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Card/Account Holders and Approving Officials Travel Training

Lesson 10: 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 card/account that belong to another card/account. Non-disputable charges include sales tax, shipping, and returned or unused airline tickets. Usually, airline tickets are purchased by the Travel Management Company (TMC) using the centrally billed account (CBA) and the amount will never appear on your travel card/account. In the instance when you purchase airline tickets using your own individually billed account (IBA) and you return the tickets, the airline will issue a credit against your account. You, the card/account holder, are responsible for notifying the contractor bank of any items in dispute and will 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 do you 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 that 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 listed on the back of your GSA SmartPay® Travel card/account.
  • 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 card/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.

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