In your last article for AARP The Magazine, you mentioned the federal credit law stating that if you do not receive the goods or services you are charged for, then the card company will issue a temporary credit and then investigate. I am one of the many who lost airline tickets when ATA folded. When I called my Discover Card, they eventually (after the second call) offered to send the paperwork to initiate an investigation, but they offered no credit. Can you help? Thank You.
–Renee, El Cerrito, Calif.
When I heard about your situation, Renee, I put a call in to Discover to see what the latest policy was in regard to your situation. Now just so everyone is aware of Discover's official policy in this regard, here's what public relations project manager Mailee Ua said:
"Our dispute policy requires the card member to first submit the appropriate documentation to initiate a dispute. Once the documentation has been reviewed and processed, a temporary credit is issued to the card member's account. The credit will remain on the account until the investigation is complete, at which point a final determination is made."
Most other credit-card companies—MasterCard, Visa, and American Express—have fairly similar policies. The bottom line is that your credit-card company is supposed to protect you from fraud. And not getting a flight you paid for, roughly speaking, falls into that category. Keep in mind that this will almost always involve filling out some paperwork and spending a bit of time on the phone with your credit-card company.
After speaking with Ms. Ua about your situation, she promised to look into it, writing:
"We're actively working with [Renee] to ensure that she's received and completed the appropriate documents, so that we can address the matter. Our interest is in ensuring that card members receive the services paid for and/or that we're reimbursed for the payment already processed at the time the reservations were made."
We checked back in with Renee, who told us the credit had been issued.