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409. Can mail-order merchants charge my credit card before they ship?




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This article is from the Credit cards and Consumer Credit FAQ, by adams@spss.com (Steve Adams) with numerous contributions by others.

409. Can mail-order merchants charge my credit card before they ship?

According to Janet Hug of Visa USA, "a merchant is not permitted to
bill ahead of time" except in case of a deposit or down payment that
the customer agrees to. (phone call from Visa USA, 12 May 1992)

MasterCard said in a letter that a merchant can charge you before
shipment only if s/he tells you and you agree to "the terms and
conditions of the sale."

American Express said the merchant can charge your card as soon as
you give your account number; but if you receive the bill before the
merchandise, call Amex customer service and you don't have to pay
while they investigate. (phone call to Amex, 16 May 1992)

 

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previous page: 408. I paid by check, and the merchant wrote my credit-card number on the back. If the check bounces, can the merchant charge my card?
  
page up: Consumer Credit and Credit Cards FAQ
  
next page: 410. Is there any official document that I can take with me to show merchants who violate the credit card rules?