First billing dispute finally resolved

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Vattené
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First billing dispute finally resolved

Postby Vattené » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:25 pm

After several months, the only billing dispute I've ever initiated was resolved in my favor. My wife and I booked a package in June for a vacation we took in July. Long story short, they didn't let us do an activity when we got there and refused to refund us anything at first even though the confirmation email we got at booking contradicted what they told us in person.

At the time I thought to myself I'm glad I used Amex for this so I can test out their reputation for coming down on their cardholders' sides in disputes. We didn't want to waste the entire day, so we decided to do the other activities. I fought tooth and nail with them until they finally agreed to refund 50% of the activity we couldn't do (under $100 of the approximately $300 package we booked). We went on with our day and enjoyed the rest of the trip. I made sure the refund posted when the statement closed, then started a dispute with Amex for the remaining 50%, or about $100 (we did everything else, so I was happy paying for that and thought getting a full refund for just that activity was fair to both me and the merchant).

I started the dispute online. It may have been easier to just do it all on the phone because I ended up having to go around and around with Amex a few times just to clarify everything. I couldn't just claim $100 of the $300 total charge, but I explained in the details what I wanted. It also probably would have gone faster if I never got a refund directly from the merchant, because Amex saw that I got a credit from them and closed the inquiry thinking I got what I wanted. I talked to a person next to clarify. She was great and started another dispute for the $100 amount, but the same thing happened. This was the first time they asked for any supporting documentation, but again they just saw that same amount I was claiming as a credit and closed the dispute. It made me doubt anyone actually read the letter they asked me to write and sign. I called in a third time, and this CSR initiated another dispute at the end of October for the full charge that initially went through. I uploaded the same supporting documentation, and got a letter in January (I'm assuming the merchant just never responded to them) that Amex was crediting me the full amount of the original charge. That just posted to my statement, so between the refund from the merchant in July and the credit from Amex now I actually ended up getting more back than we even paid.

The dispute process could have been smoother (part of the problem is every time you want to talk to someone about it, you just get a random CSR and even if they are great it gets passed along the line). I ended up getting more than I requested, though, so it left me pretty pleased with Amex.
-Vattené
FICO-8: EX - 827 (5/17) | TU - 824 (5/17)
My Cards: Barclay Arrival+ | Discover it | Amex ED
AU:: Discover Miles | BofA BBR | Barclay Commence (SD'd)


badger83
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Re: First billing dispute finally resolved

Postby badger83 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:49 pm

Persistence pays off. Good on you. I think I would have lost my mind having to keep starting over like that. But nice to see Amex stood with you in the end.

I know what you mean about a request getting "passed down the line." I'm just had to resolve an issue with AT&T, and every time you get a new CSR "helping" you, it's back to the drawing board with you having to explain your situation yet again.

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Vattené
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Re: First billing dispute finally resolved

Postby Vattené » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:01 pm

That's exactly how I felt. Everyone I talked to was professional and seemed eager to help, but there were times where I felt Amex wasn't even looking at what I was disputing because I spelled it out from the beginning. I was mainly on a mission of vengeance against the merchant. Two separate occasions in our email confirmation conflicted with what they told us when we got there, and when I showed it in writing to their face all they would do is apologize and promise to fix it in the future. I'm traveling here from out of state, so a lot of good that will do me. They also outright lied and said we were actually told something else over the phone when we booked, so I wasn't sure how a dispute would turn out. I have what they confirmed in email, but it could still just be my word against theirs with what they claim was said over the phone.
-Vattené
FICO-8: EX - 827 (5/17) | TU - 824 (5/17)
My Cards: Barclay Arrival+ | Discover it | Amex ED
AU:: Discover Miles | BofA BBR | Barclay Commence (SD'd)

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: First billing dispute finally resolved

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:21 pm

Glad it ended favorably, but that's definitely a long dispute process.

I'm not sure what the best thing to do is when a merchant issues a less-than-satisfactory refund. I think you're right that calling would have probably been better. You'd get someone's full attention that way, and avoid having a rushed (or lazy) employee look at what you submitted online and just assume (for his or her own convenience) that the partial refund meant you resolved it on your own.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

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Vattené
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Re: First billing dispute finally resolved

Postby Vattené » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:14 am

That it went back and forth between Amex and me a couple of times (presumably without their even contacting the merchant) was frustrating, especially because I made it clear that I was requesting credit beyond what I originally got myself. I can't fault them for the last inquiry taking a couple of months. I'm guessing they tried contacting the merchant and they just never responded, and after so long they just automatically resolve it in the customer's favor (their letter wasn't too specific). I'm happy with the end result, though, so despite a few quibbles it left me with a favorable view of Amex.
-Vattené
FICO-8: EX - 827 (5/17) | TU - 824 (5/17)
My Cards: Barclay Arrival+ | Discover it | Amex ED
AU:: Discover Miles | BofA BBR | Barclay Commence (SD'd)

mountaindewvoltage
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Re: First billing dispute finally resolved

Postby mountaindewvoltage » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:41 pm

AMEX should just automatically side the cardholder, even if there's proof the purchase was legitimate, like back in the old days.

Tubpbs
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Re: First billing dispute finally resolved

Postby Tubpbs » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:44 am

mountaindewvoltage wrote:AMEX should just automatically side the cardholder, even if there's proof the purchase was legitimate, like back in the old days.


That's an absurd position. What inventive does that leave for a merchant to process the card?
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Vattené
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Re: First billing dispute finally resolved

Postby Vattené » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:33 pm

Plus it would open the floodgates for cardholders to abuse this and file bogus claims.
-Vattené
FICO-8: EX - 827 (5/17) | TU - 824 (5/17)
My Cards: Barclay Arrival+ | Discover it | Amex ED
AU:: Discover Miles | BofA BBR | Barclay Commence (SD'd)

mountaindewvoltage
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Re: First billing dispute finally resolved

Postby mountaindewvoltage » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:34 pm

Tubpbs wrote:
mountaindewvoltage wrote:AMEX should just automatically side the cardholder, even if there's proof the purchase was legitimate, like back in the old days.


That's an absurd position. What inventive does that leave for a merchant to process the card?


You must not understand the history of AMEX and the difference between them and the other networks.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: First billing dispute finally resolved

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:05 pm

mountaindewvoltage wrote:
Tubpbs wrote:
mountaindewvoltage wrote:AMEX should just automatically side the cardholder, even if there's proof the purchase was legitimate, like back in the old days.


That's an absurd position. What inventive does that leave for a merchant to process the card?


You must not understand the history of AMEX and the difference between them and the other networks.

We have an expert in our midst...someone who has resisted from rage-closing his accounts for three whole months. :ppp
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card



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