credit cards

Disputing a credit card purchase

These restrictions don't apply if the merchant is also the card issuer, or the seller mailed you an ad for the item you bought.

The law also requires that you attempt to resolve the issue with the seller first. Individual issuers may not demand proof, but direct dealings with the retailer may save the trouble of filing a dispute through the card company.

To withhold payment, Wu recommends sending a letter to create an evidence trail, but says you can file a claim over the phone.

Check with the issuer for other claims

Maybe the quality of the high-definition TV you bought is fine, but somebody steals it from your house the following week. Take it up with the issuer. Major credit cards may cover such losses.

Payment processors American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa all offer purchase protection on some cards for damage or theft of goods up to 90 days after purchase. Customers with a legitimate claim could receive a repaired or replacement item, or reimbursement for the cost.

Restrictions and benefits vary by program and card. For instance, American Express caps coverage at $1,000 per incident and $50,000 per policy year. Visa limits coverage to $500 per claim of theft or damage due to "fire, vandalism, accidentally discharged water, or certain weather conditions," according to its website.

Check with your issuer or benefits guide to see if your card offers this perk.

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