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Merchant sending bills after losing a chargeback


bobb
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Long story short, happy to provide details if needed, but a few months ago I disputed two charges (which were paid a month before the dispute was initiated) with a merchant totaling $486.14 for services that were ultimately never rendered. I tried for several weeks to contact the merchant who did not respond. It was at that point that I initiated the dispute to obtain a refund with my credit card company (Chase). Over the course of the next 2 months I received two notices from Chase saying "we're pleased to tell you that we've resolved your dispute...we've credited your account for the full disputed dollar amount."

 

Now, a month after the last notice the merchant sends me a bill for $486.14. I talk to the merchant's billing department who says they have no record of my payment. I send them the email receipts and credit card statements showing I paid the amount on those dates, thinking this is just a billing glitch. They get back to me and say I can disregard the bill and they'll sort it out in 10-15 days. Then I get another message from the same person who says "Both payments were disputed by you to your card company and therefore both payments were voided and not posted to your account....blah blah blah." And then they go back to not replying to my emails or calls. Monday morning I get another bill in the mail from them saying payment is due. 

 

This to me seems very weasel-ish. I did not dispute the payments, I disputed the charges that I paid. It seems like a too-cute way of getting around a charge dispute they lost fair and square. Makes you wonder if every bitter merchant will go down this path. 

 

I talked to Chase and the people on the phone seemed surprised by this whole saga. They said once the dispute is resolved that's it, and they couldn't recall this happening before. They said if it goes to collections I can show the collections agency the dispute resolution letter but I'd rather resolve this before it gets to that point and I have to deal with credit reporting agencies. Has anyone here dealt with this kind of thing? Any advice or is it a lost cause once it goes to collections?

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What was the service and why did you pay it prior to it being rendered? 

 

Further, that payment was essentially rendered moot via the charge-back credit posting on your account. 

 

There are too many missing pieces here to figure out WHAT actually happened or is continuing to happen...

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The thing I'll stress most is that a credit card issuer has no definitive power to invalidate a charge by a service provider.  What they can do, via the dispute mechanism, is respond to your complaint that agreed to services weren't delivered and therefore you want to charge back the merchant's charge to your credit card account.

 

Because you previously authorized the charge (by providing billing and account info), the issuer requires some evidence that there's a valid dispute.  Once that has been demonstrated, the issuer authorizes the charge back.  But, as I said, that has no impact on your service provider's ability to re-bill you directly for the work.

 

Once a service provider bills you, your options are to ignore them, work out an agreement of some type with the provider, pay in full, or bring action in court to resolve the dispute.  If you fail to pay, the issuer has the option to engage a 3rd party collector.

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18 hours ago, bobb said:

It seems like a too-cute way of getting around a charge dispute they lost fair and square.

As others have said, winning a dispute with the CC company doesn't mean you don't still owe the provider for service. It is unusual for a merchant to go to these lengths after losing a CC dispute, but that doesn't mean they can't still claim you owe the money. A CC dispute is not some sort of binding decision.

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7 hours ago, shifter said:

As others have said, winning a dispute with the CC company doesn't mean you don't still owe the provider for service. It is unusual for a merchant to go to these lengths after losing a CC dispute, but that doesn't mean they can't still claim you owe the money. A CC dispute is not some sort of binding decision.

 

That's the part I get a bit hung up on. I agree that the dispute process is not a binding or legal decision, but don't these merchants agree to abide by certain terms with the banks and credit card companies they do business with that clearly outline the dispute resolution process? If they send it to collections there's laws and regulatory agency directives that they're bound to follow. And if it goes to court they'd be presented with the evidence that they didn't contest the dispute, or agreed with it, and/or failed to avail themselves of their prearbitration/aribration/representment options. 

 

So what would their case be, exactly?

 

If they felt the dispute was resolved incorrectly their agreement with the card networks outline their recourse. They could do a representment or bring the case to arbitration. Simply generating a new bill and acting like nothing happened isn't--as far as I'm aware--part of any defined process.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, shifter said:

Their case would be that you still owe them money. 

 

What a fatuous contribution to the thread. 

 

We'll wait for someone useful will come along and provide an actual explanation as to what the merchant's case would be that supersedes the terms they agree to with the card networks and financial institutions. 

 

 

Edited by bobb
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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, centex said:

You still have not indicated what sort of a service this was or even why you pre-paid. 

 

There may well be other remedies available to you but without knowing what the service was, potential regulatory relief cannot even properly be discussed.

 

Thank you for the reply. Without getting too specific, this was in the health services sector. Pre-payment was required to book the appointment. I reviewed the terms and conditions from the provider that were included with the original statement and there is minimal detail on the payment and refund policy. There are no terms to the effect of "all sales are final" or anything like that. 

 

And to clarify, this wasn't a case of the merchant providing services that the customer was unhappy with. They failed to provide them at all.

