Chargeback and Section 75
Paying with a debit or credit card can provide additional protection if something goes wrong.
It can often be quicker and easier to sort out any problem with the company you bought the goods or services from, even if the company has gone out of business but is continuing to trade (for example, through the appointment of administrators). Most retailers and service providers have well established returns, refunds, and complaints procedures. However, your debit or credit card provider may also be able to help.
What is a chargeback?
Chargeback exists for both credit and debit card purchases. It is a mechanism for your card provider to reclaim money from the retailer’s bank.
When would I use a chargeback?
Chargeback can allow your card provider to provide you with a refund in a number of circumstances, including:
- if you do not get the goods or services you paid for, including if the company has gone out of business
- if goods or services turned out to be faulty, counterfeit, or defective (you will need to return the goods in order to get a refund in this case)
- if you are charged the wrong amount, or charged twice by mistake
- if you are charged for a repeat payment after cancelling a subscription
What happens if the retailer has already dealt with my issue?
You won’t be refunded twice for the same purchase, so if you have received a refund from the retailer already, you can’t make a claim from your card provider.
How does chargeback work?
Chargeback is not a legal right (unlike Section 75). You should address a chargeback claim to your debit or credit card provider, which in turn will put in a request to the retailer’s bank. The process for managing these claims is determined by a set of rules from American Express, MasterCard or Visa. There are no guarantees your card provider will be able to recover the money through chargeback, or that the trader will accept that you were justified in having the money back.
How long do I have to make a chargeback claim?
You should make a claim as soon as you identify the problem or are concerned about a transaction. This is because your card provider usually needs to start the chargeback process within 120 days from when you made the transaction or when you were due to receive the goods or services.
Visa has an overall chargeback cut off date of 540 days from the date you initially sent the money
What do I need to give to my card provider?
Your card provider needs to provide evidence to the retailer’s bank to make a chargeback claim. The evidence can be in the form of a written letter or email from you, an online form completed by you on the card provider’s website, or a written form that the card provider completes following a discussion with you.
When you first contact your card provider, you should provide the following information:
- the name of the retailer you have paid money to
- the date you paid the money and how you paid it (e.g. in store, over the phone, or online – and if online, whether that was through a payment platform such as PayPal or Klarna)
- a detailed description of the goods or services you paid for (e.g. colour, brand, size of goods), and estimated delivery dates
- what has gone wrong with the goods or services delivery
- proof of the return of goods to the retailer, if they are faulty
- if you know that the retailer has gone out of business, you should direct your card provider to their website (where there will likely be a message from its insolvency practitioner).
Alongside the form, the issuer may need to provide other evidence – and they may contact you after your first discussion with them to obtain this. This can include:
- correspondence you have had with the retailer when trying to fix the problem
- the retailer’s terms and conditions
When using a credit card, you also have what is known as Section 75 protection. If it applies, your card provider may be equally responsible for compensating you as well as the retailer or supplier.
When does it apply?
This law (part of the Consumer Credit Act 1974) protects you if you use your credit card to buy something costing over £100 and up to £30,000.
If you paid with your credit card, you may be legally entitled to get some or all of your money back if:
- the product or service is faulty
- the company you bought the product or service from breaks their contract with you
- the company you bought the product or service from does not deliver what they have promised (also known as a misrepresentation).
If the above applies you may be entitled to your money back even if the company has gone out of business and ceased trading.
You are even able to claim if you only used your credit card to pay for part of the cost of what you bought.
You will need to prove your claim. The retailer’s terms and conditions, and/or details of what was said during any transaction that you have relied on, will be important in helping you.
There can be complex legal and factual issues arising and each case will depend upon its own facts.
What does it cover?
If it applies, the protection may cover the cost of your original transaction and any losses you have over and above the original amount you paid. For example, if an airline goes out of business and you incur additional costs to get back home, you may be able to claim these (although it may depend on what the airline’s terms and conditions say about other losses).
How do I claim?
You should address a Section 75 claim to your credit card provider.
How long have I got?
You should make a claim within six years of buying the goods or services or, in cases of non-receipt, when you were due to receive them.
What do I need to prove my claim?
You should provide your credit card provider with:
- details of the purchase
- details of anything that was said that you have relied on
- any contract you were given
- any other correspondence you have had with the retailer when trying to fix the problem.
What’s not covered by Section 75?
Section 75 does not always apply. For example, you may not be covered in the following situations:
- where goods or services are purchased on other credit arrangements not involving a credit card or other regulated credit agreements. For example, money transfers, credit card cheques, unregulated credit such as that provided by retailers at point of sale, and cash withdrawals will generally not be covered
- where you paid for something for someone else and the contract with the retailer is not with the cardholder
- where goods or services are bought through a payment processor. This applies to buying through a payment platform like PayPal; through an online marketplace retailer like Amazon Marketplace (when you are buying a third parties’ goods through Amazon); or (depending on the particular terms) through an agent like Expedia. However, these organizations may have their own payment protection systems in place and you should check with them directly
- where you buy goods and services with a gift card, even if that gift card has been paid for by a credit card. However, where you are unable to use a valid gift card, for example, because the company has gone out of business and is no longer trading, you should be able to recover the cost of the gift card through Section 75 if its value is more than £100.