credit card liaiblity

hi again all,

involved in an odd situation here.

a friend of mine - who doesnt have a credit card - needed to rent a vehicle for a time. his grandfather went to the rental agency with him and let him use his card for the deposit of $250.

a month later, the car rental company billed the entire amount - over $1000.00 - to the grandfather’s credit card.
it was only supposed to be used as a deposit and the son to pay the balance with an invoice.

the credit card company doesn’t want to do a chargeback, even though it was understood and on the rental agreement that the $250 was a deposit.

what can the grandfather do? do credit card companies have to honor chargeback requests/complaints? there never was authorization to charge the entire car rental price onto the credit card. isn’t this illegal for the rental agency to do?

thanks in advance…


Well, I’ve got to ask - if the grandson was prepared to pay the invoice, why doesn’t he just pay off grandpa’s credit card bill? That seems to me the obvious solution.

The car rental company required a credit card deposit and yet agreed to invoice the full amount to a kid with no credit cards of his own and apparently no credit history? Hmmmmm. Somehow, I think there is more to this story.

Grandpa can contest the payment by writing to the credit card company - most have a form and instructions for this sort of thing with the bill - and explaining the exact circumstances. Depending on the strength of his argument and how long he has been a customer of the cc company, they might decide to reverse the charge.

But really, this is the grandson’s mess - his grandpa was just being a nice guy - and he should be the one to straighten it out. If he showed up at the car rental place with cash in hand to pay the bill, they would probably be amenable to putting through a credit for grandpa.

A typical car rental angency does not give you an invoice. When you return the car, they give you a bill. The friend had a choice of paying the bill, with nothing charged to the credit card, or putting the bill on the credit card.

Well, this isn’t an easy situation.

First, you can tell the credit card company that it was a mistake to be charged - the credit card company MUST charge it back to the vendor and the vender would have to sue the owner of the card for the money.

It’s one of the very few laws that most people know about. Seek a secured transactions attorney who will charge you $30 to find the site - then call up the credit card company and tell them you know better - and that they need to charge it back because you won’t pay it.


Tiburon - That information is absolutely wrong. There is no law, at least on a Federal level, which mandates credit card companies honor all chargeback requests. Here are the facts:

  1. Federal law gives consumers the right to dispute items on their credit card statement for two reasons - billing errors and “claims and defenses”. The following State of Wisconsin site explains the law very well:

  2. The credit card company reviews the claim. They may ask for documentation form the merchant, customer, or both in order to complete the investigation. During the investigation period the amount in dispute may not reflect on your balance due and may not accrue interest.

  3. The credit card company makes the decision to grant the chargeback or not. If the merchant does not agree with the decision he may take the customer to court. If the customer does not agree with the decision he may appeal to his state consumer protection agency or take the merchant to court. The State of Wisconsin site linked above gives the following advice:

In other words, some chargeback requests will be denied and the customer will need to fight the battle on another field.

To the OP, starfish is right. In my experience when the car is returned the rental company asks how you would like to settle the bill. You can leave it on the card, pay cash, or write a check. The only reason they want a credit card for the deposit is so that they have some recourse should you steal or damage the car. It sounds to me like jri’s friend is putting one over on Gramps.

Oh yes there was! Read the fine print on the contract. A standard rental contract will have a clause reserving the right to charge your credit card with the balance of the transaction, plus damages.

I just have one thing to add regarding disputed charges on your CC.

In order to dispute the charge, you MUST put it in writing and mail it to the credit card company. Every credit card agreement I have says this in the fine print. Calling them isn’t good enough, even if they say they’ll take care of it. I’ve heard of people having problems due to dumb operators. When you write them, until you recieve something back IN WRITING saying whether you have to pay it or not, then you don’t have to pay the disputed amount. I’m pretty sure this is for ALL credit cards, I have yet to see one without it. Read the agreement to find out what to put in the letter. I’ve never had a disputed charge, I’m just saying what I’ve read in the agreements.

I think the grandpa should take it up with the grandson. This wasn’t a fraudulent charge, and the credit card company can still hold the grandfather liable for the amount. Sending a letter will only delay it (depending how long it takes for them to write back).