The promises were huge. A swipeable e-ink touch screen, chip and swipe technology, and a 30 day battery life. Never again would consumers have to carry a wallet full of cards, they promised. Plastic would replace them all. But they kept pushing out the promised delivery date; a red flag.
Redditers were hot on their case. Some called Plastc a scam. And many warned backers (like myself) to ask for their money back. But then came the Chapter 7 bankruptcy announcement yesterday.
Here’s the nitty gritty on why you can still initiate a credit card dispute, based on card network. Skip to the bottom for a step-by-step guide on getting your money back:
You are still within the allowable window to initiate a dispute with your Visa card issuer to get your money back.
According to Chargebacks911, sourced from Visa and confirmed by my bank:
Chargeback Reason Code 30 – Services Not Provided or Merchandise Not Received. The chargeback time limit is calculated based on one of the following:
– 120 calendar days after the transaction processing date
– 120 calendar days after the last date the cardholder expected to receive the goods or services (not to exceed 540 days of the transaction processing date)
– 120 calendar days after the cardholder realizes the goods or services will not be provided (not to exceed 540 days of the transaction processing date)
The issuer must wait to process the chargeback until 15 calendar days have passed from:
– The transaction date if the a specific delivery date for goods or services was not provided
– The date the cardholder attempted to return merchandise that was delivered late
In other words, if you pre-ordered Plastic on or after October 29, 2015, you are still eligible to dispute the charge since you are still within the 540 day window of the transaction processing date (as of the date of this post). And given that the company did not provide the merchandise and last promised a delivery date of Q4 2016 or Q1 2017, you’re also within the 120 days of the last date backers expected to receive the item. Chances of getting a dispute approved and getting your money back is high.
If you used a MasterCard, things get tougher. Their dispute window is narrower. Also from Chargeback911:
Chargeback Reason Code 4853 – Cardholder Dispute, Defective/Not as Described The chargeback time limit is calculated based on one of the following:
– 120 calendar days after the Central Site Business Date
– 120 calendar days after the delivery date of the merchandise or services
– For payments of interrupted, ongoing services, the maximum time limit is 540 days after the Central Site Business Date
In my opinion, backers who used a MasterCard credit card for their pre-order could argue that Plastic is an ongoing service, as it was promised as a subscription service. But the subscription itself was never started. Please post in the comment section if you were successful in making this argument.
American Express & Discover
While MasterCard holders may have some problems with a dispute in this case, American Express and Discover Card holders are in luck. There doesn’t appear to be a time limit on disputes.
How to get the dispute process started
Step 1: Call your card issuing bank and tell them what happened. Ask to initiate a dispute
Step 2: Ask the representative to explain the timeline for resolving a dispute
Step 3: Sit back and wait for a follow-up. You may have to sign a form. More likely, you’ll get the money back within 90 days.
Bottom line: always use a credit card for every purchase. The ability to dispute a transaction is one of the biggest benefits of a credit card. Debit cards will not provide the same level of protection.
Additionally, when pre-ordering items like Plastc, always assume you will not get the product. Giving money to a company to develop a product should be treated as a donation.
And for those who keep an eagle eye on which credit card to hold, this situation is a great reminder that Visa, American Express, and Discover have some of the most generous dispute terms.
**Update 6/13/2017: My dispute/chargeback case (Visa) has now closed and I have received a full refund on my purchase.**