Edited by bobb
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3 minutes ago, IndyPoolPlayer said:

 

You are a f***ing idiot. That is one of the OWNERS of this forum.

 

Needlessly rude and juvenile.

 

Sounds like the owner of a forum should know better than to clutter threads with useless non-comments. Clown behavior. Sorry if this offends; it's clear you're very sensitive about this subject. 

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12 minutes ago, bobb said:

And to clarify, this wasn't a case of the merchant providing services that the customer was unhappy with. They failed to provide them at all.

 

If that's the case then you have a good defense should they try to collect. However, the fact the CC issuer reversed the charges is now irrelevant. It's between you and the merchant.

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6 minutes ago, bobb said:

 

Needlessly rude and juvenile.

 

Sounds like the owner of a forum should know better than to clutter threads with useless non-comments. Clown behavior. Sorry if this offends; it's clear you're very sensitive about this subject. 

 

Do you not see the red lettering to the left of my posts? I work with MarvBear keeping the peace around here. If you don't like it, there's MyFICO and CreditInfoCenter.

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5 minutes ago, IndyPoolPlayer said:

I work with MarvBear keeping the peace around here.

 

Right, by engaging in unprovoked name-calling and childish tantrums 🤔

 

9 minutes ago, cashnocredit said:

 

If that's the case then you have a good defense should they try to collect. However, the fact the CC issuer reversed the charges is now irrelevant. It's between you and the merchant.

 

Thanks for the reply. I hear what you're saying, and others have expressed a similar sentiment, but it would appear that the merchant doesn't have a leg to stand on. They cannot furnish evidence that they provided the services they took payment for and they failed to make their case or contest that claim in the dispute process, which they agree to adhere to in the contract they sign with the card networks. This is essentially a false debt. The FDCPA appears to outline consumer protections from the collection of false debt. My question is, is there anything short of filing suit that would compel the merchant to drop a claim it has tacitly admitted has no merit?

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I fully accept that if, for example, the merchant sought a judgement against you, they wouldn't win in court.

 

As to merchant agreements with processor networks, nothing contained in such agreements has any bearing on the merchant's receivable, nor it's ability to collect in the event of a chargeback.  That's entirely outside of the scope of what the networks/issuers care about.

 

Because it appears that you haven't discussed the creditor's claim with the business manager subsequent to your successful chargeback, I urge you to call and:

 

1)  Better understand the specific basis on which they're now billing you, given no services were rendered

 

2)  Calmly detail why you don't believe you should be held liable for any charge.

 

You may be able to get traction with your reasoning and have the charge voided.  It may be possible to agree to settlement at a lesser amount for the sake of putting this to bed.

 

If they persist in collection, ultimately it's likely they'll refer it to a collection agency, potentially placing a negative entry into your credit file at the CRA's.  Even if resolved in your favor eventually, you're likely in for a lot of hassle.  If they won't clear the debt, it may well be worth settling for a modest amount, if possible.

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don't these merchants agree to abide by certain terms with the banks and credit card companies they do business with that clearly outline the dispute resolution process? 

 

You won't be able to use this argument if this ever gets to court because you are not a party to the agreement between the bank and the merchant.  As others have said, it is unlikely they could prevail if they sued.

 

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13 hours ago, bobb said:

 

Thank you for the reply. Without getting too specific, this was in the health services sector. Pre-payment was required to book the appointment. I reviewed the terms and conditions from the provider that were included with the original statement and there is minimal detail on the payment and refund policy. There are no terms to the effect of "all sales are final" or anything like that. 

 

And to clarify, this wasn't a case of the merchant providing services that the customer was unhappy with. They failed to provide them at all.

If it was in the health services sector, then you have multiple regulatory agencies at the State level with whom to lodge a complaint. 

 

But 'winning' a chargeback is NOT the same as the bank agreeing that you are correct. 

 

Perhaps in the future, you will pay attention to the Agreement BEFORE entering into the Agreement.  Too few people READ the contracts that they enter into...

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I haven’t had to do a charge back in years due to crap goods or services. 
 

I have friends in the construction trades. They gladly accept credit cards. They are also hyper focused on customer service from beginning to end on any given project. They don’t do any work based on handshakes, word of mouth and so on. Everything is based on signed customer contracts, including change orders. This also includes the customer signing off if they decline particular things that should be done out of caution to maintain quality of work. Fine print helps keep integrity in check on both sides. 
 

I’m told it’s usually the house poor wealthy on the so called good side of town that causes the biggest headaches concerning charge backs. A canned letter from an attorney or a lien usually fixes things. 
 

My mechanic who’s damn good at what he does, doesn’t perform work or not perform work without a customer signing off. Keeps those members of the “ever since club’ in check……

 

Ever since you replaced replaced the lamp over my license plate, my transmission isn’t right, and the turbo has now failed. 
 

