Use Chargebacks Like an Insurance Policy for Internet Shopping
So you order something from
. Or Alibaba. Or some sketchy website you've never heard of, because it has the exact sneakers you want when nowhere else does. You know that's probably a sign it's too good to be true... but you really want the sneakers, so you foolishly type in your Visa number anyway.
And when the box arrives, the sneakers are the wrong size or color, or just total knockoffs. When you try to contact the company, it either A) doesn't respond, B) refuses to offer a refund, or C) says you're responsible for paying shipping both ways. According to most of our moms, that's what you get for buying things on the internet .
But as one Reddit user recently pointed out, your credit card company can help get your money back. How? In the form of a chargeback, which occurs when you dispute a charge on your statement with the credit card merchant itself.
The Reddit user, for example, bought a defective item online. Upon trying to return it, the merchant said they had to pay return shipping and a 20 percent restocking fee. When the user contacted Citibank to initiate a chargeback, the credit card issuer repeatedly said it wasn't possible.
Luckily, the user knew their rights and, eventually, persevered. Here's their TL/DR of the situation:
"If you buy an item and the seller sends one that differs significantly from the description or is defective, you have the right to reject the item and require the seller to retrieve it at their expense - no matter what the seller's return policy says."
And if you're not making any headway with the merchant, your credit card company is required to wield its influence on your behalf.
Basically, you can request a chargeback if you receive goods or services that are defective, damaged, different from what was described-or if you never receive them at all. (Click here for a list of chargeback reason codes , organized by card issuer.)
Note that the merchant has the right to dispute your claim, after which it's up to the credit card issuer to determine who's right. If it sides with you, the merchant must pay back the charge, plus fees; if it sides with the merchant, the charge goes back on your bill.
Does your latest internet mistake qualify? Then follow The Motley Fool 's advice for contacting your credit card company:
"Ideally, all credit card chargebacks should be made within 60 days of when you received the statement with the charge in question, so that you have the full protection of the Fair Credit Billing Act. Ask for a chargeback only by electronic message (through a bank's online support platform) or by mail."
All that said, this policy should only be a last resort for situations where the merchant refuses to address your (reasonable) requests. Because, as Redditors warn, requesting a chargeback could get you banned from the merchant-if, for some reason, you ever want to shop there again-and is totally uncool if you don't really need it. Repeatedly requesting chargebacks could also damage your relationship with your credit card company .
Use your power wisely, friends.