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Is Section 75 fit for purpose?

Section 75

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act is designed to protect you but as the legislation gets older more and more people are finding it hard to claim. Share your Section 75 claim stories here.

‘Section 75’ isn’t the cuddliest-sounding phrase, but it can be your best friend when something goes wrong with a purchase you’ve made on a credit card.

Part of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, Section 75 empowers you to be able to claim your money back from your card provider if something you bought doesn’t arrive, is faulty, or the retailer goes bust.

Imagine ordering a washing machine only to never be able to use it. If the machine breaks down or didn’t even turn up, Section 75 means even if, for whatever reason, the retailer can’t help, you could claim a refund from your credit card company.

Follow the advice on how to claim in our Section 75 guide and ensure you’re not out of pocket when the worst happens.

The small print

But wait, there’s a catch. Despite this, not every payment made on a credit card qualifies for Section 75 protection (although you can have paid any amount of that cost on the card to qualify for the protection). For example, the goods or service you’ve bought have to cost between £100 and £30,000 for the insurance to apply.

It’s also crucial that there’s a direct contractual link between the consumer, card provider and retailer or service provider. If there isn’t, you won’t be able to claim.

This can prove a major stumbling block if you’ve bought through an intermediary such as a travel agent, secondary ticketing site or third-party payment provider.

That’s why Which? is investigating problems readers face when trying to claim via Section 75.

Payment provider problems

The Consumer Credit Act is now over 40 years old, and today payments are processed in very different ways than they were when the law first entered the statute books. For example, it’s well-documented that Section 75 claims can run into problems when payments have been processed via PayPal (although payments made via PayPal may still qualify for its own buyer protection scheme).

We’ve also heard reports of claims being rejected because of the way the payment was processed behind the scenes – for example, where a retailer uses a processor, like Sum Up or iZettle to collect the payment. It appears that in some cases the way a payment is processed breaks the crucial direct link between the cardholder, card company and retailer supplying the goods or services.

Because the payment mechanism often runs in the background, the consumer may have no idea that the payment processor is involved, and may simply believe they’ve paid the retailer directly.

They only find out about it when they make a Section 75 claim, which the credit card company rejects. The problem appears to affect some payments made online as well as via card readers.

Your reclaim stories

Which? is investigating the problem to get clarity for consumers so they don’t end up out of pocket. We want to know what problems you’ve come up against when making Section 75 claims, including:

  • Purchases made through third party/agent involvement
  • Purchases made by additional cardholders
  • Incorrect, misleading or unclear advice about your claiming rights
  • Any other obstacle your claim faced

Please share your Section 75 claim stories in the comments below.

Comments
Member

Thanks for this information, Faye. I have not had to make a claim against a credit card company because I deal with the retailer. I have often been pushed to contact the manufacturer, in which case I politely explain that my legal rights lie with the retailer. Where retailers have been difficult I approach the manufacturer and explain that the retailer selling their products has refused to accept that I might have a valid claim. Manufacturers have no legal responsibility unless there is a safety issue, but they can be helpful.

Section 75 only covers purchases over £100 where at least part of the cost has been paid by credit card, I believe. For smaller amounts and payments made by debit card, using chargeback is an option: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-do-i-use-chargeback Thankfully I have not had to use this either, but was Which? Conversation that first made me aware of it.

Member
Hartlepool1945 says:
20 May 2017

Never had a problem claiming, but must add that when SpeedFerries went bust I had no trouble at all claiming back my Frequent Traveller subscription.

Member
Stanley Jackson says:
20 May 2017

I purchased a wine cooler from an online retailer, it failed and was replaced ,the replacement also failed. I asked the retailer for a refund but he declined until they had the opportunity to make a repair. I agreed and allowed an engineer to effect a repair, after 3 visits which all ended in failure, I attempted to contact the retailer for my refund only to find out that they had gone into administration.
Because I had paid for the item with a Credit Card I then pursued the card issuer under Section 75, unfortunately the will not accept my claim unless I forward them an engineer`s report which will cost circa £150 . The cooler cost some £240 leaving me with a total outlay of some £390 and no guarantee that they will accept the claim!

Member
Allan says:
20 May 2017

If the wine cooler failed within six months of purchase, there is a presumption that it was faulty when bought. The retailer (or in the case of S 75, the bank) can prove otherwise but the burden of proof is on them, not the purchaser. It is only if the goods failed after six months that the burden of proof switches to the purchaser.