Integrity is a two way street. 
 

Even in my own company, I have to shake my head sometimes over the minutiae in our contracts. I swear getting approval from the feds to do business with the North Koreans and Iranians would be easier. 

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On 8/3/2022 at 7:31 AM, centex said:

You still have not indicated what sort of a service this was or even why you pre-paid. 

 

There may well be other remedies available to you but without knowing what the service was, potential regulatory relief cannot even properly be discussed.

 

Educated guess is that it is for hypnosis session(s), stop smoking, fitness/personal training, or weight loss.  Those are the only entities I know of that require pre-payment for appointments.  It also explains why the OP is blatantly refusing to answer what this was for or provide details.  As you said like most ole Bobb didn't read the fine print (though he alleges he did) but I am also hypothesizing that what ever ad enticed him to book and give up the credit card number had a small disclaimer that all fees are non-refundable.  They probably also clearly explained when the services were prepaid for that they have a cancellation policy of X amount of days/hours before or there is no refund which like most ole Bobb quickly forgot about.

 

The bad news is that state medical boards are not likely to intervene because it isn't really actual medical treatment and is merely a civil dispute.  The good news is that while these entities will send a bill ad nauseum (ask me about the idiots trying to collect $35 for the past 4 years on a gym membership closed and legally cancelled in bankruptcy) they are not going to report to the bureaus or sue.  Businesses like these (and I use that term loosely) won't spend the money to belong to even one bureau to report let alone 3.  They will send a bill for a while then go away.  They COULD sue but in reality when it got to court they would have to admit that the person never received any services therefore they are not entitled to any money.  Had the chargeback been done after the appointment that would be a different story.  

 

If it were me I would simply toss the bills aside until the SOL for suit runs out.  To answer the OP's original question of the thread AGAIN, yes, they can bill you for the services you contacted them about and agreed to when you provided your credit card information for billing purposes.  You asked and paid for services.  Whether you have received them yet or in a time frame you preferred isn't the issue.  When you did a charge back all you technically are saying to that business is you are changing the method of payment not that you no longer want their services.  Absent a formal letter from you stating this they are open to presume you still want the services and send a bill.  Sending you a bill after the charge back in no way violates the credit card terms, credit law or collection law.  

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On 8/3/2022 at 7:46 AM, bobb said:

 

That's the part I get a bit hung up on. I agree that the dispute process is not a binding or legal decision, but don't these merchants agree to abide by certain terms with the banks and credit card companies they do business with that clearly outline the dispute resolution process? If they send it to collections there's laws and regulatory agency directives that they're bound to follow. And if it goes to court they'd be presented with the evidence that they didn't contest the dispute, or agreed with it, and/or failed to avail themselves of their prearbitration/aribration/representment options. 

 

So what would their case be, exactly?

 

If they felt the dispute was resolved incorrectly their agreement with the card networks outline their recourse. They could do a representment or bring the case to arbitration. Simply generating a new bill and acting like nothing happened isn't--as far as I'm aware--part of any defined process.

 

Are you really that stupid?  Just about everything in your theory shows you have the IQ of a dyslexic gerbil.

 

Go back and finish third grade reading and then try reading the Visa / MasterCard chargebacks manuals again.  Keep that Literacy Volunteer on speed dial, though.

 

You keep mentioning pre-arbitration / arbitration / re-presentment as if you actually knew what the fook you were talking about.  The way the Visa / MasterCard chargeback process works is, basically like this (although there are minor differences between how Visa and MasterCard works):

 

The cardholder, you, Jethro, contacts your issuer and they initiate the chargeback.  The merchant's payment services provider gets the chargeback and notifies the merchant.  The merchant provides a response and the charge is re-presented to our card issuer.  Your card issuer notifies you and can ask for further documentation / clarification and then re-chargeback the transaction.  At this point if the merchant's  provider still disputes he transaction it automatically goes to the card association's arbitration panel.  

 

At any step in the process the merchant's payment services provider can refuse to back the merchant and force the merchant to eat the chargeback.  It is extremely common for the provider to refuse to initiate arbitration because they know their chances of winning are extremely slim.  Again, moron, if you could read you would see that even Visa / MasterCard clearly state that all doubts are resolved in favor of the cardholder.  So the merchant generally loses not only the amount of the chargeback, a chargeback fee imposed by their provider and the approximately $2k arbitration fee.  

 

Also, after the merchant's provider makes a second presentment (if the provider even allows the merchant to contest the chargeback), your card issuer can refuse to allow you to take the chargeback further and force you to eat the loss.  

 

Your lame theory that any court would even consider evidence that the merchant did not contest the dispute, or that they agreed to the dispute or that they failed to take it to arbitration is absurd.  

 

As others have pointed out, just because you get the money back via the dispute process in no way means the merchant cannot still go after you.  

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