Key Post Your rights to refunds when paying by credit cards and debit cards

Discussion in 'Banking, credit cards, etc' started by Brendan Burgess, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    If you are paying for a holiday or buying something for later delivery, you should always pay be debit card or credit card. If the company goes out of business before the product or service is delivered, the card provider will refund you.

    In Ireland, people have used this to get refunds in the following cases

    • retailers going bust
    • Airlines closing down e.g. Oasis Hong Kong
    • holiday companies closing down (You should also be covered by the bonding scheme)
    • gyms closing down - e.g. Total Fitness refunded unused portion of subscriptions
    What are the rules covering these refunds?

    I have checked with AIB Visa and with IPSO (The Irish Payment Services Organisation) and they are not written down anywhere. There are rules for the merchants but these aren't very useful.

    In the UK, Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes the card provider jointly and severally liable for your purchase. There is no such provision in the Irish Consumer Credit Act. The refund is paid at the discretion of the credit card provider. The UK Cards Association has produced Credit Cards - Your rights - a consumer guide I haven't found anything similar in Ireland.

    These (unwritten) rules are similar for all credit and debit card providers
    It doesn't matter whether you use Visa card, Master Card or Amex.
    It doesn't matter if you use a Visa Credit Card or a Visa Debit Card

    The terms and conditions say very little
    Here are the terms and conditions from ptsb which seem to limit ptsb's liability

    AIB says even less

    My own Visa Debit card says a bit more (August 2013)

    The chargeback process is usually fairly efficient
    Most people have had positive experience of chargebacks.

    You usually have to put your request in writing which is fair enough.

    They may ask for evidence e.g. that the airline is gone into liquidation

    Don't be put off by what the customer service department tells you
    There have been cases where the card provider has told the caller that they had no right to a refund. If this happens, ask to speak to a supervisor.
    Example 1 Example 2

    You can also go to the Financial Services Ombudsman, if they don't refund you.

    Clearly you have a right to have errors fixed
    If a retailer charges you twice, you don't need a set of rules to claim a refund.

    Fraud is a bit more complex
    If you have been careless and the fraudster uses your pin, then you may have difficulty getting a refund. In practice, the card providers are flexible and generous with their refunds, but obviously they have to protect against the card owner trying to defraud them.

    Disputed charges/Faulty products
    What if a car hire company charges you for damage to a car and you say it was not damaged? I assume that this is between you and the car hire company as you gave them authority to make such charges.

    What if you buy something and it is delivered but is not as described? The card company probably won't refund this as you need to sort it out with the retailer. In some cases, the card company will actually initiate the charge back and leave it up to the supplier to dispute the charge back.

  2. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Has anyone good or bad experience of charge backs to report?

    I am especially interested in the grey areas e.g. the goods were damaged.

    Has anyone taken a dispute to the Financial Ombudsman?
  3. horusd

    horusd Frequent Poster

    In brief: I recently returned from South Africa where I had hired a car. I had booked it thru a London agent, (Atlas) which apparently went belly-up whilst I was away. I had paid them €321.55 for the car hire. The car hire company, Dollar Thrifty (DT), charged me circa €853 without contacting me or offering any explanation as to why. I only discovered the charges when I got home. There then followed a series of emails to DT and calls to PTSB Visa department asking them to 'chargeback' the amount DT had taken from my Visa account without my agreement. I received 'holding letter from Visa saying they were awaiting documents from DT and they had 30 days to respond. In the interim, DT were effectively stonewalling me. I did, eventually, find out from them that they were charging me this amount solely because Atlas had gone bust, tho how they came up with charging me more than twice the amount I had paid to Atlas was never explained. They eventually agreed to 'only' charge me the amount I had paid to Atlas on the basis that I should be able to claim the €321 back from Visa. I wasn't delighted with this, but it was better than nothing. However, they subsequently reneged on this and were insisting on charging me around €450 mark, and in the meantime, Visa had not acceded to my request to 'chargeback' the disputed amounts.

    A barrage of emails to DT didn't succeed in establishing on what basis they arrived at the amount they finally settled on. As I had heard nothing whatsoever from PTSB Visa since their initial reply, I called them during the week to find out what was happening. I was promised a call back (I'm still waiting) but I see from my online account today that they have 'charged back' the entire amount paid to DT. I understand this may be a temporary measure while they examine the basis of the charges or whatever process they need to go through. I have tried to Google charge back info on line and it is very scant. The small amounts of information on it don't outline the process terribly well. I did come across an article by Conor Pope of the Irish Times that is informative. See: I'll post updates as they occur, however I have to say I'm pleased that DT have had some manners put on them by having the charges reversed. I think companies that are entrusted with card details have a strong duty of care to the customer, and maybe 'chargeback' will help them act more conscientiously and respectfully in how they manage that trust.