Avoid unauthorized credit card charges

By Aaron Gilchrist  bio | email
Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Have you ever found a charge on your credit card or bank statement that you weren't expecting? Unauthorized charges is one of the top scams of 2009, but some credit card companies want to help you fight back.

ConsumerAffairs.com reports that companies like Visa know that there are scammers and bad businesses that charging you when you may not know it.

Visa is trying to help, focusing on free trial offers. Some present a negative option feature.

A company takes your failure to cancel as permission to begin charging.  A lot of companies use the process appropriately, others pre-check consent boxes, bury the details of the offers in the terms and conditions and make cancellations or returns hard to do.

That catches you in a cycle of recurring charges for products and services you don't want.

Visa has a few tips for online shoppers on how to spot deceptive free trial offers and negative option features:

Obviously, take time to read and understand all terms and conditions, so a free trial doesn't turn into a costly purchase you didn't intend to make.

Also, pay particular attention to any pre-checked boxes before you submit your card information. If you don't un-check the boxes, you could be bound to terms you don't want.

Review your statements when you get them for any unauthorized charges, and notify the card issuer about the charges.

Finally, try to resolve the situation with the merchant.

If that doesn't work, contact the card issuer to dispute the charge.

Now there is acceptable negative option marketing.  We put an explanation on the 12 on your side alert page at nbc12.com.

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