August 2015: Online Disputes

By and large, the dispute tools available to small business card holders do not greatly facilitate filing a claim online, thanks to either a lack of instructions or an insistence that card holders contact customer service via telephone. Of the eight firms surveyed in this report, five allow clients to at least begin and/or process a dispute online. Three firms offer centers that guide users through submitting a claim, from outlining scenarios to explaining situations relevant to dispute choices. Not every type of dispute can be processed online, however. In these cases, the screen updates with a list of materials for the user to have ready when they contact the customer service number provided. Only one firm in this report details action steps or a timeframe by which a customer can expect the firm to resolve their dispute.

Outside of unauthorized activity, firms strongly encourage account holders to attempt to resolve transaction charge disputes with the merchant before they submit a claim. At multiple steps throughout two firm’s dispute forms, a user’s selection generates a notice that contacting a merchant will promote a quicker turnaround to resolve the matter. One provides detailed information on how to distinguish between when users should dispute a transaction, and when they should report activity on their account as fraudulent.

Three firms stand out for providing comprehensive centers that ask relevant follow-up questions to the user’s selections, such as whether the card was present. Three others primarily instruct card holders to contact customer service with a dispute, and offer sparse details regarding the process.

Card holders can inquire about or dispute payments and charges that post to their account from 60 days to the past six statement periods, depending on the issuer. The strongest performers in this report have a readily available, public (or private) resource center that focused on disputes, with access to live chat. Ideally, customers should be able to submit and file a claim through live chat itself.