear that in many cases a “seller losses (sic) money”.

  60. Pink Puppet says:

    @ChrisNF: I work for a Powerseller on eBay and I’ve seen people do chargebacks when they don’t get the resolution they want from a dispute. It sucks, but it happens.

  61. psychos says:

    I’ve only once done a chargeback myself. Ordered four 750GB hard drives from an outfit called MemoryLabs.com about 6 months ago; actually, I bought two of them myself, and my father bought the other two as a gift. They were advertised as Western Digital 750GB drives, with a specific WD model number, and as “OEM”; nowhere did it say “used”, “recertified”, “remanufactured”, “refurbished”, “white label”, “relabeled”, “rebranded”, or anything of the sort. Now, I’ve been buying computer parts to build my own systems for years, and when I see “OEM” in this context without any of the other qualifiers above, I assume that I am getting just the bare product in a static bag without any cables or the retail box; e.g., as packaged for actual OEMs. (This is, for example, the difference between buying an OEM CPU and a retail CPU; you get the a brand name CPU marked as Intel or AMD or whatever, but generally it will have a reduced warranty that might be provided by the retailer and not the manufacturer, and won’t come with a heatsink. But it’s the exact same chip inside and outside other than that.)

    Anyways, received my four drives. They all had generic labels on them, with no indication that they were from Western Digital. I opened one of them and plugged it in to check the drive ID, and it had been reprogrammed to some generic string that read something like “HDD-750GB” rather than “WDC WD7500AAKS”. I called the company at this point, and after talking to a couple people, I got a fairly angry guy who insisted “you do not know what OEM means! This is an OEM drive, and that means it is a generic product!” He also told me the drives were USED, even though it said that absolutely nowhere on the product page. I asked to return the drives since they were clearly not labelled either externally or in the drive firmware as Western Digital, and were not advertised as used, and was told I absolutely could not return them without a 15% restocking fee. A few emails went back and forth, and I filled out RMA forms for the two orders. I actually crossed out the section of the form that said “I agree to a 15% restocking fee…” and noted “Not agreed to by customer” and initialed it; they actually just went ahead and issued RMA numbers, so I suppose legally they have absolutely no claim to the restocking fee no matter the circumstance, as they accepted my amended RMA forms and allowed the RMA.

    So I shipped the drives back and my dad and I both got our original money back, minus shipping and 15%. I called Amex, my dad called Chase, and we each disputed the appropriate amount due to gross misreprentation of merchandise. Apparently the MemoryLabs folks didn’t like arguing with credit card companies as much as with customers, as they didn’t even contest the chargebacks, and we did get our money back.

    I’m actually in touch with Western Digital’s trademarks department right now, as this same company is continuing to advertise WD products that have been re-labelled and remanufactured as if they were brand new drives. They seem interested in pursuing action against these wonderful MemoryLabs folks, which makes me happy because they wasted a bunch of my time when they could’ve simply apologized and given me back the money I got back anyways.

    Sadly, I’m quite certain that the drives I returned were simply repackaged and sold to another unsuspecting customer as “OEM” WD hard drives.

    Further note to self: Be more proactive checking resellerratings and other such sites. These folks have a lifetime 4.41 rating, and 3.50 for the last six months. I should’ve thought twice about ordering drives that were $15 apiece less than anywhere else, since it was indeed too good to be true.

  62. psychos says:


    Of course, I meant that to read “my dad and I both got our original money back, by disputing the shipping and 15% restocking that had not been refunded.”