How To Deal With An Error On Your Credit Card Statement

What do you do when you notice a charge on your credit card statement that is incorrect?  With so many reports of scams and rip-offs related to credit cards, consumers are justified in their concern about bogus charges on their card statements.   Above all, don’t panic … if it is in fact a mistake, there are a few things that you can do right away to quickly make it right.

Here are 4 steps you can take to help you deal with and quickly fix any error on your credit card billing statement:

Confirming the Mistake

If you are going to dispute a charge, you need to do your homework and confirm that it’s an actual mistake before you start throwing stones at your card issuer.  Looking at the statement, identify the errors and write down the name of the merchant and the amount in question.  If the merchant name for the charge looks unfamiliar, don’t automatically assume that the charge was a mistake.  If the mistake was an incorrect amount charged to the card though, look for the receipt that will prove what the actual charge should be.

Call the Retailer/Merchant

Your credit card statement provides contact information to identify the merchants who accepted each credit card payment from you.  Contact the merchant and inquire about the specific charge in question.  If the error is an incorrect amount that was billed to you, you can work directly with the merchant to satisfy the dispute, simply by providing the merchant with a copy of the receipt.  Request the amount be corrected and ask the merchant to provide you with the change made in writing. Most merchants will be happy to clear up the mistake immediately and the matter should be resolved fairly quickly.

Contact the Credit Card Provider

If things do not work out with the merchant or you suspect foul play on the charge to your card, waste no time in contacting the credit card issuer. As a consumer you have 60 days to notify the card company of any disputed charge. Initially, you should contact the company by phone to report the incident, especially if you suspect fraud.  Be sure to put your dispute in writing though and mail it via Certified/Return Receipt Requested to ensure the correspondence of your disputed charge is on the record. Include in the letter your contact information, account information, date of the charges, and a description of the charges being disputed.  Include a copy of your billing statement with the disputed charge highlighted for easier identification.

Taking Further Action

If you are unable to resolve your dispute satisfactorily through either the merchant or the credit card company, you need to review your rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act, or FCBA. As a consumer, you have certain rights when it comes to unauthorized charges and charge disputes including the consumer’s right to not have to pay the amount being disputed during the investigation. No interest can be accrued during the investigation on the specific charge either. In the event the dispute is denied, the interest can be added back on the disputed amount retroactively.

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Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.