Skip to main content

Disputed Credit Card. I am a business owner, I had a customer dispute a credit card payment.Need to know if he is legally right.

Fort Smith, AR |

I had a customer come in for some work to their truck, the truck obviously had many things wrong with it when it was brought in. I fixed what we agreed to be fixed, and actually knocked $50 off the agreed upon price. Customer is happy with the work that was done when the truck is picked up, and paid with a credit card. Customer calls 10 min later saying that I broke some of the things that were obviously wrong with the truck when before he brought it in. He then disputes his credit card claim.

My question is this - Regardless of the type of payment, the customer should file a civil suit instead of disputing the card payment. I should still get paid for the satisfactory work we agreed upon, and the other is a separate matter. Is this the correct way of thinking?

Thanks.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3

Posted

I agree with your line of thinking. Otherwise the door is wide open to deprive you of the security and lien you have for the work provided on his vehicle. In fact the customer theoretically has parts in his vehicle that you bought and paid for.

Has the charge-back already occurred or are they asking your permission to do the charge-back?

Every legal matter is fact specific, and there are often nuances in every case. This is intended for comment only, and does not create an attorney client relationship.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for the reply Mr. Hill. Yes it has already occurred. The work was completed about a month ago, and the money was taken out of my account early this week. The customer has done the same thing to several local business's that I have talked to. I went to the prosecutors office whenever I recieved the letter stating the customer asked for a charge-back, they sent me to the police saying that it should be a "Theft By Deception" charge which is a felony. I made a police report and they labeled it as civil. Now the prosecutor (actually the reciptionist) will not talk to me because it's labeled civil on the police report. I'm sure I could take the customer to civil court and get my money from him, but I want to take it further if possible. The other business owners i've talked to said they are willing to testify in court against the customer from the customers previous transactions with them. The customer needs to know that he cannot and should not keep doing this to small business owners. I need some way to convince the police officer who filed my report to change it from civil to criminal. Do you know of any related cases I can look up, or laws? And also where I should search for them? Thank you for your response once again.

Aaron Scott Hill

Aaron Scott Hill

Posted

You may try talking to the police or prosecutor as a group, contact the police cheif, your city councilmen and the mayor, chamber of commerce, etc. Raise a stink. The burden should not be placed on you in this circumstance. You could or should also contact this persons credit card issuer, by allowing him to repeatedly commit this fraud they may be opening their selves up to liability. If they feel that it is a danger to their self they may cut him off.

Posted

Whether the customer was "right" is a loaded question.

He may be able to do this under the Truth in Lending Act (I say 'may' because there are some elements that need to be met that weren't addressed in your post) allows a cardholder to assert claims or defenses against the card issuer when the cardholder is unable to resolve a dispute with the person/business who accepted payment by credit card for the services/goods provided.

However, that doesn't mean that the dispute is resolved, but you will likely have to take action in order to get the payment you're entitled to.

The prosecutor may have decided that he could not prove the requisite intent to get a conviction for Theft, and it is the prosecutor's discretion as to whether or not to bring criminal charges.

You can, however, bring a civil lawsuit against the customer to recover the amount owed, as well as your costs and attorney's fees. Depending on the amount of claim, you may be able to bring your suit in small claims.

This response is for information purposes only, it does not create any attorney-client relationship. Responses to questions posted on this Forum are of a general nature only. Because it is not possible to have all of the facts of your issue addressed in this forum, you should consult with an attorney to review the unique circumstances specific to your situation. www.TheSchollLawFirm.com

Asker

Posted

Thank you for the reply Mr. Scholl. The prosecutor has not seen my case. I went to their office at first and told one of the workers there what happened and she directed me to make a police report stating that it should be 'Theft By Deception'. At this moment my issue is that the police officer who wrote my police report labeled it as a "Civil" matter. While all I really want is my payment, I would like to press charges if at all possible so the customer doesn't do to other small shops like he has done to me and several others in the past. That is why I'm looking for other documentation of cases and/or laws to show the police officer and try to get him to change it to a criminal charge.

Posted

I think you are correct in your assessment. Simply object to the challenge forwarded to you by the customer's credit card company and demand payment. The company will end up paying you if you put forward decent letterand exhibits of what transpired and costs incurred. The ex employee can then fight with the CC company.

My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained. Please click "helpful" or "best answer" if my answer added any value or add a "comment" if you have more info for me to help you get a better answer.