Sounds pretty good, huh?
Just launched three days ago, the site charges a fee of half the disputed amount on your credit card.
They return their take if you don’t end up saving money.
You have the option of paying a $29.95 flat fee to cover large amounts, but that doesn’t include the money-back guarantee.
I think this new service offers nothing but more headaches: more of my time, more email, more aggravation.
Remember Voltaire’s observation: “I have only been ruined but twice in my life – once when I lost a lawsuit, and once when I won one.”
On a related topic, you should know that if your credit card is used fraudulently, your liability is limited, by federal law, to a maximum of $50.
So don’t waste your money on those ridiculous offers that come attached to the return envelope for your credit card payment, the ones that offer you “credit card insurance.”
Because it’s a total bogus deal – you don’t need credit card insurance: the federal government already gives it to you gratis, for life, with a $50 deductible.
Here’s Jennifer Saranow’s Thursday Wall Street Journal article about DisputeMyCharge.com.
- Web Site That Helps You Fight Card Charges Meets Skepticism
A new Web site aims to make it easier for consumers to dispute improper credit-card and debit-card charges, but some consumer advocates and card companies are skeptical about the site’s claims.
DisputeMyCharge.com, which was launched yesterday, says it can help people with card-billing errors settle the matter with the merchant first.
“If you go to your credit-card company, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition,” says Glen Bolofsky, president and founder of DisputeMyCharge.com, based in Paramus, N.J.
“You are either going to lose 100% or gain 100%, but if you work with the merchant, you have a chance of different options.”
Mr. Bolofsky earlier founded parkingticket.com, which helps consumers fight parking tickets.
DisputeMyCharge.com’s fee: half the cost of the disputed amount, which is returned if the site doesn’t save the consumer money. Users also can opt for a $29.95 flat charge to cover larger disputes, but that doesn’t include a money-back guarantee.
But some consumer groups and card companies say there is no reason why consumers should have to pay to get disputes settled.
Visa USA Inc. recommends that consumers first go to merchants on their own for disputes over the quality of goods and services and then, if the dispute is not resolved, call the card issuer.
In cases of fraud, Visa recommends going to the card issuer immediately.
American Express Co., on the other hand, suggests consumers first come to it because of the nature of its merchant network.
MasterCard International Inc. says it is best to go to the issuer first to get the dispute on record.
“It seems extremely expensive for something that you can do yourself,” says Linda Sherry, editorial director of Consumer Action, a consumer education and advocacy organization in San Francisco.
There is no reason, she says, why consumers can’t just go to merchants first themselves and if that doesn’t work, then go to the card issuer.
An exception: She says consumers should always go to issuers first if they believe the charges to be fraudulent.
Laws govern how issuers must respond to a cardholder’s complaints about billing errors.
Generally, consumers have 60 days after they receive a statement with an error to notify the issuer.
For credit cards, consumers don’t have to pay the disputed amount until the issuer finishes investigating it, and then only if the issuer sides with the merchant.
For debit cards, if the dispute investigation takes longer than a certain period, issuers generally must put the money back into a consumer’s account until the investigation is finished.
Mr. Bolofsky says criticism of his site from consumer advocates misses the point.
He says that most consumers don’t call the merchants because they don’t want to confront them or don’t know what to say.
Meanwhile, as to the idea that consumers can just go directly to the card issuer free of charge, he says most consumers are not experts on the rules and regulations to ensure that they will win the dispute.
To use DisputeMyCharge.com, consumers sign on and enter information about the charge they want to dispute including the dollar amount, name of the merchant and the reason they want to fight the charge.
Then consumers pick from a drop-down menu of dispute codes, which the site claims are the card companies’ official codes.
Before the site takes action, users must pay half the value of the disputed amount upfront by credit card or money order.
The site then sends a letter demanding a refund to the merchant.
The merchant is asked to log on to the site within 10 days to either approve or disapprove a recredit, or to communicate online with the customer about the disputed charge and other resolution options.