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How Long Can I Dispute A Credit Card Charge? No, The Answer Isn’t 60 Days

- Nov 28, 2021 Credit Card Info0 comments

The main benefit as for why I always use a credit card, wherever possible, is because of the option it provides of disputing a charge. It gives me an unexchangeable feeling of security that I will never give up.

People often think that a charge can only be disputed within 60 days. It’s not true. Though there is some sense behind mistakenly thinking so. Let me explain everything in detail.

The differences between disputes and chargebacks

Before we get started, it is important to note that there are two types of ways you can initiate a credit card dispute:

  1. Disputing a charge using the Fair Credit Billing Act
  2. Disputing a charge using the Chargebacks laws

The terms dispute and chargebacks are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing and have different rules and guidelines, as you will see below.

Your right to dispute a credit card charge under the Fair Credit Billing Act (“FCBA”)

The FCBA gives consumers the right to dispute billing errors on any credit card for the following reasons:

  • Unauthorized charges
  • Charges that list the wrong date or amount
  • Charges for goods and services you didn’t accept or that weren’t delivered as agreed
  • Math errors
  • Failure to post payments and other credits, such as returned items
  • Failure to send bills to your current address (assuming the creditor has your change of address, in writing, at least 20 days before the billing period ends)
  • Charges for which you ask for an explanation or written proof of purchase, along with a claimed error or request for clarification

Your right to dispute a charge under Chargeback laws

Once we explained to you everything about FCBA disputes, let’s now dive into chargebacks.

The simple definition of a chargeback is a cardholder asking the merchant to give back the money paid (it’s similar to a dispute, but under the book of law, it is not exactly the same thing). This is a right you have under Regulation Z of the Truth in Lending Act, Article 4 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Each of the major credit card companies have their own chargeback policies.

It is important to note that most credit card disputes result in a chargeback automatically, but if you do not follow the steps above when disputing the charge (for example, sending the dispute in writing), then you will not have the legal protection under the FCBA.

Chargeback timeframes for each credit card issuer

Visa and Mastercard chargeback timeframes

Customers generally have 120 days from the transaction processing date to file a chargeback with their issuing bank when the reasons for the chargeback include:

  •  Fraud
  • Incorrect purchase amount
  • Duplicate charge
  • Canceled recurring transactions

Cardholders have just 75 days to file a dispute for 

  • Unauthorized charges

Cardholders have 540 days to file a chargeback for disputes relating to

  • Services not provided
  • Merchandise not received, or received not as described, or defective merchandise

 

Amex chargeback timeframes

With Amex, you have a minimum of 120 days with the exception of disputes for the following reasons  – which can be disputed a bit longer (Amex does not specify by how much beyond the 120 days its extended so they have the discretion to extend it based on the circumstances for however long they think is justified).

  • Goods/services not received
  • Goods/services returned/canceled, redisputes

 

Discover

Although the company recommends cardholders file a dispute within 120 days of the purchase, Discover does not impose a strict time limit, and disputes will be considered at any time.

Conclusion

So in reality, you may have much longer than 60 days to dispute a charge. As noted above, the exact time frame depends on each credit card issuers’ chargeback policies. It’s definitely better to dispute a charge before 60 days in order to be protected under the FCBA as well. But even if you missed the 60 day timeframe, you usually still have a whole lot of time to successfully dispute the charge under chargeback guidelines. 

Frequently asked questions
Is there any problem with disputing charges often?
I have never seen any problems come about for people that make disputes often. But obviously, if you’re going to dispute every purchase then at a certain point you might have an issue
I disputed a credit card charge and now I see a note on my credit report "dispute resolved". Why is that?
When you dispute a charge, it causes your balance to be lowered. Therefore, the bank needs to notify the credit bureaus that the balance on the credit report is no longer accurate due to the dispute. This can cause this note to show on your credit report. But that note does not affect your score in any way

Was this article helpful?

Sam Sam has nearly a decade's worth of experience educating his many readers on everything credit. Sam spends his days checking out credit cards for a full report, from the minute benefit details to the shebang of welcome bonuses. Plus studying the ins and outs of building proper credit. It’s his favorite pastime and he loves sharing it with others.

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