Credit Card Refund Rules

By Madison Garcia
Close up of a credit card
Potapova Valeriya/iStock/Getty Images

In most states, a retailer is not obligated to provide you a refund for merchandise purchased on a credit card. If you're unhappy with your purchase and can't get a refund, your credit card provider can investigate the issue on your behalf. You also can receive refunds from your credit card provider for erroneous and fraudulent charges.

Merchant Credit Card Refund Rules

Exact refund laws vary by state but most don't require retailers to accept returns. Different retailers have their own time periods allotted for returns. Some require receipts for refunds and some do not. Others will only exchange merchandise for store credit, and some consider the initial transaction to be final sale. However, most states do require that the retailer somehow inform you of refund policies. If you're unsure, look for signs posted around the store, on sale tags or on your purchase receipt.

Requesting a Refund

If you have an issue with goods or services you purchased with a credit card and the merchant won't issue you a refund, reach out to your credit card provider for assistance. The Fair Credit Billing Act allows consumers to dispute goods and services that were unsatisfactory, low quality or misleading. If the purchase was more than $50 and you purchased the items locally, your credit card provider is obligated to investigate the dispute. After contacting the seller, your credit card company will either issue you a refund or provide a specific explanation for why the charges are valid.

Credit Card Errors

You can get a refund for any credit card errors or mistakes you find on your bill. If a merchant overcharged you or never delivered the goods and won't fix the mistake, your credit card provider will intervene. To dispute an error, you must contact your credit card provider within 60 days of receiving the bill. Your credit card company must acknowledge the dispute within 30 days and resolve it within two billing cycles or 90 days.

Unauthorized Charges

Consumers have limited liability for unauthorized credit card charges. If a merchant charges your card without your permission or the card is lost or stolen, report the charges to your credit card provider for a refund. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you can only be held liable for up to $50 of any unauthorized charges. If your credit card number was compromised but you still have the card itself, you're not liable for any charges.

About the Author

Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.