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Card/Account Holders and Approving Officials Purchase Training

Lesson 8: Disputes

What is a dispute?

A dispute is a disagreement between the card/account holder and the merchant with respect to a transaction. Disputable charges include double billings and charges to your account that belong to another account. Non-disputable charges include sales tax and shipping. You, the card/account holder, are responsible for notifying the contractor bank of any items in dispute and shall have 90 calendar days from the transaction date to initiate a dispute, unless otherwise specified by the agency/organization.

Payment of the undisputed charges must be made by the payment due date. Once you have submitted the dispute to the bank, delinquency of the disputed amount will be held in abeyance until the matter is resolved.

Please note that you relinquish your right to recover a disputed amount if you do not dispute it before 90 calendar days from the transaction date.

How should I handle questionable charges on the bill?

As a card/account holder, you are responsible for reviewing all charges on your statement. One of the first signs of fraud is at least one “mystery expense” showing up on your statement. Verify your statement by:

  • Looking for transactions or account withdrawals you do not recall making.
  • Checking for unknown vendors.

If you do notice a questionable charge, act promptly so that you will have the necessary information before payment is due.

Contact the merchant for clarification on the charge.

  • If you need help identifying the merchant, call the contractor bank’s customer service number.
  • If the charge is erroneous, generally the merchant will reverse it and it will appear as a credit on your next statement.
  • Be sure to follow up and make sure the credit was posted to your account and deduct the credited amount from your payment.
  • If the credit is not posted in a reasonable amount of time, dispute the charge with the bank.
  • If the merchant says it is a legitimate charge to your account, ask for proof, such as a signed receipt.
  • If, after receiving the additional information from the merchant, you do not agree that it is a legitimate charge, dispute the charge with the bank.

What do I do if I’ve been billed for an item, but I’ve not yet received it?

If you have been billed for an item that has not yet been delivered, you should first contact the merchant to determine if the item has been shipped. Try to resolve any issues with the merchant directly by arranging either receipt of the item or by requesting a credit. Also, double check your agency’s policy - some agencies will authorize payment of any item that has been shipped but not received.

What happens when I’ve returned an item, but it has not been credited?

If you have returned merchandise, but have not received a credit on your statement within a reasonable period of time and could not resolve the issue with the merchant, dispute the transaction.

What should I do if there are multiple billings on my statement?

If you have confirmed a double billing and could not resolve the issue with the merchant, dispute the duplicate transaction.

What should I do if I was billed for an item I did not order?

If you have been billed for an item that you never ordered, dispute the transaction.


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