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Citi is going to ruin my credit or make me pay a grand for something i dont have
So back around 12/2010 i had disputed a charge with citi regarding merchandise i purchase from a merchant.

The product i received did not work as advertised, apparently the product has now been recalled and is no longer sold.

Other technicians that bought that machine have returned it or sold it for a loss.

The merchant refused to allow me to return it without charging a restocking fee and wanted me to pay shipping.

I requested the terms and conditions that my lawyer requested. They took about a mth to send that out to me.

After citi said they could not dispute the charge without me paying to ship the item back i contacted my lawyer. They attempted to contact citi via letter with no response. He sent another letter out about a mth later, and finally got in touch with them. He advised me that i need to return the item to continue the dispute.

So i did ship it out and provided tracking to citi. They told me that they are out of the time period for the dispute. So now the merchant has the item and the money, and citi expects me to pay for that, i have been paying the minimum amount for my bill.

I do not wish to pay anymore since that is not right. However i currently have a 770 score with a great record, i am looking to get a loan in a few mths to move to a larger location for my business.

So either i pay a grand for the item i do not have. The other option is i do not pay my bill and have my credit ruined.

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Yeah,  unfortunately there are set time limits for resolving disputes and contesting charges. This is federal law, not mandated by individual credit card companies. I'm embarassed to say that I used to work indirectly dealing with these rules, laws like FACTA, FCRA, and other laws that define and protect consumers from fraud and identity theft. EFTA will also probably be of interest.

Here's a PDF file (also available in .mobi and .ebook for eReaders) — It's called the 2011 Consumer Action Handbook and is an invaluable resource to 1) Read through to know the can's and can'ts, what protections you have, and what actions you can take to fight back 2) Keep on hand for reference in the future. It has general, wide scope of knowledge concerning fraud in different industries (auto/term loan financing, home/mortgage, and general consumer credit advice for all situations.) Start by downloading that PDF file, it's free and it'll help educate you a bit more.

Another essential resource you should have bookmarked is the FTC's consumer rights page. This covers the gambit of topics in all areas, and actually tells you procedures of what to do down the list if this fails, then contact local BBB as scamps said. Those resources are awesome to have in one place, and you can get to them here, on the FTC's site:

You essentially have two time periods where this can be handled. One, is immediately as the transaction goes on, I believe the bank would issue a CHARGEBACK where they basically reject the transaction against your account. Their bank has a limited time to dispute it and say "hey, I disagree" and the dispute goes one more round. If they don't respond or challenge the chargeback, then you win and the money goes back to your account. This all takes place pretty quickly... within a statement/billing period, maybe 45 days, if that even.

If the charge goes through and there's no chargeback and resolution there... then you basically are stuck with the charge; it's at that time you have to go to more pain in the butt resources to do this. There are third party mediators that will oversee a case... or if it makes it all the way to posting a derogatory or unpaid debt on your credit file, you can always go through that process of appealing a "fraudulent" mark on your file. Errors do happen, quit often, and the dispute and resolution process is well documented, I think those two links alone should get you headed in the right direction as you know where you stand in time and details better than anyone.

Let me know if those links/documentation are helpful to you. It's a wealth of great information, like I said, all in one spot. Hopefully you can get this taken care of, fraud sucks (I've had fraud on my card, random/stranger; I would never have purchased anything from the merchant they were using, and it was done from several states away... thankfully... Chase handled the dispute and I guess found out that it was indeed fraud, otherwise I'd be in your shoes... about $1,000 in the hole for someone else's good time. No sir... People start stealing my money and I'll fight them to the death with every resource I have — and thankfully, you have a lot of resources as a consumer to protect yourself, since unfortunately... fraud abounds these days and is an everyday thing for these companies to deal with. Your case won't be the first.

Just make sure you leave a paper trail. Keep copies of all receipts, documentations, copies of any emails or coorespondence between you and the merchant; and any dispute or challenges need to be sent via certified mail, so that you can prove that they received these dispute letters and failed to respond, or responded untimely, etc. Build your evidence up, it's a trial, and it's going to be your word against theirs — who is going to be better prepared? If they're sloppy and don't take the care to document and go to all this work... you may win just by the fact that you can prove these things, and they don't have anything to backup their claim of a bad debt. Good luck. Update this if you would, I'm sure others could benefit from your experience and steps that you take (and hopefully ultimately a positive outcome.)

Oh, and don't forget the and another good resource

Hope that helps you out, my friend.

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