If you paid for defective goods or services on your credit card and the merchant will not resolve the problem, you can file a dispute with the credit card company using a procedure called, Claims and Defenses.
What are claims and defenses?
Claims and defenses are any valid reasons you have for not paying a certain credit card charge. They include billing errors, unauthorized charges, and claims that goods or services were misrepresented, defective, or not delivered.
The credit card company can be held responsible under Federal law (15 USC 1666i).
How do I assert claims and defenses?
You assert your claims and defenses by writing to the credit card company showing that you tried to resolve the problem with the store directly but they refused to remedy the problem. Tell them you are withholding payment until the problem is resolved.
Are there any limitations on raising claims and defenses?
Yes. In order to assert claims and defenses, the purchase must have been made in the same state you live in, or within 100 miles of your home. Also, the amount of the disputed charge must be more than $50.
If the credit card company and the business honoring the card are connected, for example, a department store honoring its own credit card, this limitation does not apply. This also applies to advertisements that were included in your credit card statement.
If I’ve already paid the disputed amount on my credit card, can I still raise my claims and defenses?
No. Once you pay the disputed amount, you cannot assert claims and defenses. If you paid only part of the disputed amount, you can still put a claim in for the remaining balance owed.
Can I use claims and defenses for purchases made on the telephone?
Yes. If you fall victim to a fraudulent telemarketer, who charges your credit card for worthless vacations, investments, or other goods or services, you can use the claims and defenses procedure to dispute these phony charges.
Can I assert claims and defenses if I place an order by phone with a company in another state?
If the company contacted you by phone, the law states that the purchase took place where you received the call.
If you feel the charge is fraudulent, you can refuse to pay and can assert your claims and defenses.
If you contacted the out-of-state company by phone, the purchase is usually considered to have taken place at their location. In that case, you could not assert your claims and defenses.
Is there a time limit for asserting claims and defenses?
If you sue for the amount in dispute, you must do so within one year of the purchase. However, if the credit card issuer or the retailer sues you, you can raise your claims and defenses at anytime.