How to Dispute a Credit Card Transaction Based on Real Experience

In July of this year I was scrolling through my transactions on Yodlee like I commonly do to insure my wife hasn’t put another BMW on the credit card. Just kidding. I was scrolling, but I was looking for any suspicious transactions suggesting my numbers had been stolen.

In doing this over about 10 years, I’ve rarely found anything. It’s never an exciting task, but back in July I came across a single curious charge.

Doubletree Hotel Billing Error

The good news was that I had just come back from a trip to Denver where I had stayed at a Doubletree so I did not think anyone had stolen my card or my numbers.  The bad news was that I had already found the correct Doubletree charge on my bill – and it was a lot less!

I figured the easiest thing to do was just to call the Doubletree.  So, I did.  Unfortunately getting a billing person on the phone there was like hunting for a unicorn with a rainbow horn.  It took a couple of days, but I finally got her on the phone.  She could easily locate the correct charge, but there was no record in their system for the $750.48 charge.  So, she couldn’t confirm it, she couldn’t reverse it, and she certainly couldn’t figure out why it happened.  Well that’s just great.  Thanks a lot Doubletree!

My only other option was to fight the charge on the other end so I called up the customer service guy on my Fidelity Investment Rewards AMEX serviced through FIA Card Services.  Like me he could easily see both charges, and he quickly transferred me to someone in billing disputes.  For him I basically said the transaction was erroneous, and he said they’d handle it.  He also said they would send me a written notice that would confirm they were “researching” my dispute.  In the meantime I was to not pay that portion of my bill.  I said OK, but I autopay my bill so won’t it pull through the full amount.  He said it wouldn’t since it was a disputed transaction (he was right).

About a week later I got a note from FIA saying they were researching my dispute and that it would take about 30 days.  This got me to thinking….could me not paying this somehow be messing up my credit score because Doubletree might take action against me or this would show up as not a complete on-time payment.  I tried not to get obsessive about it, but I couldn’t last the whole 30 days.  I called the number in their written notice, and talked to another nice customer service guy.  His answers to me were no, no, and no.  No, we don’t have an update.  No, this will not show as an incomplete payment.  And, no it will have no impact on your credit score.  Well, OK so I just had to wait it out.  I figured this one would be pretty easy to solve or maybe even Doubletree would have reached out to me for clarification by now, but nothing.  Complete radio silence is a great way to drive me crazy.

Luckily just a few days later and I was back on Yodlee when I saw this:

Doubletree Hotel Billing Error Correction

It seriously made my day.  For some reason I was feeling about $750 richer.  I guess technically I was since I had captured it in my net worth in the earlier month.  So, that’s my story.  Not particularly exciting or Consumerist worthy, but in this case everything worked out as it should have in the boring, mechanical way I like my finances to be!

Any of you have a story of disputing a credit card transaction?

UPDATE:  Today, 9/13 I received written confirmation of the reversal, and that they are considering the matter closed.  Me too!







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  • Weird that doubletree couldn’t fix it for you. We had an incident where our card was accidentally swiped for two rooms at a hotel check-in once, so our card was billed twice Luckily when I called the hotel was able to track it down and figure out that we paid for our room AND someone else’s room who checked in right before we did (looks like the clerk didn’t close their file before swiping our card the first time). They corrected it right away, no harm done.

    • Yeah, it was really weird to talk to their accounting people and have them deny that the charge even existed since they couldn’t see it. It’s like well if you didn’t charge me for this then who did???

  • Mike

    Interesting, I had my Fidelity AMEX compromised TWICE within 2 years. Once on the first card, once on the replacement card. Each time I really had no idea when/where/how the card number got compromised. Each time, thousands of dollars in charges were racked up. Luckily they reimbursed all of it.

    It’s like the Wild Wild West out there with card numbers. I will say that I’ve never had a card number get stolen twice until I signed up for the Fidelity card, which is a shame because I use it all the time.

    • I think Fidelity has replaced my card twice for breaches that were of a more global nature. I’ve never had a fraudulent transaction on it though.

  • I had to dispute once also…and also it was for an incorrect hotel charge…and also through AMEX (gold card not fidelity). It is amazing how easy it was and everything was just fixed. Good reason to use CCs vs Debit cards! You would have literally had $750 pulled from you and then have to fight for it back.

  • Mits

    Someone fraudulently charged $320 to on my Fidelity AMEX back in December. Luckily, I happened to be checking my activity online the day the fraud occurred and called FIA Card Services immediately. They posted a refund to my account on the same day! Overall, I have been very happy with Fidelity AMEX customer service. Just another reason I continue to use this card for the majority of my purchases (and the 2% kickback to my Roth IRA isn’t bad either).