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How I Won a $300+ Chase Dispute [Plus Tips on Winning a Dispute]

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Jessica Merritt
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Jessica Merritt

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A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...
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Credit card disputes can get your money back when merchants don’t deliver. When I had an issue with theater ticket delivery and the seller wouldn’t budge on a refund, I filed a dispute with Chase and won.

Here’s what I did to win my dispute — and tips on what you can do to make your credit card dispute successful.

How Credit Card Disputes Work

When you have a problem with a charge on your credit card, you can file a dispute for it. You have the right to dispute problem transactions on your credit card under the Fair Credit Billing Act, or FCBA. You can dispute charges for unauthorized transactions, billing errors, payment errors, or issues with goods or services.

Generally, you first need to contact the merchant to try to work it out. Once you’ve given the merchant a fair chance to make it right, you can then initiate the dispute process with the credit card issuer within 60 days of your bill. You should share documentation to support your problem with the transaction.

The issuer then investigates the dispute, contacting the merchant for a response. During this time, your account may be temporarily credited for the amount in question. Keep an eye out for follow-up questions, and be ready to provide additional information if needed. Once the investigation is complete, the issuer sends you the results of its investigation. If you disagree with its findings, you can appeal the decision with the issuer.

While errors such as being overcharged or finding a charge you didn’t authorize are common reasons to file a credit card dispute, you can also dispute a charge if you have a problem with the goods or services you received.

In my case, I didn’t receive what I paid for on time, and the merchant didn’t deliver on advertised terms.

Why I Filed a Credit Card Dispute

During a recent stay at the Thompson Houston, my husband and I wanted to see Beetlejuice the Musical, a Broadway show on tour. We purchased same-day tickets from Vivid Seats, a ticket resale company. Unfortunately, Vivid Seats never delivered tickets for the seats we purchased.

An hour before the show, I contacted Vivid Seats customer service to get an update on ticket delivery. It did not go well. I spent the hour before the show chatting with a Vivid Seats agent while being assured that my tickets would be delivered — but I never actually received the tickets we’d paid for.

About 10 minutes to show time, as the theater asked us to find our seats, Vivid Seats offered me alternative tickets several rows back. I accepted the offer so we didn’t have to leave without seeing the show. Of course, by then, it was far too late to get preshow refreshments, use the restroom, or calmly find our seats.

The lesser tickets were emailed to me a scant 2 minutes before the show started. It was physically impossible to get the tickets scanned in, walk up the stairs, get to the theater doors, and reach our seats in 2 minutes. We made it upstairs just in time to see the doors slam shut, then had to wait in the lobby, watching the production on a TV until a break when an usher could take us to our seats.

Hot Tip:

Document everything you can when disputing a credit card charge. As we waited in the lobby, I took a photo of my watch in front of the closed doors and the TV so I could show that we did not receive tickets with adequate time to reach our seats.

Chase dispute documentation photo
Stuck outside several minutes into the show. Vivid Seats didn’t care about this photo, but Chase did.

It was a relief when we finally made it to our seats, and the show — what we saw of it — was fantastic. But the entire ordeal was unnecessarily stressful and not the experience I expected when I paid over $300 for tickets.

Later, I reached out to Vivid Seats to ask for a resolution but got nothing. I chatted, I emailed, I agreed to an investigation, and I was told each time that because I received tickets “before the show,” there would be no refund. I saved my communications every step of the way, knowing I could escalate to a credit card dispute if customer service went nowhere.

Spoiler alert: It went nowhere.

Submitting a Dispute With Chase

After the Vivid Seats investigation did nothing but waste my time, I took the next step and filed a dispute with Chase. I also submitted complaints to the Better Business Bureau and a handful of review websites.

I’d used my Chase Freedom Unlimited® for this purchase, so I logged in to my Chase account to file the dispute. I selected the transaction and then clicked on Report a problem under the transaction details.

Vivid Seats dispute transaction
I started the dispute by finding the transaction and reporting a problem. Image Credit: Chase

I was given several choices describing problems with a charge and selected The merchant was late or never provided the product or service.

Chase dispute options
Chase offered me numerous scenarios to explain the problem. Image Credit: Chase

A dialogue popped up to confirm that I should choose this option if my order arrived late or never arrived — which is what happened with my tickets.

I then shared the details of the transaction, including what I’d paid for, what had happened to the service, how much of the transaction amount I was disputing, and when I’d expected to receive the service. Chase also asked what date I’d contacted the merchant about the transaction and asked me to describe how the experience had differed from my expectations. With all of that information ready, I submitted the dispute.

Chase emailed me the same day to indicate that the transaction was under review, it was awaiting a merchant response, and that my account was temporarily credited the amount during the investigation. I was instructed to save all documentation related to the dispute, including receipts and a record of correspondence with the merchant acknowledging the error.

I didn’t have an opportunity to upload documents when I originally submitted the dispute. However, when I went into the Dispute Tracker under the Account Services menu in my online account, there was an option to upload files.

