Can I dispute this?

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Can I dispute this?

Postby danzer1017 » Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:14 pm

I had some plumbing work done at my house in May 2015. On May 19, 2015, the plumber finished the work, wrote up an invoice, and I gave him my credit card number to pay for it. On July 9, 2015, I informed him that my card had not been charged yet. On July 14, he informed me that his credit card machine had been down due to a storm, and that he would be able to process my payment the following day. It is now August 5 and my card has still not been charged. Does he have a time limit to process the payment? And if the charge finally does show up on my card, can I dispute it because the date of the charge is so far past the date that I was supposed to be charged? I'm not trying to do anything fraudulent or get out of paying, but at this point, it is a big inconvenience to me to have to keep enough available balance open on the card and not know when to expect the charge to show up. Any advice?

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Re: Can I dispute this?

Postby Kevin86475391 » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:43 pm

I can't find a definitive legal answer for you and I'm almost tempted to just call one of my credit card companies and ask because I'm curious too. The speculation I've found - which also makes sense in a common sense way - is something like 30 days to a year. Personally I would have guessed (but as a pure guess) 90 days. I do have some thoughts on this coming from both sides of it though.

A few years back I got a random charge from a bar on one of my credit cards and I almost called to dispute it because it was for a bar I didn't recognize the name of in a nearby town, but not even the city I live in. HOWEVER, instead I Googled that bar name and pulled up pictures and remembered that - oh yeah, I really had gone out there with friends about 5 months earlier. I just hadn't recognized the name and don't usually buy anything in that city. I didn't dispute it because the charge was valid, just really really late. My guess is that they temporarily lost my receipt or something and then decided to charge it anyway when they found it.

On the flip side, I work for a small independent company with only a handful of employees. We're all pretty busy and take on different roles in the company. Sometimes I process charges, sometimes one of my co-workers does...but sometimes we're both so busy - and assume that other person has/will charge the person - that it legitimately takes a couple weeks or more to do it. Now certainly that's just something we should work on doing more promptly, but my point is that sometimes smaller businesses are so busy serving customers and performing the service they're paid to perform, that it's easy to forget/put off this type of thing. A lot of small companies don't have a fast, easy automated system of doing it - or a dedicated billing department - like the big companies. There's a good chance your plumber has to literally stop working on other people's jobs, ordering parts, returning calls, etc. to go locate your credit card info and process it. It wouldn't necessarily take a long time, but he's probably busy with a list of other things to do and doesn't realize it's inconveniencing you, or even that it's been awhile.

My advice and opinion: be patient, maybe just call and politely ask/remind him.

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Re: Can I dispute this?

Postby Vermonster » Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:05 am

It all depends on the statute of limitation in your state. But in general, a contractor has 6 years from the date of completion to bill you. I would make sure that he sends you a paper copy of anything bill related by certified mail. Also hold on to any paperwork that you originally signed. You want to make sure that he isn't going to try and charge you interest for "not paying."

I would also tell him something along the lines of "if you would like to be paid before the end of the month you must have delivered a bill by certified mail by august 15th. If not I will take as many days to repay you as you have taken to send me my bill." plumbers are usually pretty good at math and he'll realize that will be pushing his payment back to November.
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