Every once in a while, you might see something on your credit card statement that you don’t recognize. While it’s alarming and possibly leaves you feeling a little violated, there are steps you can take to remove it from your account. First, you’ll want to call your credit card company to let them know your card has been compromised. You can call the merchant to inform them that someone has used your card fraudulently. If they are unresponsive or unhelpful, the credit card company will likely help you remove the charges from your balance. Most credit card companies are very understanding when this happens.
For those who are actively working towards credit repair, it can be especially stressful to have this happen. There are three reasons you can legally dispute a charge on your credit card so you are not ultimately responsible for it:
Someone used your card without your permission.
As outlined in the scenario above, this may leave you feeling the more vulnerable, but there is hope. You can work with the credit card company to resolve this issue. Many credit card companies have policies on fraudulent purchases that work in the consumer’s favor.
You were billed by the company in error.
Say your cable company has charged you twice on accident. After speaking with your credit card company, you should also speak with the merchant to resolve this issue, and there may be an apology credit in your future.
The merchant won’t help you resolve an issue with what you have purchased.
Imagine you purchased something, only to take it out of the box and realize it was damaged in some way and therefore didn’t work. If the merchant refuses to exchange or refund your purchase, it’s possible to get a chargeback on your card.
Here are some things to watch out for that can affect your credit in these types of situations:
After you’ve resolved the dispute, you may want to find out if there are other accounts in your credit profile that have been compromised. As you may already know, running a hard credit inquiry may ding your credit score by a few points. That’s a far better alternative than finding out you have a fraudulent account in your name when you’re about to make a large purchase.
If you are unable to dispute the charge successfully, you may have to pay it, though it’s unlikely it will get to that point. Nonpayment would, of course, impact your credit negatively. The long-term effects of this will likely be far more costly than paying a charge you shouldn’t have to. When it comes to credit, sometimes it’s more important to think big picture. You can also consider initiating a credit report dispute.
Ultimately, if you do have to dispute a charge, make sure it’s for a good reason and in good faith. Credit card companies notice patterns of abusing the system, and it doesn’t end well for those who do.