Here’s the dispute documentation I sent Chase:

  • A photo of my watch demonstrating we did not reach our seats by the start of the show
  • Screenshots of my chats with Vivid Seats customer service documenting the hourlong saga of asking for my tickets, the late delivery, my requests for a refund, and Vivid Seats’ refusal to give me a refund
  • A screenshot of the Vivid Seats 100% buyer guarantee that promises tickets will be delivered before the event or your money back
  • Another screenshot of the guarantee that promises the tickets you receive are identical, comparable, or even better than the ones you ordered or your money back
  • A screenshot of the Vivid Seats terms of use, which states that e-tickets should be delivered within a few minutes of placing your order, and special delivery orders should be delivered at least 1 hour before the scheduled event

I don’t know whether it was the dispute, the BBB complaint, reviews, or a mix of the 3, but Vivid Seats finally gave me attention a few days after I’d sent in the dispute. Vivid Seats blew up my email and phone, requesting that I contact them for a resolution. When I contacted them again, they offered me a $150 store credit, then a partial cash refund after I refused the store credit.

I turned down the partial refund, too, knowing I had a good case for a full refund with the Chase dispute process. Although I cited the 100% buyer guarantee, Vivid Seats said that they couldn’t offer any further resolution because of the active dispute and I would need to wait for the results of the dispute.

I didn’t have to wait long. Chase sent me a notice 15 days after I submitted the dispute, informing me that they’d reviewed the dispute with the merchant and decided in my favor. The temporary credit during the investigation became a permanent credit, finally giving me the refund I deserved but Vivid Seats had refused to deliver. It took just 20 days from the transaction to refund — not even a full statement period.

Tips for Winning a Credit Card Dispute

I feel fortunate to have won my credit card dispute, but having a good case was key to my success. I’m glad I took a photo of my watch to prove we hadn’t made it to our seats on time, and I strengthened my argument with the fine print on the Vivid Seats website that clearly stated their guarantee and terms they didn’t deliver on. This documentation helped show Chase that I hadn’t received what I paid for and Vivid Seats hadn’t honored its money-back guarantee or followed its sales terms.

Here’s what you can do to strengthen your credit card dispute and increase the likelihood that the dispute will be decided in your favor:

  • Review your statements promptly. It’s easy to miss problem transactions if you’re not looking at your statement each month. Under the FCBA, you have up to 60 days from the date you receive a bill with a problem transaction to submit a dispute. After that, it may be too late, although some issuers, such as American Express, offer a longer period to initiate a dispute.
  • Contact the merchant before you initiate a dispute. Credit card disputes take time and resources to complete, and credit card issuers want to see you’ve made an effort to work it out with the merchant before you escalate it to a dispute. Although my dispute was resolved in a little over 2 weeks, it’s possible for disputes to take months. It may be faster to get a resolution from the merchant directly. Even if you can’t achieve a resolution with the resolution, your communication may end up being evidence that supports your case — such as the merchant acknowledging a failure to deliver.
  • Document everything. Save your order information, communications with the merchant, and anything else that you can provide as evidence that you didn’t get what you paid for. Look beyond your order and communications to find buyer guarantees or terms so you can compare what was promised with what you actually experienced.
  • Follow up. I didn’t receive any requests from Chase in the period between submitting and resolving my dispute, but it pays to stay attentive. Keep an eye out for notices requesting clarification or additional documentation, and cooperate with the credit card issuer during the dispute process.
  • Know your rights and credit card issuer policies. The FCBA grants you the right as a consumer to dispute transactions you have a problem with, and credit card issuers may offer policies that enhance your rights. Review the FCBA dispute process — and your responsibilities — and read the communications the issuer sends to you so you’re clear on what to expect and what you need to do when you have a credit card dispute.

Final Thoughts

Winning the dispute was a relief. I appreciate Chase having my back when Vivid Seats failed to deliver and then denied numerous opportunities to make it right. Understanding the credit card dispute process, thoroughly documenting the issue, and carefully submitting a dispute with Chase were key to successfully securing a $333 chargeback.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when you dispute a charge with Chase?

After you submit a dispute, Chase will initiate an investigation, which involves contacting the merchant for a response and reviewing the information you’ve submitted. You may get a temporary credit to your account during the investigation. Chase may ask for additional information from you. Once the investigation is complete, you’ll receive a notice from Chase that indicates whether the dispute was decided in your favor or not. You can appeal the decision if you’re not satisfied.

How long can you dispute a Chase charge?

You can submit a dispute up to 60 days from the date the transaction first appears on your Chase credit card statement.

Does disputing a charge hurt your credit?

Disputing a credit card charge doesn’t affect your credit score. However, the credit card issuer may add a note to your credit report about the dispute. You may receive a temporary credit on your account for the disputed amount during the investigation, though you do still need to make at least the minimum payment on your statement. If the dispute isn’t decided in your favor, you need to pay the disputed amount, including any applicable interest charges. That could affect your credit score if you don’t pay your credit card bill on time.

How long does it take to resolve a Chase credit card dispute?

How long a credit card dispute takes depends on the merchant and the type of dispute you’ve initiated. It can take up to 60 days to resolve a dispute with Chase.

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About Jessica Merritt

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little cash as possible.

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