Got Scammed? Here's How to Get a Credit Card Refund

Got Scammed? Here's How to Get a Credit Card Refund
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Ever made the mistake of buying something from a sham website or retailer? Maybe you bought something online that never made it in the mail, or maybe it did come, but it wasn't what you ordered. How do you get your money back when the company you ordered from isn't being cooperative?

Getting conned by a shady retailer is nothing to be ashamed of--sometimes it's hard to tell whether or not an online merchant should be trusted. We've got a lot of shopping and deals experts on our team here at Brad's Deals, but from time to time, even we have to cut ties with an untrustworthy company. No one is more upset than we are to discover a merchant we work with is using some devious business practices, because we are--first and foremost--consumer advocates. If we post a deal from a merchant that can't deliver on its promises, it makes us look bad. We're here to help you save money, not get scammed out of it!

If you've already tried and failed to get an appropriate response from the merchant or website you ordered from, there's still one more way to get your money back: dispute the charges with your credit card company and request a chargeback.

How to Protect Your Credit Card Number Online

Flickr / Fosforix

According to the Visa merchant agreement, chargebacks are "the reversal of the dollar value, in whole or in part, of a particular transaction by the card issuer to the acquired, and usually, by the merchant bank to the merchant." Basically, if the retailer refuses to give you a refund or just flat-out ignores your requests for one, your credit card company can force them to pay up--and then some. It won't work every time, but here are some steps for getting back your hard earned cash from a scheming online merchant.

1. Tell the merchant you plan to pursue a chargeback

No retailer wants to be hit with a chargeback request from a credit card company, so even if your attempts at polite negotiation have been met with curt emails, phone calls or nothing at all, it's still best to reach out to the merchant one last time before going to your credit card company. A chargeback threat can be the nudge they need to finally comply with your wishes, and a refund through the original retailer is a lot less of a hassle--both for you and for them. Chargebacks reflect negatively on a business, and most legit companies won't want one on their books. If they're still refusing or ignoring your requests after you let them know you're planning to dispute the charges with your credit card company, it's time to move forward with a chargeback request.

2. Do your research

If you're having serious problems with this company, it's probably safe to assume you're not the only one. Look for customer reviews of the retailer on sites like Yelp, Google or SiteJabber, or better yet, check out their grade (A+ to F) from the Better Business Bureau. Take screenshots of any reports of negative experiences similar to your own, and save them to share with your credit card company.

3. Collect essential records and information related to your purchase

Gather together all records related to this purchase--receipts, emails, tracking numbers, packing slips and, of course, the item in question (if you received it at all). If the item is still available for sale on the site, take a screenshot of the page and item description, especially if it doesn't match what was ultimately delivered to you. You'll need to present all this information to your credit card company to use in their review of the situation.

4. Take photos and get proof of counterfeiting

If your purchase arrived damaged, defective, not as advertised or if you suspect it is a counterfeit product, take photos from all angles, and use a photo editing program to point out particularly egregious offences. If you believe the product is a counterfeit but can't prove it with a photograph, try contacting the official brand by email to see if the merchant you bought it from is an authorized vendor of that product. Save any responses that indicate the merchant in question is not authorized to be selling this product--this is solid proof of counterfeiting.

5. Call your credit card company and request a chargeback

As soon as you've gathered everything you've got everything you need to back you up, call the customer service number on the back of your credit card and let the representative know you want to dispute a charge and request a chargeback. Try to make this call before you pay the credit card bill that includes the item you want to dispute--this will make things easier in the long run.

Have you ever gotten a chargeback from a shady merchant? Tell us your story in the comments!