I’m the type who reviews my credit card statements and reconciles them with my receipts and online orders. Occasionally I run into puzzling issues and end up calling the vendor or credit card company to verify, clarify or challenge a mysterious charge on my bill. However, I hate wasting time on a customer service call (or chat), and would much rather solve the mystery myself when I can.

This post is a way for me to remember the clever trick I discovered today and to share it with the world. ‘Cause I’m generous like that. You’re welcome. (Post last updated 11/08/2019; be sure to scan the comment section for more tips not included in the main article.)

The problem: A charge on your credit card that doesn’t match up

Have you ever had a charge from Amazon.com on your credit card that doesn’t match any orders around the date that your card was charged? I’ve found a few common situations — and some clever ways to verify them without bothering Amazon customer service. (Here’s a shout-out to Mark of Amazon customer service, who revealed one of these clever tricks to me… Hi, Mark!).



TO CLARIFY, based on feedback from a reader:
In the text below I refer to Amazon charges “for shipments”. I’m not talking about Amazon charging “for shipping”, since most of us using Amazon regularly have Amazon Prime and get free shipping. I’m talking about the charge that goes on a credit card for the items in that shipment.


Scenario #1 – An item with an order date significantly distanced from its ship date (the credit card is usually charged when it ships)

Often, this is easily reconciled by looking at orders within 5 days before/after the credit card charge date. But if that doesn’t give you any orders that match the charge, try using their Order Reports feature.

Go to Amazon.com and navigate to your Account > Download Order Reports.

Amazon.com > Your Account > Download Order Reports

Set the report dates for anything 1-2 months before/after the credit card charge.

Amazon.com Order Report data parameters

Download the CSV file and then do a search for the charge amount. Usually that will solve the mystery. (And if not, you can resort to Amazon’s email, phone or chat support options.)

PRE-ORDERED E-BOOKS:

(This section added to this post 12/14/16) Pre-ordered e-books have proven quite tricky. Let’s say I pre-order an e-book on November 3 and the book is released November 15. Everything in my Amazon Order History for Digital Orders says November 3. The invoice, the order record, everything. And yet, my credit card is not charged until November 15.

While I’m thankful that they don’t charge me until they actually deliver it, it’s horrible that there is no record of that charge date anywhere related to my order. Downloading an order report won’t help. Viewing the invoice to check the date it was actually delivered won’t actually tell me. TIP: The only thing that helped me solve this scenario was clicking on the book title, which then tells me at the top of the page, “You purchased this item on November 14.” Well, that’s not exactly true, either, but at least the date is close enough to the credit card charge (and for the correct amount), so the mystery is solved.

Scenario #2 – An order with multiple items that ship separately from each other

(This section updated 10/30/2019 to reflect current Amazon interface) Sometimes the confusion enters because of how Amazon groups the orders for shipping.

Let’s say you put in an order and the total is $79, but three items ship for a total of $36, and a week or two later another item ships for $17, and then a week after that the last item ships for $26. When you scan your orders, it’s possible you won’t find one on the date you expect it (close to the original order date) AND/OR you won’t find any orders at all with the $17 charge because of how Amazon summarizes the orders.

The best way I’ve found to illuminate this situation is to find an order that shows as having several separate ship dates (and one of them around the charge you’re reconciling), or several items grouped with the same delivery date.

Click on the Order Details button.

Amazon order details

Then either click on the Transactions link (to quickly check for credit card transactions) or the View/Print Invoice button, to see full details on what items shipped together on what dates, individual item prices, tax, and credit card transactions.

Amazon order details

The invoice will outline the charge for each part of the order as they shipped and clearly show at the bottom the exact credit card charge amounts associated with it and the dates they were charged (see below).

Amazon invoice summary

Scenario #3 – Recurring subscriptions

(Post edited 12/14/2016 to include this third scenario:) Another common oversight is recurring subscriptions. The annual Amazon Prime membership charge itself is one. Under “Orders” if you click on “Manage Prime Membership”, you can see the last payment date and the next time it’s due for renewal.

Check under “My Account > Digital Content” and review “Your Video Subscriptions” or “Your Digital Subscriptions” and see if the mystery credit charge shows up there. I don’t know why they don’t include these items in your downloadable report, but they didn’t as of the writing of this update. So if you have a monthly video subscription to a service like Acorn TV, it will be listed here for the months it was active, and you can view receipts to verify the amount.

The Easiest Way to Find Charges Matching Your Credit Card Statement (Hint: It’s not the Amazon order reports)

(Post edited 10/30/2019 to add this tactic:) Even though Amazon offers downloadable order reports, there are several different types and it’s hard to know which one will make it easiest to find the transaction you’re looking for. In the end, there’s a simple workaround that saves me a lot of time:

Save every Amazon order shipping confirmation email that you receive. Archive it if you want to get it out of your inbox, but save it. And then, when you find a rogue transaction from Amazon on your credit card statement, search for the exact dollar amount in your email archive. When you find it, the email should contain a link to the order details in your Amazon account (sadly, the emails don’t currently list the items and details), which you can use to verify things.

I’m still a fan of Amazon.com

It’s not fun to find mysterious charges on your credit card statement. I hope this helps someone (or myself in the future) when troubleshooting an unknown charge from Amazon.com on a credit card.

That said, I really enjoy the convenience and excellent service that Amazon provides, and when I do need to get help from their customer service, I’ve always been impressed with their responsiveness and willingness to please me.

Have a tip to add? There are some good ones in the comments below, so keep reading if the above didn’t help!