Monday, 21st October, 2019

How to raise a chargeback dispute on a HDFC Bank Credit Card transaction and get your money back

So I had heard many horror stories in the past and it finally happened to me. After all these years of using a credit card I had finally been a victim of an online payment fraud using my HDFC Bank Business Regalia Credit Card. And I have been able to get my money back by following the official protocol & with the help of fine customer support team at HDFC Credit Card division. Below is the series of events that happened:

26th August 2019: I booked a hotel room in Doha, Qatar using the card from an online hotel booking agent Amoma.com

14th September 2019: Amoma.com emailed me, they said they are shutting down their business & my hotel booking might be cancelled by the hotel. They emailed me from a no-reply email address, and their website was shut down without any phone numbers or email address, so I did not have any method to contact them for any further questions.

16th September 2019: I emailed the hotel where I had booked the room. They replied same day that my booking was still valid. That assured me 100% & I didn’t have to worry about it any further.

5th October 2019: We landed in Qatar in a late night flight & reached the hotel in Doha with full confidence. They told me on the spot that my room booking was cancelled on 18th September 2019 because the agent Amoma.com did not pay them. Imagine my plight, in a foreign land, late at night, with my wife by the side, no room to stay!

I had to pay the hotel again a for the same room for the same number of days at a higher price. This was a clear case of fraud by Amoma.com, they took money from me but did not pay the hotel. Neither me nor the hotel was at fault.

6th October 2019: I emailed HDFC Bank’s credit card customer care at customerservices.cards@hdfcbank.com, with clearly describing all the events that happened, how I was victim of a fraud, and I asked for a charge back. They replied same day that my request has been forwarded to the concerned department & they will respond to me within 7 business days.

8th October 2019: I got email from their Credit Card Disputes division. They assured me that they have immediately initiated the necessary steps for investigation towards the disputed transaction intimated by me. And they asked me to provide 2 things urgently which will help hasten the investigation:

  • Copy of the order confirmation / agreement provided by the merchant confirming the date within which the goods / services were to be delivered.
  • Details of any written communication / documentary evidences which you had with the merchant in resolving the dispute.

So I replied to their email the same day within 3.5 hours. I provided them with specific facts & figures:

  • The date of transaction
  • The exact amount paid
  • Email from Amoma.com confirming the hotel booking
  • Email from Amoma.com mentioning the shutting down of their business
  • My inability to contact the merchant as there was no method of communication present & their website was closed
  • Email confirmation from the hotel itself of my booking still valid
  • Another email from the hotel to me confirming that I had to pay again to book the room because the agent had not paid them, so the booking was cancelled the first time. I had acquired this email by making a special request to the hotel management while I was staying there & explaining my problem.

I provided all these proof by converting the emails to PDFs, with proper naming & numbering the files in the order which I received them, so that it will be easier for them to understand.

11th October 2019: They replied saying a full fledged investigation was underway & they will reply to me within 7 working days.

21st October 2019: I waited for 7 working days, but did not receive any email. So I emailed them in the morning of 8th day. Upon not receiving any email reply till the evening I called credit card customer care phone number in the evening, and they informed me that the amount has already been refunded to me!

I logged into NetBanking account, checked the credit card charges & the disputed amount was indeed returned back to me on 15th October 2019. So they just did it silently. It was amazing! If you’re curious my amount was 27139 rupees.

So now you know how to raise a dispute on a payment done via credit card & initiate a charge back process. But fair warning: it will only work if it is a genuine case of non delivery of goods or services by a merchant despite your payment. Don’t try to game the bank, because you simply can not, you will fail.

Also the onus is on you to present your case to the customer care in a very clear & orderly manner which will make sense to them. So always save all kinds of proof of your online payments. Emails, physical bills, invoices, phone call recordings, everything helps. Scan them, make PDFs, attach them to the email.

Despite the payment being done more than a month ago they were still able to help me. So I learned banks can move mountains for their loyal customers who abide by their rules & pay their credit card dues in time. Protection from such fraudulent transactions is definitely one of the biggest reasons to use a credit card apart from other benefits such as cash backs.

Also note, during this period of investigation, I discovered that third party funds transfer facility was disabled on my bank account as an extra layer of security. So while I was able to receive money I was not able to send anyone any money. That was taken care of by one visit to my home branch & signing a fresh application form to re-enable third party fund transfer on my account. It only took 1 business day.

This entire experience has further increased my trust on HDFC bank, and their wonderful customer care team. I thank them & will continue to recommend their services to everyone.

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