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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