It’s not too late to regain money lost to COVID disruptions

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When Dawne Novinger’s Portland, Oregon gym was ordered to close in the middle COVID-19 In the event of shutdowns in spring 2020, she assumed that she would not be charged the regular monthly fee.

Surprised to see the full monthly membership fee of $ 159 on her credit card statement, she called the gym to request a refund. Unsurprisingly, given the circumstances, no one was there. She received no response from calls, emails, or even social media to request a refund at the gym.

“The gym staff couldn’t help because they said they were suddenly unemployed,” said Novinger. “The gym franchisee was MIA.” Meanwhile, another monthly fee hit her card. As a last resort, Novinger submitted a successful one Chargeback Complain to your credit card issuer.

With a chargeback, you can dispute a charge to your card and claim back a loss. But here’s what you should know about tracking one down, especially during a pandemic.

How a chargeback can help with COVID

A chargeback isn’t just about combating a fraudulent purchase. Thanks to the Federal Act on Fair Loans Settlement, cardholders are entitled to dispute fees for goods and services that they did not accept or that were not delivered as agreed.

And last year – when air traffic came to a standstill, supply bottlenecks skyrocketed and companies collapsed under economic pressure – many cardholders were apparently dissatisfied with certain services.

“Chargebacks are up 25% due to COVID-19,” said industry expert Monica Eaton-Cardone, founder of Chargebacks911, a company that helps merchants process chargebacks.

If you want to charge a chargeback to your credit card, there is a limited amount of time that a claim can be considered. For large credit card payment networks such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, this window is typically 120 days. However, this does not necessarily mean 120 days from the time the charge appears on your credit card. The window is 120 days from the date of expected services.

“When you pay for something, you have the right to submit a chargeback from the date the product or service is due to be delivered,” says Eaton-Cardone. “So if you bought a trip in 2020 for a trip in 2021, you can still get a chargeback based on the date the trip was supposed to take place. “

Even in cases where a travel company may offer a voucher or credit instead of a full refund, you can still dispute the fee. For example, if an airline has canceled your flight or made significant changes to your itinerary and is unwilling to give you a full refund, it is against the company’s obligations as set out by the Department of Transportation.

Understand the limitations of a chargeback

For one thing, chargebacks may have increased during the pandemic, but the “card issuer’s workforce to combat the onslaught of higher volume disputes has not increased,” said Michael B. Cohen, co-founder of MyChargeBack, a company that helps consumers deal with complex credit card disputes.

According to Cohen, this means you may be dealing with the addition of “human frailty to a system that can already be complex for a cardholder to navigate”. In other words, don’t expect instant satisfaction filing a chargeback, especially given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

And of course, you can’t have and eat your airline peanuts either.

“You can’t take a credit and then file a chargeback,” says Eaton-Cardone. “You not only lose the chargeback dispute, but also the voucher issued.”

3 things to do when considering a chargeback

While many credit card companies have made it relatively easy to file a chargeback with just a few clicks, that doesn’t mean the process itself keeps getting interrupted and dried out. Here are three things to do first.

1. Try in good faith to coordinate with the dealer first

The Fair Credit Billing Act specifically states that you should contact the merchant first to give them an opportunity to clear the fee. Indeed, it is in the best interests of you and the dealer.

You are likely to get money back from the merchant faster than a chargeback investigation, and the merchant can avoid the cost of such a process, which can be especially detrimental to small businesses already affected by COVID-19.

“For every US dollar paid back by the consumer, the company costs US $ 3,” says Eaton-Cardone.

It’s also worth noting that tour operators have introduced more consumer friendly policies as a result of COVID-19. Many major airlines have introduced change fee exemptions, and once strict travel rules have become more flexible all round. A solution may be waiting for you when you call.

And if you get stuck with the representative you’re dealing with, ask if you can refer the problem to the manager.

2. Keep good records

If you are trying in good faith to get a refund directly from the company, keep a record of everything you do. If you can’t resolve the dispute directly, this “evidence” will help your chargeback case go more smoothly.

If you choose to chargeback, you can provide evidence that you tried to contact the merchant via phone, email, or even social media. Save all correspondence and take notes on your experiments over the phone. Make a note of who you spoke to, on what day and at what time.

If the case turns into a situation where he said she said, you have the documentation you need to support your claim.

3. Know your rights and the rules

Cohen knows how difficult the nuances of a chargeback can be for the consumer.

“Every bank has a different process,” he says. “Sometimes when well-meaning people try to fill out the form themselves, they often accidentally contradict each other. They call it fraud and later they say the charges were approved. The language used is very important and a claim can be rejected because of inconsistencies that the customer did not notice. “

An unauthorized charge, also known as a fraud, is very different from an authorized charge that you want to deny.

A little research can help you understand the process better. If possible, Cohen recommends visiting the branch office of your issuing credit card in person to speak to someone in person about the chargeback process.

“Try to get help from within to curb human error,” he advises. “Know when to follow up, how to follow up so your case doesn’t slip through the cracks.”

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