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Was your credit or debit card charged for something you returned, ordered but never got, or don’t recognize? Were you charged without your permission, more than you agreed to pay, or for things you didn’t buy? There are many reasons why you might need to dispute charges to your credit or debit card. Here’s what to do and a sample letter to help get your money back.

Contact Your Credit or Debit Card Company

You must notify your credit or debit card company of any error you’re disputing within 60 days of the date that the first statement on which the charge appears was sent to you. Consumer protections for credit cards are stronger than protections for debit cards, but some debit card companies voluntarily offer more protections than the law requires. To best protect your rights, review your account statements carefully every month and submit any dispute right away.

Start by calling the card company’s customer service number to report the problem. Find the telephone number on your monthly statement or on the back of your card. Keep a record of who you spoke with and when. Follow up promptly with a letter. The sample below may help.

Many card companies may let you to submit your dispute online. You may have to set up an online account to do that. However, to fully protect yourself, follow up with a letter quickly.

Send a Dispute Letter to Your Card Company

After you call the card company or dispute the charge online, follow up right away with a letter disputing the charge. The letter is a written notice to the card company about the problem. Remember, you must send the letter within 60 calendar days of the date that the first statement on which the disputed charge appears was sent to you.

Make sure your letter includes

  • your name and account number
  • the dollar amount of the disputed charge
  • the date of the disputed charge
  • an explanation of why you think the charge is incorrect

Here are some possible reasons why you might believe a charge is incorrect:

  • The date or amount of the charge is wrong.
  • The charge is for goods or services that you didn’t accept or that weren’t delivered to you as agreed.
  • You were charged more than once for something.
  • You returned the item, but the credit wasn’t posted to your account.
  • You paid for the item, but the payment wasn’t posted to your account.
  • You didn’t authorize the transaction.

Send your letter to the address your card company lists for billing disputes, errors, or inquiries. Look on your monthly statement, the card company’s website, or your card agreement to get the right address. The address for billing disputes usually is different from the address where you send your payments.

Send your letter by certified mail, if possible. Ask for a return receipt so you have proof that the card company got your letter. Include with your letter copies of any receipts, checks, or other proof of the transaction. Hold on to your originals.

Consider Contacting the Seller

It also may help to contact the seller for problems you are having with debit or credit card charges. But for most problems, if you don’t first contact the card issuer, you could lose important rights that protect you due to the timing requirements.

When you contact the seller, keep a record of who you spoke with and when. If you resolve the problem, check back with your card company — often your bank — to make sure your account shows the proper credit or refund.

Sample Letter for Disputing Credit or Debit Card Charges

Use this sample letter to help you write your dispute letter.


[Your Name]

[Your Address, City, State, Zip Code]

[Name of Credit or Debit Card Company]

Attn: Billing Inquiries

[Address, City, State, Zip Code]

Re: Notice of disputed charge to Account No. [Your account number]

Dear [Contact Person or Billing Inquiries Division]:

I am writing to dispute a charge of [$______] to my [credit or debit card] account on [date of the charge]. The charge is in error because [explain the problem briefly. For example, the items weren’t delivered, I was overcharged, I returned the items, I did not buy the items, etc.].

[Add any additional explanation that may be helpful. For example, “I ordered the items on[date]. The seller promised to deliver the items to me on [date], but I never received my order.”]

I am requesting that the error be corrected, that any finance or other charges related to the disputed amount be credited to my account, and that I get an accurate statement.

Enclosed are copies of [describe any enclosed information, like sales slips, payment records, or documentation of shipment or delivery dates] supporting my position and experience. Please correct the error on my account promptly.


[Your name]

Enclosures: [List the documents you are enclosing. Send copies, not the originals.]

Report Problems

If you have an issue with your credit card or bank account, report it to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Go to or call (855) 411-CFPB (2372).