Legal options when merchant and credit card [take advantage of you]

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Legal options when merchant and credit card [take advantage of you]

Post by NDS » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:53 pm

Short question - what are the legal options, either against credit card issuer or against merchant, when you've "exhausted" the credit card dispute process? Any productive advice appreciated!

(Amt at risk is $1400, provided all relevant documentation including shipper tracking logs that reflect refused delivery of
item in question. Merchant does allow returns, but since I refused delivery, doesn't this bypass any possible merchant claim
that I didn't follow their return policy?)

- FTC, Consumerist, others likely to be any help? Have already tried tweeting credit card issuer wasn't much help.
- Small claims court? And against who, merchant and/or credit card issuer?
- Hire a lawyer? $1400 is not a small sum, and I'm *quite perturbed* with folks at this point on the principle, but no idea if
there are lawyers that take this kind of case, certainly don't know any.

Long form history:

- Electronics vendor ran a great sale on tvs over Black Friday, struggled with their web site to place the order for the item(s) I wanted. Ended up placing 2 wrong orders, each time calling the 1-800 # after ordering and being assured order was cancelled, 3 try ended up being the charm and got the right order/item. More fool I, accepted the word of customer reps @ 1-800 # and assumed the 2 wrong orders were cancelled. Turns out I received email shipping notifications for those items about 2 minutes before I received emails to the effect of `order shipped, you'll need to follow return process'. Per advice I've always seen in this sitch, I called the shipping companies and informed I was refusing delivery, have receipts to that effect from both.

- Thought the above would be it, would get a credit back from merchant and that's it. More fool I, received credit for one wrong order (after calling merchant), but keep being told "oh it's coming but not yet" on credit for second order. Fast forward 45+ days of delay, and I decided to open a credit card dispute since, you know, that's why you use credit cards instead of debit/etc. Sent in all documentation, full explanation, called many times over course of next 75+ days, always back and forth with "we issued credit, but now might be reversed, moving to next stage of arbitration". Last time I called, they said it would be in my favor, so I forgot about it until now. Just checked statement, and low/behold was `re-charged' 25+ days ago. This time when I called credit card company, pretty much got the "yeah, you're screwed, we `sent' the info over via email but maybe it got caught in your spam (it didn't), nothing more you can do".

- So have "exhausted" the credit card dispute "process", which claims the merchant "submitted documentation" to the "arbitrator" that ruled in their favor, yet haven't forwarded me a copy!

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Re: Legal options when merchant and credit card [take advantage of you]

Post by Hazel-Rah » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:48 pm

I had something similar happen to me. I cancelled the card since the charge back service advertised was good for nothing. I continued to harass the merchant through all channels discoverable (phone, email, social media) until they acquiesced and refunded my money for the goods they never provided. Now, I do not shop at that merchant. Sorry for your bad luck.

Small claims court limits allow $1400. My insistence that I would be filing a claim surely helped to convince my merchant.

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Re: Legal options when merchant and credit card [take advantage of you]

Post by jjface » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:57 pm

Try disputing one of the other orders and try again? After all the say the incorrect one was completed and you only received one item. So therefore the other two should be refunded. As long as you only get charged $1400 once that is all that matters.

Do you have the tracking numbers for all three? What do they say? It could be that UPS or whoever has screwed you over and say two were "delivered"? Might be time for one of those video doorbells or something if you have a dodgy delivery guy. Edit You did say you have evidence to say they were refused though so probably not that.

Have you tried the merchant again? Perhaps better to go through their customer service channels. I suspect they got confused and think you are trying to screw them over with the one you did get delivered.

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Re: Legal options when merchant and credit card [take advantage of you]

Post by celia » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:07 pm

First, I would stop using that credit card and when everything is resolved, close the account.

Second, I am having a hard time understanding what has happened and think the credit card company may also be mis-understanding you. It appears to me that you had 3 orders on the same date but 2 were canceled due to you mis-ordering and were never received so you expected to be billed for only one order.

If that is the case, you likely need to simplify things in your communication. In addition, taking responsibility for mis-ordering will go a long way in resolving this. Admit that you goofed and that it made things complicated but you eventually put in a "good" order.

You may have a hard time discussing this on the phone as all the orders happened within a short period of time. The vendor and credit card company can easily be looking at a different order than you are when you are on the phone unless the total amount of each of the orders was different or there is another way to distinguish them. My guess is that is what has happened.

The credit card company resolves disputes by looking at documentation from both parties. They probably see a delivery being accepted from the vendor's point of view. But did they see two deliveries accepted? You are disputing one delivery, yet they see that you received one delivery so it is reasonable to favor the vendor.

What I would do is call the billing department at the vendor and talk to a billing supervisor who has authority to resolve billing issues. Explain that you made 3 orders on Black Friday and since you were ordering quickly, you goofed on the first two order attempts. Say you're sorry for creating this billing mess, but on the third attempt you got your order correct. You were so glad to still be able to get an order for a good price after you goofed. [Acknowledging your part in this problem will go a long way to having someone be more willing to help you.] Then clarify that of the three orders, you expected that you would pay for one of them since the other two were canceled the same day they were placed. However, trying to clarify this with the credit card company has not gone well. Could they see what their records say for your three orders? Does it show that you were credited back for two of them and the charge for the third one went through or did two charges go through? Take it from there and work with them to ask what their process is and what you can do to help fix it. What can they do to help fix it? Thank them for spending the time to help you fix "your problem".

If this doesn't help at all, use the same approach with the credit card company. Be aware that different parties may easily get your orders mixed up since you did create three orders. Try to find a way from their viewpoint on how to distinguish the orders.

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Re: Legal options when merchant and credit card [take advantage of you]

Post by LifeIsGood » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:05 am

I've had good luck filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in a situation like yours. I got both problems resolved in my favor rather quickly.

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Re: Legal options when merchant and credit card [take advantage of you]

Post by inbox788 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:17 pm

Begin by improving the clarity of your communications. I'm still confused by what your issue is. Also, dispute any and all charges with the credit card company involving this merchant so that they can combine all the charges into one case and deal with it as a whole. It appears that they're dealing with it piecemeal and it's adding to the confusion. Also, you need to reach someone at the merchant that can see all the transactions and the credit card actions to see exactly what happened. I don't think they're out to screw you, but they're not seeing the problem and aren't taking the time and effort to figure it out. You need to lay it all in front of them and fix each step. Is this a major merchant or some small time eBay seller? If you have truly exhausted these steps, legal action may be your only course, but you should try to deal with high level merchant and use as much credit card company leverage to get them to address the issues.

It might help to walk through each order with us and how you stand with the merchant.

Order 1: what does the merchant say happened? why do you differ? was item received? credit card charged? or charged back?

Same with
Order 2:
Order 3:

etc. Seems you were charged as many as 4 times?

If it turns out they're using the same delivery to charge you for 2 orders, make it clear to the merchant and credit card company. Now if the delivery shows 2 deliveries, you may have to deal with the delivery companies as well.

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Re: Legal options when merchant and credit card [take advantage of you]

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:52 pm

FYI - I changed the thread and post titles to be more "family-friendly".
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Re: Legal options when merchant and credit card [take advantage of you]

Post by TheTimeLord » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:15 pm

Why would you refuse delivery instead of using the RMA included with the merchandise or get a RMA from the merchant. Seems like refusing delivery might have compromised their ability to track the purchase. How do you know it was actually returned and not stuck in a warehouse?
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