Member
kenneth raine says:
20 May 2017

Section 75 ? Who does the Admin the companies or the consumer?

Member
Mike mahon says:
20 May 2017

Ordered a computer that did not arrive despite many excuses. Claimed via my Nationwide Visa credit card and money refunded very quickly. No problems at all. Mike

Member
Peter Golding says:
20 May 2017

I bought my wife a used Louis Vuitton handbag costing £600. It was not noticeable in the shop, but we quickly discovered it smelled (I think of smoke that had been disguised by deodorant of some sort). The seller refused to do anything about it and told me to get it professionally cleaned (at a cost of £90!). I put a claim in through HSBC whose card I’d used. I was told I’d have to wait weeks for a resolution but after about 6 weeks they refused saying it wasn’t covered by the scheme and the seller wouldn’t allow a refund!! So much for section 75. What made it worse was that I worked for HSBC/Midland for 26 years. The retailer laughed at me and told me to take them to court. The bank couldn’t care less and I got the impression it was a challenge for them to find a way not to pay. Perhaps I could have used Which? legal team!

Member
Faye Lipson says:
31 May 2017

Hi Peter, many thanks for sharing this experience. I’m really sorry to hear your claim was rejected. Do you remember what reason HSBC gave for saying the purchase wasn’t covered by Section 75?

Member

I am wondering whether the card issuer considered that there was no protection for the purchase of a used item as in such circumstances the buyer must exercise due diligence in examining the goods and consider whether the price was reasonable. However, in this case – or handbag to be precise – not only did the seller fail to indicate that there was any soiling of the handbag but it is suggested that an attempt had been made to conceal it or prevent it being noticed by spraying the inside with deodorant or a fragrance. That, if true, would be misrepresentation and a breach of the Consumer Rights Act for which action could be taken against the seller by the buyer but which should be avoidable by invoking S.75 of the Consumer Credit Act against the card issuer. The merchant client has possibly also broken the terms and conditions of their credit card handling agreement but that would be for Visa or Mastercard or other credit card service company to sort out.

So, as Faye Lipson asks above, it would be most interesting to know on what grounds HSBC have refused to make a refund. Notwithstanding the ‘used’ status of the luxury article for which due allowance does need to be made, it is arguable that the goods were also not of merchantable quality and possibly not fit for purpose if the inside is polluted or tainted in some way – that is not what one would reasonably expect to be the condition of a Louis Vuitton handbag even if sold as ‘used’ and would not be [and seemingly had not been] factored into the reduced price.

I would hope, Peter, that you are in a position to pursue this case against HSBC and I would suggest that you contact Citizen’s Advice and also try to make direct contact with your local trading standards service. I think if they took it up on your behalf there is every prospect that HSBC would settle with you before action. I can’t see how the bank could lose by conceding because they would merely recover the loss from the seller through the withholding of payments on their credit card sales.

Member
Ian Kirkman says:
21 May 2017

I am in the process of a Section 75 claim using the Which legal team and it is extremely stressful as the card provider keeps putting obstacles in the way despite being supplied with proof to the contrary. The latest one is stating that the complaint has only been with them since 3rd May and not 18th March when the dispute was first raised. The card provider states that on the 18th March I raised a dispute, but only raised a complaint about it on the 3rd May. Despite providing proof that the trader is also ignoring the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which is actually a criminal offence, the card provider, a well known High Street bank is ignoring the proof.

Member
Sarah pears says:
21 May 2017

We claimed for the cost of a treadmill which wasn’t calibrated properly and after months of complaining to the retailer we got nowhere. In the end we made a s75 claim to Barclaycard, who refunded us in full (£997). They didn’t want the treadmill either so we still have that. It was all very straightforward.

Member

I wonder what happens next. Does Barclaycard take any action against the retailer? Do they withdraw the card payment facility? Or do they just absorb the loss in their operating expenses and transfer it to card users through interest charges and to retailers through the merchant service charges?

Member
Londoner says:
21 May 2017

I booked a hotel overseas for a trip many months ahead. Amongst the hotel’s T&Cs was the payment for the room would be taken immediately. On returning from the trip, I found that my credit card had been charged following my stay, not at the time of booking. In the meantime, we had the Brexit vote and the value of Sterling had fallen. Accordingly the cost of my hotel had risen by £100. Rather then engaging with the hotel and dealing with foreign laws, I used Section 75 to claim this amount from my credit card company. As they rejected my complaint, I referred the case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). After considering the matter and seeking evidence from both sides, the FOS ruled in my favour. The credit card company also gave me a further £50 for not handling my complaint properly.

