Mistakes happen all the time, right? But when it comes to using your credit card for purchases, nobody wants to end up with the wrong item or pay more than they’re supposed to because of someone else’s error. That’s why it’s important to know what it means to dispute a charge—just in case you ever need to.

Q: What exactly is a disputed charge?

A: A disputed credit card charge means that you or your credit card company is challenging a transaction on your account, which might result in it being reversed.

Q: Why would you dispute a charge?

A: One reason might be that you’re dissatisfied with a purchase you made with your credit card. If you’ve tried to settle the problem with the store you bought it from but haven’t been successful, you may be able to dispute the charge.

Q: What about billing errors?

A: If you see a charge on your statement you don’t recognize, multiple charges for the same purchase or the wrong amount being charged, it could be a mistake that you can dispute. You’ll want to watch out for these types of charges. Second Look® from Capital One is one program that could help with that.

Q: Can all charges be disputed?

A: No. Purchases made with cash advances from an ATM or with a check that accesses your credit card account may not qualify. Check your credit card terms to find out if other restrictions apply.

Q: How do I dispute a charge?

A: If you think there’s an error on your statement and you’ve double-checked the charge, contact the merchant first (unless you think the charge is fraudulent, then contact your credit card company right away). If you’re unable to resolve the problem with the merchant, refer to the Billing Rights Summary provided with your monthly statement. Most banks require that you submit specific details about your dispute within 60 days of the date on the statement containing the disputed charge. While you can often get in touch with your credit card company online or by phone, in the case of a disputed charge, it’s also important to notify them by mail, describing the amount of the suspected error and why you believe it’s a mistake. Depending on the nature of the dispute, your bank might need receipts or other documents.

Q: What happens after I dispute a charge?

A: If all the requirements are met, your credit card company will investigate. If the dispute is resolved in your favor, you should see a credit on your account. If it turns out the disputed charge was valid, your bank will let you know that too. While the investigation is happening, you may still see the charge on your statement. No matter what the outcome of the disputed charge, remember that you’re responsible for the rest of your balance.

Knowing a bit more about how credit cards work can benefit you—helping you see where your charges are coming from and possibly even identify mistakes that could result in a disputed charge.

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