How do you get your money back if you buy goods abroad that turn out to have a problem when you get them home? That’s the problem Catherine Ward posed when she came to us for legal advice.
Catherine bought an 18-carat gold emerald ring as part of a set costing £1,935, while on holiday in Colombia. But the ring had a fault, invisible to the naked eye, that made it unwearable.
The problem was only detected when Catherine got home to England and took the ring to a jeweller to have the emeralds authenticated.
What the fault was and how much it cost to repair
The jeweller estimated that it would cost £1,200 to have the ring remade to prevent the stones damaging each other.
It would have been difficult to seek a remedy from the seller in Colombia so, as Catherine had bought the ring using a credit card, she asked its issuer, the Co-operative Bank, for help. But Catherine says it refused and suggested she pay for the repairs herself. At this point she came to Which? Legal for help.
What we advised Catherine
Our lawyers confirmed that even though Catherine had bought the ring in Colombia she could still go to the Co-operative Bank with the claim. We suggested she write to the bank again, this time stating her legal position and requesting it offer remedy as it had to.
The Co-operative Bank agreed to pay the repair cost and Catherine got back the remade ring at the end of 2014, a year after her trip to Colombia.
What the law says about how you can make a claim
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 makes the credit card issuer liable, along with the seller, if there has been a breach of contract or misrepresentation. This applies to goods worth more than £100 and up to £30,000, where you paid at least part of the price on a credit card.
The card issuer would be liable to offer a solution to you in such a situation and you could seek either a refund, or a repair or replacement of the item.
For any purchases made abroad, your rights would be subject to local law, which would differ from UK laws.
But the card issuer would probably consider whether the circumstances amounted to a breach of contract or misrepresentation under UK law.
Have you bought goods on a credit card and had to reclaim the cost from your provider? What was the reaction?