Dear Customer, I am sorry to learn of this situation. In addition to following up with your credit card (one of the biggest things I have seen with these issues is that consumers rely on telephone calls alone, which while they are convenient lack the same protections and motivation to the credit card carrier to act appropriately as a formal letter - so if you have not done so, make sure that you start writing formal letters to follow up on your calls - see my note on "confirmation letters below), you can do the following:-You can sue the painter in small claims
court for "conversion" (the civil equivalent of theft) and "breach of contract
" - this can be done quickly and easily in small claims court without requiring an attorney (see: http://www.wicourts.gov/publications/guides/smallclaimsguide.htm).(The Painter is the true party at fault and is the proper target at issue here, a claim for conversion is an "intentional tort
" and you are entitled not only to "compensatory damages" (the return of your money) but also "punitive damages
" - additional money damages awarded by the court to punish the painter for their intentional misconduct
).-You can open a BBB
dispute with your credit card company (the BBB is quick, easy, and free to consumers, and while it does not have any enforcement capability, filing a claim is often successful, and it does not compromise your ability to file any subsequent action against your credit card company in the future), you can file a BBB dispute here: bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started (but start with pursuing as many administrative remedies as possible within the credit card carrier's customer service/dispute resolution
process - ask them for a copy of their formal dispute resolution).Confirmation letters: Keep written records of all communications - so if you speak to someone by phone, promptly send a follow up "confirmation letter" summarizing your conversation, who you spoke to, when, and any agreements you reached. Keep copies of your outgoing correspondence, as well as anything that you receive.