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