Reverse CC Fraud (ex biz partner is disputing legitimate charges)

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tex
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Reverse CC Fraud (ex biz partner is disputing legitimate charges)

Postby tex » Sun May 12, 2013 11:44 am

This is complicated, but I really hope some of the experts on this board can help me get some clarity in the following issue. Let me also get this out of the way - I am aware that I made some mistakes here, and could have handled this much better than I did. But here we are, and now it's all about moving forward.

The scenario involves me and 2 other primary actors, an ex business partner of mine (I'll call him 'Pardner') and a very large merchant who is a key vendor in my business.

Pardner and I each own our own, separate companies. We signed a working agreement between our two companies some time ago. During the time we've worked together, our venture has had some common expenses. My company paid the overwhelming majority of those expenses, but I finally got Pardner to agree to pay the regular bills from Merchant via credit card.

I have an email from Pardner where Pardner authorizes me to use his credit card number to begin paying Merchant's fees. Over about two months, we spent several tens of thousands of dollars with Merchant (standard amount - nothing out of the ordinary).

Our companies parted ways a few months ago. We have reached a settlement (overwhelmingly in my company's favor) in a suit and countersuit action. Before the lawsuit, Pardner disputed all of the credit card charges with Merchant.

My company paid 100% of these disputed charges to Merchant so we could continue doing business with them while they tried to resolve the disputes with Pardner. The settlement agreement stipulates that Pardner is not allowed to dispute any more credit card charges that had already been made up to that point. We have an official court transcript in which Pardner admits that he wrote the email authorizing us to use his credit card to pay Merchant (he authorized us to use two of his cards as the cards of record on the account, in fact).

The Credit Card company decided the dispute case against Pardner, and our account with Merchant was credited for the full tens of thousands that Pardner had disputed. This put us in the positive with Merchant, since my company had already paid Merchant the full disputed amount, just to keep things running smoothly.

Now, pardner has disputed these charges a second time. Actually, it seems that once pardner lost the dispute, the charges were put through on his cards a second time. He then disputed this round of charges and claimed that our settlement agreement only pertains to charges that occurred before the agreement was signed.

As I said, convoluted. But here's the problem now. Merchant refuses to do business with us right now unless we pay the tens of thousands of dollars that have been disputed, AGAIN. You read that right - we paid them once, and brought our balance to 0 with Merchant. The disputed charges were paid to Merchant, putting us tens of thousands in the plus with them. Then, when Pardner disputed the second round of charges, our account went back to 0 with Merchant, and Merchant refuses to do business with us until we pay back the disputed amount a second time (putting us, again, tens of thousands in the plus with them).

Merchant is huge and inflexible. They have, for all intents and purposes, no competitors, and although we spend 6 figures a year with them, we are small fry. I have talked with them (difficult to do), and, although sympathetic, they're telling us they can't do anything to help us out. We could pay again, but there's no guarantee that this cycle won't simply continue, and there's only a limited number of times we're willing to pay these disputed charges to Merchant in order to do business with them.

Which brings me to now. Pardner has twice disputed these charges. We have an official court transcript in which Pardner admitted to authorizing us to use his two cards as the cards of record on this account.

I'm not interested in getting revenge on Pardner, I'm just interested in moving forward with my business, repairing vendor relationships, etc. The problem is that Pardner is intent on trying to put me out of business, and he's willing to fraudulently dispute these charges, I guess as many times as he can, in order to try to make things difficult for me.

And that's the long story. What are my options here? My attorney, although very good, is not an expert in questions of credit card law. I feel that we have information that's germane to the credit card dispute, but have no idea who to send it to or how to get it to them. I'd be willing to hire a credit card attorney or expert to help me navigate this, if absolutely necessary.

Also, what's the loophole that could allow someone to dispute charges twice? Could the loophole be used to allow someone to dispute charges even more often than twice - in other words, could this be a neverending cycle, or are we about to reach the end, one way or the other?

I appreciate your help, in advance. I'll do my best to answer any questions while protecting my anonymity.


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Postby RewardHop » Sun May 12, 2013 9:29 pm

This sounds like something you should hire an attorney for and not take advice off a message board. Honestly, it sounds like you will have to take "Pardner" to court to end this.
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Postby FastSRT8 » Sun May 12, 2013 9:44 pm

Agreed.... we are not lawyers and the only one that is even close to giving good advice is no longer posting here (aka CARTER)

Get legal opinion.
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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Sun May 12, 2013 10:58 pm

Well, some of us are lawyers. I can't advise you without looking at the language of the settlement agreement and other items, but, at first blush, it sounds like he's violating the settlement. Generally, when cases are settled, the court retains jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement. Your attorney from that case should be able to help you enforce the agreement.
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tex
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Postby tex » Mon May 13, 2013 1:09 am

I have a good attorney who will be meeting with Pardner's attorney soon about the second round of disputes.

The problem is that he's not a credit card expert. Nor am I. And since I'm not technically a party in the dispute (as far as Merchant and the banks are concerned), it's practically impossible for me to get any concrete information about what Pardner's doing.

So, my questions:

1. Is there any way that a lost dispute can show up as a new charge that can then be disputed as if it was unrelated to the original disputed charge?
2. If not, how is it possible for someone to dispute the same charge twice?
3. Is there a limit to the number of times someone can dispute a charge?
4. Do you think the bank or Merchant would be interested in official court testimony in which Pardner admitted to sending me an email authorizing me to use his credit card number, and if so, how do I find the right person to get it to?
5. Is it possible that Pardner is committing any kind of criminal offense by knowingly disputing charges that he has (on record) admitted to authorizing?

Even though I have an attorney, navigating this whole thing is very complicated. I'm trying to educate myself as much as possible before I have to decide how to pursue this (either as a violation of the settlement agreement or in some other manner).

Thanks for any information you have. Rest assured that any moves I do take will be in concert with my attorney. I'm just trying to educate myself as much as possible before I make a decision on how to proceed.

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Postby djrez4 » Mon May 13, 2013 8:09 pm

Tex -

I think you're approaching this the wrong way. While it's understandable to want to just reverse what Pardner did, you're right about being outside of the process. While you're the one hurt, you're not really involved.

There isn't much you can do about the dispute process. The card company will ask the vendor for information regarding the charges. If you have a reliable contact at the vendor, you may want to provide a copy of the testimony and the writing authorizing the use of the card.

I'd focus on the settlement agreement and a potential breach of his promises to you. That's directly actionable. While I can't directly address the laws of your state (Texas?), I can tell you that in most states, the court will entertain a motion to enforce the agreement. I'm guessing it'll be granted. If the agreement was well written, a non-breaching party is awarded attorney fees necessary to enforce the agreement in case of a breach, meaning Pardner pays for your lawyer.
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tex
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Postby tex » Tue May 14, 2013 5:06 am

djrez: Thanks for the reply.

This is in Texas. I will send a copy of the email and the testimony to my contact at Merchant.

The only difficult thing left is to know whether he can weasel out of this breach on a technicality. I don't understand the dispute process well enough to know how or whether he could have manipulated things so that the overturned disputes showed up as new charges on one of his credit cards after the first round of disputes was decided in Merchant's favor.

That's really the only mystery left. Again, thanks for your advice, so far. As I'm sure you can imagine, dealing with this sort of thing can be very frustrating!

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Postby mrblock » Tue May 14, 2013 5:20 pm

I hope I never have a pardner like this.

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Postby Z06Biker » Tue May 14, 2013 10:06 pm

djrez, you really are a gem to this community. Much props.
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