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Credit Cards Offer Shoppers Some Protections

Francine L. Huff
LoanBiz Columnist

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It's important for consumers to know what kind of help they can get from credit card companies if they purchase defective merchandise or their card is lost or stolen. Not all cards are created equal so it's important for people to read through the fine print of their credit card agreement.

Lost and Stolen Cards
Whether a person loses a credit card or is the victim of theft, it's important to notify their credit card company as soon as possible. If a credit card is reported missing right away, the cardholder won't be responsible for fraudulent charges made after a theft or loss has been reported. However, cardholders could be responsible for up to $50 in unauthorized charges per lost card if they wait more than two days to notify credit card companies of a theft or loss.

Damaged Goods

Some credit card companies have policies that allow cardholders to be reimbursed for damaged or stolen items if a claim is filed within 90 days of the purchase. But items that have normal wear and tear or have just been lost usually won't be reimbursed.

Returning Purchases

Most stores have specific policies for returning items. However, if shoppers miss the deadline to get a refund or exchange, they may be able to return items to their credit card company. It's important to for customers to check their credit card company's policies to determine their eligibility. If the receipt has been lost, having a credit card statement that shows the purchase may be enough for a refund.

Skip Extended Warranties

It's tough to purchase big-ticket items, electronics, appliances, or other gadgets these days without being offered an extended warranty. But instead of automatically purchasing an extended warranty, cardholders should make sure their purchases aren't already covered by one through their credit card company.

Get Better Pricing

Some stores allow customers to bring their receipts and adjust the price of their purchases if they find the same items cheaper at another store. However, in cases where retailers don't allow this, some consumers may be able to get a price adjustment from their credit card company. They'll have to give the card issuer a receipt and proof of the cheaper price. Cardholders may find more success with this at brick-and-mortar stores as opposed to those online.

Being a smart shopper means taking advantage of as many perks associated with credit cards as possible.

Sources:

Federal Reserve

Wall Street Journal


About the Author
Francine L. Huff is a freelance journalist and the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows.

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