Reversing Charges On Your Credit Card


One of our readers, Tony, sent us this question:

Just curious, can a vendor come after you for the reversed charges and if so what can happen?

Thanks for your question Tony!

What Is A Chargeback?

Basically a chargeback is a refusal to pay for an item or service that you charged on one of your credit cards. There are a lot of reasons why you might want to do this. Maybe you never received the item, it arrived late, the item that arrived was not what you ordered, or possibly even because someone else took your credit information and made the charge without your knowledge. All of these are valid reasons to “chargeback” an item.

What Happens When You Chargeback A Credit Card Transaction?

When you charge something on your credit card, the bank that issued your credit card pays the merchant, and then sends you a bill. When you “chargeback” an item, the bank removes the total from your bill, and re-bills the merchant.

Too many chargebacks to a single merchant can actually hurt them because there is a “Merchant Black List”. Any time a merchant regularly exceeds their number of allowed chargebacks then thy are placed on the black list and are no longer able to accept credit cards.

So, what is my liability? Can a merchant come after me for a chargeback?

In short, yes. It is uncommon, but it does happen. In fact, there is an entire group of legal experts that companies can hire to dispute chargebacks. This usually only happens if you repeatedly chargeback to the same merchant, or chargeback a very expensive item that you may have been able to use before returning. In other words, the merchant will only come after you if they feel like you are trying to defraud them.

It is very, very rare for a merchant to come after a customer over a chargeback, and it pretty much always involves suspected fraud combined with a large amount of money. The current laws are set up to protect you, the customer. Businesses have a tough time fighting chargebacks because of this, but it does happen.

Thanks again for your question Tony!

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5 Responses to “Reversing Charges On Your Credit Card”

  1. Alex Weinstein Says:

    I am starting a business where I will be selling my product in retail stores. I was thinking to get my own wireless credit/debit card machine, so that the stores could pay me right there, and I wouldn’t have to deal with checks.

    However I had an idea, and this is my question.

    Can the stores pay me using THEIR card machine? The practice of giving a refund back onto a credit card is widely done. Buy something, take it back, they give you a refund right back onto your card. But can they do this without me having bought something to begin with?

    Can I walk into a store, hand them my credit card, and they give me 500 bucks right into my debit card account?

  2. William Smith Says:

    I operate a marine surveying business. A broker ordered a survey for a prospective buyer at a boat sales lot. The prospective buyer paid for the survey with a credit card and later decided not to buy the boat based on the deficiencies noted in the detailed survey. About a month lated the charge of $950 was reversed by the credit card company. They stated that the card holder reported the card stolen thus the reversed charge. When I asked them to reinstate the charge they refused and said I had to contact the card holder which I have been unable to do. I live in Texas and he lives in Florida. What are my options?

  3. Jessica Santos Says:

    I was wondering if you have any hepful advise. I purchased a timeshare while on vacation with my Amex card. I never received promotional weeks and deed stating I owned after numerous calls I retained an atty who informed them I was canceling the loan. I contacted Amex to reverse the charges but they state that because I signed a contract there is not much they can do even though I never received the service. I later received a copy of the deed deeding the property to me 8 months later. So I showed the creditcard company that I did not own and should not have been paying those months. They are still no issuing me credits< the timeshare will take back the timeshare but will not refund any money to me. Any tips?

    Jessuca Santos

  4. Daliah Says:

    Hi, I ordered letterhead from a printer for my client. I picked up the finished product and paid for it and went home. I then looked at the letterhead and it was printed badly and I could not sell it to my customer. I contacted the printer and said he could either reprint or give me a refund. He said he’d reprint. It took him one week to print the first time and so far it’s been 3 weeks and I still don’t have anything to give to my client. This is an exorbitant amount of time for what he is doing. He obviously doesn’t care since I’ve already paid him and he assumes he lost me as a future client. When this first happened and he agreed to redo the job, I figured I’d possibly use him again dependent on the final quality. Now he has lost a customer, I will never use him again and I will contact the BBB and post reviews of his shop online. I am very unhappy.

    I went to my bank to ask about a chargeback and they told me no because it is not a fraudulent charge. I understand, but I was sold an unusable product and all I want is something I can sell to my client and I want it now. I have a printer I can go to and receive the letterhead in a few days, but that is more money out of my pocket and my luck is he will eventually produce the letterhead for me.

    I can only hope I don’t lose my client over this. He ordered this over 4 weeks ago and hopefully he doesn’t run out of his stock on hand or I’ll have a very unhappy and so far patient client.

    This is not a lot of money, but I’m a small business so for me it hurts. It is only $149.

  5. Martin Colby Says:

    My wife and I purchased a time share in Mex.and tried to cancel our contract within twentyfour hrs. of signing,we notified AMEX. of the attemted cancellation and were told to submit a cancellation in writing, we did so only to have the salespersons tell us it was not necessary, that they would shred the contract. we contacted AMEX again and were told to get a cancellation number The salespersons once again told us this was not necessay, our contract would be cancelled, and we should relax and enjoy the rest of our vacation.After we returned home we found that our contract was indeed cancelled but not within the five day required timeframe. AMEX has sided with the timeshare company and claims that we have no recourse.Is there an answer to this fraud?

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