Complain for change: use chargeback, get your money back?

by , Advocacy Assistant Consumer Rights 31 January 2013
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Last year, I bought tickets for a boat trip to the Olympic Park. But before the trip happened, the company went into administration. I tried to use ‘chargeback’ to get a refund, but what does it actually mean?

A pile of pound coins

Soon after I’d bought the tickets for the trip, the boat company got in touch to tell us they’d have to cancel our trip and that they’d refund us the money.

I didn’t think much of it, until I found out by chance a few months later that the company had gone bust. However, when I checked my bank balance, I realised I hadn’t had my money back yet. I wasn’t sure what to do. As the tickets were only £50, I knew wasn’t covered by Section 75.

Under Section 75, your credit card provider is just as liable as the company from which you bought your goods or services. So if that company goes bust without providing what you paid for, your credit card provider has to give you your money back (for a spend between £100 and £30,000).

When Section 75 won’t work

From working at Which?, I’d heard that the Visa chargeback scheme might be a better option. The chargeback scheme is run internally by Visa, Mastercard and Amex, but isn’t legally required of them (unlike Section 75). When you make a chargeback claim, your bank makes a request directly to the supplier’s bank (in my case, the boat trip company’s bank) to get your money back. However, a refund isn’t guaranteed.

So I decided to try going down the chargeback route. After some serious hunting around Nationwide’s website, I finally found a claim form. In fact, it was so hard to find, I had to email it to myself as a reminder – I knew I’d never find it again!

Overall, information on chargeback was difficult to find. A quick trawl around various bank’s websites did little to enlighten me. Visa has some information online explaining that chargeback exists, but I don’t think it’s enough. While chargeback is a voluntary agreement and not a legal requirement, I don’t think the banks should make it so difficult to find out more about it.

Can I keep my money?

I’ve since had a reply from Nationwide telling me they’ve credited my money back into my account. ‘Great!’ I thought, until I carried on reading. It turns out that Visa’s rules state your bank must credit you back your money while your claim is being investigated, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you get to keep it.

My letter says that if my dispute is declined by the company’s bank, there’s nothing Nationwide can do about it. As a result, they’ll take back the money they’ve refunded me. At the moment, I’m frustrated that it’s not clear when I’ll be told whether I can keep the money or not. They say they’ll give me seven days notice if they plan to reverse my refund, but I don’t think that’s good enough.

When it comes down to it, if I’m not happy with the way my bank resolves my claim, I can ask the Financial Services Ombudsman (FOS) to look into it – but hopefully it won’t come to that.

I’m interested to hear if you’ve tried to chargeback. Did you find the process difficult? Did you have a positive outcome, or are you still waiting to hear if you get to keep your money?

6 comments

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Sue

I bought a Jessops voucher for £50 with my Barclays Debit Card just before Christmas. Since then they have gone bust as you know (how convenient). I know I can claim back that money after reading the Which article and listening to Money Box, whether it will happen is another matter. But trying to get anyone from Barclays to respond has been very difficult but I persisted. At last they have sent me a claim form. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for your comment Sue – we’d be really interested to hear how you get on with your chargeback claim.

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SUNNYDAY

I’ve used the chargeback system twice with Nationwide and my money (once for an online bath with a crack) was refunded and never taken away.

I imagine if your claim is genuine your ok. Both instances I was using my debit card as I dont use a credit card.

I keep the claim form on my desktop ready for next time.

Thanks.

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Hades

Can you please point me to where on the Nationwide website i can find a chargeback claim form?
Regards

Hi Sunnyday, that’s a very sensible idea! I also should have saved the form as I’ve just checked my link for Hades, and it no longer works.

I guess if I have another chargeback query I will have to write to them with my evidence.

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Hades

Just had a reply from Nationwide regarding the charge back proceedure:
To investigate a payment dispute on your behalf you will need to contact our Visa Chargebacks department, which can be done by completing the following:
1. Select the ‘Manage’ tab
2. Select the ‘View or change my security settings’ tab
3. Now click on the underlined text which says ‘Report unusual activity on my account’
Now follow the on screen instructions to complete and send us the details.
To dispute a transaction you will need to contact us within 120 days from when the transaction debited your account.
I would like to thank you for contacting us.

Regards

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