Member
Phil says:
21 May 2017

After the company from which we had ordered a leather settee went into administration before delivery I telephoned Tesco credit cards for a claim form to be advised that this would not be necessary as the details could be taken by telephone. Sfter giving the details the whole amount paid was refunded to the credit card within 24 hours. Excellent service.

Member
dave@york says:
22 May 2017

I ordered an ipad case via the internet, paying by credit card, just before sterling took the Brexit dive, and it seemed that the higher import costs had left the retailer unable to complete his sales at the quoted prices.
The retailer went silent and would not reply to emails or phone.
The Tesco Bank (issuers of the credit card) sent a form for us to complete, and after 6 weeks we received a credit for the money onto the card account.
Similar experience with the purchase of a phone unlock code. The seller was a scammer (“..unable to establish a code for your phone. A full refund will be credited”). No refund was forthcoming.
Tesco Bank dealt with this in a similar fashion.
The sums involved were relatively small (£25 and £9), and the bank possibly dealt with these as goodwill issues, whilst larger sums might have been dealt with differently.
How banks deal with S75 issues seems to be a good indicator of the standard of their customer service.

Member
Graham says:
23 May 2017

I have recently had a good experience / outcome for Section 75.

I booked a flight with Qantas Airlines directly, paying in Australian dollars. Since this was a flight between Australia and USA it was not covered by the European compensation scheme.

Because of a technical difficulty the plane was changed and my seat was downgraded. I should have received a partial refund automatically, but after several weeks and emails to Qantas nothing happened.

I asked American Express to intervene (quoting Section 75). I gave Amex full details of the problem. They initially advised me that it may take up to 6 weeks to resolve the situation.

Within 4 weeks I received a refund from Qantas. In their email there was no mention of any involvement by American Express, but I am certain that Amex were instrumental in expediting the refund.

Obviously American Express did not have to compensate me, so Section 75 was not actually invoked. However they persuaded Qantas to make the appropriate refund.

I do not know how other credit card companies would have handled the situation, but I am totally happy with the outcome and the help provided by American Express.

Member
M, F Cambridge says:
24 May 2017

Paid a deposit for work to be carried out on home improvements. Contractor/Joiner asked for deposit through his online payment method. Contractor never completed job and left us with unfinished and poor quality work. Tried to claim under Section 75 as I had paid with credit card, card company refused to cover costs/chargeback as Joiner received payment through paypal. Looks like I have been done over twice. Now we will have to pay another contractor to complete work from scratch with extra costs.

Member
Paul Whiteman says:
26 May 2017

I bought a multi ticket Channel crossing as I was planning retirement and was intending to travel frequently to France. I subsequently was offered a further multi ticket at an even cheaper price, which I bought, using my Cahoot credit card to buy both. The ferry company then went bust before I had even used one of the tickets. I contacted Cahoot who told me that they would attempt to arrange a chargeback. I told them that I wanted to make a Section 75 claim. They stated that they had no knowledge of that procedure! After my making various threats, I was told that they would have to investigate and that could take up to six months!

Having heard nothing at all, after six months I contacted them and informed them that if the money was not in my bank account within7 days, I would go to the banking ombudsman. With one day to go, the money for one ticket was refunded. I repeated what the deadline was and reluctantly they paid at the last possible moment.

Needless to say, I never used Cahoot again.

Member
Alan says:
20 July 2017

I paid a £100 deposit for a kitchen, 2 days later Comp went bust I telephoned credit card comp, and gave details; explained about it and voila! couple of days later £100 back in my account. Thank you MBNA, very efficient.

Member

Hi I have a question regarding trying to sue the banks for the recession. I entered into an agreement to buy a two bed apartment in Italy before the financial meltdown. Upon completion of the complex the banks led us into the recession resulting in myself losing my £34,000 deposit as the banks would not lend me the remaining amount for the mortgage. I tried all the UK banks and the Italian banks but could not secure the mortgage for the rest even though I had enough income and my credit rating was 100%. Are you able to guide me in the right direction. just thought id throw this one in folks. anybody got an idea ??? Yours thankfully James