Your Credit Card Rights:
What to Do If You Have A Problem After a Credit Card Purchase
What can you do to defend yourself from scams, frauds and
identity theft? Whether you think you have been the victim of a fraud or scam or
want to be proactive in protecting yourself, here is a list.
Unauthorized use of your payment card
As a payment cardholder, you have many protections against the
unauthorized use of your payment card (such as a debit, credit, or
stored value card).
- Many countries have laws that limit your liability for unauthorized
transactions and some card issuers provide additional protections
- In some cases, you may be liable for a portion of the unauthorized
charge; (in the U.S., your maximum liability is $50 from the point you
notify the credit card issuer of a lost card), in others your liability may depend on when and how you notify
your card issuer.
What to do:
- Contact your card issuer to find out what protections you have and
how to use them.
- See these pages for information about and from specific credit
What can you do if you pay with a payment card but don't receive the
product, receive the wrong product, or are billed for the wrong product?
- Some countries have laws protecting payment cardholders in the event
of non-delivery or delivery of the wrong item.
- In the U.S., the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), gives rights to
people when they dispute credit report information. According to the
FTC, the FCRA gives you certain rights, including:
the right to have
your dispute investigated, and
the right to be notified of the results of the investigation
The company has 30 days to complete both steps. That's because you need
to know whether your information has been corrected so you can make
informed decisions on how to proceed. See
your rights under the FCRA.
- In some cases, card issuers provide protections (you may want to
contact them to learn about these protections).
- In either case, you may want to contact the merchant to try to
resolve your problem directly. You can also contact the card issuer.
- What happens if you buy a product with a payment card
and are unhappy with the quality?
- Protections against problems related to the quality of goods
purchased online with a payment card are less common. The best approach
is to do what you would do offline: try to resolve the issue directly
with the merchant.
- If you are not successful, contact your card issuer. Legal
protections may apply in some countries.
- You might also consider
alternative dispute resolution.
- What can you do if the amount on your
payment card statement differs from the amount stated on the website when
you made the purchase?
- Contact the online merchant and ask that the discrepancy be
explained or fixed.
- If you are not satisfied, contact the payment card issuer by letter
to ask that the discrepancy be fixed.
- Read your monthly statements promptly. Keeping good records about your
transactions, including print-outs of your purchase confirmation pages,
should help you resolve any errors.
Source: OECD's "Using Payment Cards Online: Frequently Asked Questions,"
which may be found at the
OECD's Consumer Policy home page.
And please let us know about any
suspicious calls or emails you receive. We look for patterns so that we
can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!
For a comprehensive list
of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.