Shorted $1,000 on his credit card dispute — should we help?

Kenneth Woo wants a refund. He deserves a refund.

But, how long should he wait? That’s a question we get almost every day here, and the answer is: It depends.

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In Woo’s case, he’s going to need to be patient. Details on the fine art of waiting can be found in our frequently asked questions about consumer disputes, but I digress.

Woo paid $1,701 for two nights at a resort in Newport Beach, Calif., through a site called LuxuryLink. Don’t bother looking for it; the site shut down in May.

Fortunately, he’d paid for the purchase with his Sam’s Club MasterCard. The card is serviced by Synchrony Bank. When LuxuryLink closed, his bank advised him to file a dispute. And that’s what he did.

“I went through the credit card customer service department and they put me through the dispute department,” he explains. “I received a letter from the dispute department on Aug. 10 that I will be issued a provisional credit for the full amount.”

So far, so good.

But on Oct. 5, he received a refund of only $701.

“I have called the customer service several times and they reported that the dispute department has to clarify the issue,” he says. “But the dispute department is never available.”

How can the dispute department not be available? Isn’t it supposed to be disputing on his behalf?

This is a strange case, indeed. Why would Sam’s Club (and more to the point, Synchrony Bank) deny part of the refund? As someone who has successfully disputed a credit card purchase, I know one possible answer: Some banks will not dispute certain purchases (for example, they don’t cover live animals). So that $1,000 might have paid for something the card company wouldn’t cover.

If that’s the case, the bank owes him a prompt explanation, which our advocates can help him get.

If my suspicion is correct, then his card company will refuse to dispute part of his claim, and he’s out one grand. And I suspect that’s the real question: Should we help him get his money back, even when his card refuses?

Should we advocate for Kenneth Woo?

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12 thoughts on “Shorted $1,000 on his credit card dispute — should we help?

  1. Well, if the entire question is going hinge on what exactly the charges were for then it seems unfair to vote without having that question answered. I’m perplexed by the fact Christopher seems not to know by now. Has the guy refused to provide all the info? Or is the OP not going to be asked for all the info until after a decision is made on whether to take the case? Seems awfully unfair if it is the latter.

    Honestly, I wonder if some of these “should I take the case” articles don’t take more time and resources than if they simply decided to help the person immediately.

    1. Okay, why was my post edited? I originally went on to say that some of these “should I take the case” stories seem to take more time than if the case was simply accepted to begin with. I’ll stand by that statement and don’t see how that is terribly negative.

  2. I think at the very least, Sam’s Club should explain why they’re denying $1,000 of the refund. They might have a legitimate reason for their denial, but not being transparent about it is poor service. That should be something you can advocate for, if not the actual refund.

  3. Sam’s Club has nothing to do with it so if he is calling them rather than Synchrony Bank that could be part of the problem.

    It is inadvisable to telephone whilst pursuing credit card disputes. Writing is preferable as it leaves a trail.

    If the charge is still in dispute the customer need not pay it until the bank completes its investigation. One can’t fathom that their investigation will not result in the customer being credited for the hotel rooms not provided due to the company’s failure. The credit or lack thereof is immaterial at this point.

    1. Agreed. I always shake my head when supposed consumer advocates have no idea of the relationship between Sam’s club, Synchrony Bank and MasterCard. Sam’s club is just the card sponsor and has nothing to do with this.
      They should keep writing and asking for explanation until they get an answer. I think this is just a data entry error though. Someone typed $701 instead of $1701.

  4. Advocate for this guy. He disputed the entire charge. It isn’t clear whether the provisional credit was for the entire amount. Assuming it was, then apparently it does seem he was awarded only $700. I can only speak for my Amex experiences but they always provide a reason for the denial. They also will reopen the process immediately for reinvestigation. The line of communication is always open. If someone can’t get a hold of their company over $1k, then they should get rid of that card. In the meantime, if they aren’t taking his calls, please intervene on his behalf and find out why the denial and what documents they need that will further support his claim. Also, the card should have forwarded Woo any docs received from the merchant. I can’t imagine Luxury Link submitted any since they closed down. This shouldn’t have even reached a card dispute. Lux Link should just issue the refund on its own. Perhaps a call there- if anyone from that company can be found- is in order.

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