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Chargeback for credit and debit card purchases

Chargeback is a mechanism for your card issuer to reclaim money from the retailer’s bank.

This can allow your card issuer 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.

How chargeback works

Chargeback claims should be addressed to your debit or credit card issuer, who in turn will put in a request to the retailer's bank.

The process for managing chargeback claims is determined by a set of rules from American Express, MasterCard or Visa.

There are no guarantees your issuer will be able to recover the money through chargeback or that the trader will accept that you were justified in taking the money back.

Time limit

You should make a claim as soon as you identify the problem or are concerned about a transaction, as your card issuer 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.

Providing evidence

Your card issuer is required to provide evidence to the retailer’s bank to make a chargeback claim.

The evidence can be summarised in the form of a written letter or email from you or in a written form which the issuer fills in on your behalf following a discussion with you.

When you first contact your card issuer, 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 (in store, over the phone or online)
  • 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 issuer 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:

  • invoices
  • receipts
  • correspondence you have had with the retailer when trying to fix the problem.

Chargeback is not a legal right, unlike Section 75.

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