on Writer Beware:
One of the few remedies available for writers who’ve been ripped off by scammers is to file a payment dispute.
This is possible if you’ve used a credit card or PayPal, and are within the window of time in which a dispute is permitted. Credit card companies are required by law to give consumers up 60 days from the time they receive their bill to dispute a charge, though many companies allow for a longer 120-day period (the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau maintains a database of US credit card company agreements where you can look up your company and see what their policy is). For PayPal, the dispute window is within 180 days of purchase.
Here’s a useful primer on how to dispute a credit card charge. Paypal’s dispute procedure is here.
In other words, you must act promptly–which rules out situations where the scam only becomes apparent over a longer period of time (although, from personal experience, credit card companies will sometimes honor disputes beyond the 60- or 120-day window if you can make a strong enough case). And results are not guaranteed. But disputes are at least a potential avenue for getting your money back in some circumstances.
Scammers have figured this out–especially the publishing/marketing/fake literary agency scammers that are such a plague right now. Increasingly, they’re not allowing credit card or Paypal payments, and instead are requiring their victims to pay via wire transfer or a peer-to-peer payment app like Zelle, Venmo, or Cash App. Why? Because these payment methods offer almost no accountability and in most cases, cannot be canceled or disputed.
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Reblogged this on Jeanne Owens, author.
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