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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  Lawyer
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In 2010, I filed 29 disputes for charges totalling $145,072.70

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In 2010, I filed 29 disputes for charges totalling $145,072.70 on my MC. The disputes were all for no credit for merchandise returned.Through the banks' arbitrations using documentation supplied by the merchant and me, I was credited $113,237.45 of the $145,072.70. The merchant rebilled my MC for $52,360.75. I cannot find anyone who can/will tell me if this is a legal practice.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

When a customer requests a charge back on merchandise paid, the merchant's recourse if he believes that he is owed the money is to sue for breach of contract. He should not run a new charge that was never authorized by the consumer. If that happens, the consumer can again request a charge back from the credit card company. However, if the merchant is owed the money, he could go to court and sue. It's not considered fraud unless the merchant knows he is not entitled to the money and runs the charge, anyway.

If the credit card company cannot determine whether the charge was authorized, then the consumer's recourse is to sue for the amounts that were charged without permission.

You are not required to sign a settlement that you do not agree with. The client ultimately has the final say on whether to settle a case.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The merchant could not provide accurate accounting indicating where the money kept from my returns had been applied. When the contradictions were pointed out during the dispute(s) process, arbitration decided in my favor for the amount mentioned above. Same situation for 2 additional credit cards involved; just not as much money, but significant amounts. Staying with just the one MC, my credit limit was exceeded by $100,000 at one point. I never received one phone call and don't understand why my card was not declined - as it should have been. The bank that owns the MC told me that for customers with excellent credit they will allow extreme credit limit overages. That has NEVER been my experience in the past. I did not recognize that I had been re-billed by the merchant and did not understand if it is or is not allowed. The VISA/MC merchant guidelines states that transactions must be handled a certain way; regardless of whether the merchant is "owed" money. The merchant's lack of proper bookkeeping and accounting is the reason they lost the disputes. That is not my fault and it has taken 3 yrs of my life trying to resolve this case b/c of their egregious and "questionable" accounting. Counsel for the merchant sent me a letter for the $86,000 I was credited from arbitration. What is the point of agreeing to abide by arbitration decisions if the merchant can still sue me for money I was credited - whether I have the merchandise or not. Also, I have no way of finding out if the CC company stated I authorized the charges. They would have to say I did b/c they put them through. Also, what about the statute of limitations? Isn't it too late for me to sue them? I would like to add that although I have no intention of reporting to the bar or telling my lawyer about these inquiries (if she would answer them I wouldn't have to be asking you), I did not think it was in my best interest to go into a meeting without first discussing with me what she was planning to say. Much less state that I did owe the merchant money (by her calculations), just not as much as they claimed. Is that standard procedure to provide the proof of your client's alleged obligation? Shouldn't that be the accuser's burden?

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
The statute of limitations in Georgia is four years for oral contracts or six for written. Either way, your right to sue would arise when the charges were billed for the second time, so that's when the statute of limitations begins to run. It isn't when the original agreement was made.

In court, the person who is making the claim (usually the plaintiff, except with counterclaims) has the burden of proving the allegations. However, the Rules of Discovery were designed so that one party cannot hide information from the other. A party is legally required to produce information to the other party under these rules. That means that you may have to give them information, but you can also request information about their accounting procedures and practices.

To submit the charge, they necessarily have to say that you authorized it. That either means giving a signed receipt with your signature or the CVV code.

If they agreed to binding arbitration, and then sued, the other party would have the ability to move to dismiss on the basis that the issue had already been resolved in binding arbitration.

Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 20425
Experience: Lawyer
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