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Your Rights: Credit Card Protection

Here is the second edition of our ‘Your Rights’ series where we inform you of your legal rights as a consumer.

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974; an important but forgotten by many UK law.

Pay in part or full for something in person or online (in the UK or for delivery from overseas) costing between £100 and £30,000 on your credit card or store card and the card provider becomes equally liable with the retailer, airline or supplier if something goes wrong.

Some typical examples of purchasing:

• a sofa from a shop that goes into administration before delivery
• a picture from overseas that never arrives
• a washing machine and finding it faulty

Please note that transactions need to be made directly and NOT via a third party such as a travel agent or Pay Pal.

Should the entire bill or the item cost over £100?

The law as it stands pertains to the single cash value of a single item (so excluding any delivery charges etc)

Some helpful examples:

• If you purchase matching jewellery for £125 but the earrings, necklace and bracelet are all individually priced then you aren’t covered. However, if it is sold as a complete set then you are.
• If you purchase flights direct from an airline which is offered/advertised as an outbound flight for £89 and return flight for £19.99, while the total is over £100, neither individual ticket is over £100 so your are not covered. It would need to be sold as a single amount for a return journey to qualify.

As long as it costs more than £100, by paying even a fraction on a credit card, you’re protected.

For further information: www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/section-75-of-the-consumer-credit-act

What if you are unlucky enough to have a problem?

Try and contact the retailer or supplier, if they are being unhelpful, it may prove easier for you to go to your card provider and make a claim. Remember credit card companies have deeper pockets than small firms who will always make it difficult for you to get your money back especially if you are after a large amount of money.

In the unlikely event that your credit provider won’t help and you feel that you have a valid claim then contact the Financial Ombudsman to make a complaint.

For further information: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/pay-it-safe/index

Section 75a – Purchases above £30,000 on finance

With an upper limit of £60,260, for a purchase to be covered, the finance must be linked directly to an item so there is a clear relationship between the finance and the item purchased.

For example:

• A £50,650 sports car wouldn’t be covered if you’d used a credit card or taken out a personal loan as you could have used those to buy anything, however; a loan taken out with the dealership which was specifically for the car would.

There is a difference when it comes to complaining, under Section 75, you can complain to either the retailer/supplier or the credit provider as both are equally liable BUT under Section 75a, you need to have exhausted all attempts to get retribution from the retailer or supplier BEFORE you take your claim to the credit provider.

But what if I paid by a debit card?

Although not covered by Section 75, “Chargeback” is part of Scheme Rules that participating banks subscribe to and lets you ask your card provider to reverse a transaction.

The rule applies to all debit cards (please note that conditions may differ between cards) and is useful for items purchased on credit cards that fall below the £100 requirement of Section 75.

Where Chargeback differs is that there is no joint liability, your bank contacts the retailers or supplier’s bank to request the refund, there is no guarantee that the money can be recovered.

Conditions:

• You must prove that the retailer or supplier was in breach of contract, for example, the goods purchased did not arrive.

• There is a time limit of usually 120 days.
For airline tickets purchased where the company has gone bust, this starts from the date the flight was due.
For goods purchased in person or online the time starts from when you received your goods.

But what if I paid by Pay Pal?

If you use your debit or credit card to top up your Pay Pal account, it is the loading of your card that is counted as the transaction.

A tip is to check you Pay Pal account and ensure that there is a nil balance so that the amount debited from your card goes straight to the seller and matches the item purchased thus showing a direct line of purchase.

Pay Pal have their own payment protection both for the buyer (If an eligible online purchase doesn’t match the seller’s description or fails to turn up, you will be reimbursed for the full amount of the item including p&p) and the seller (If an unauthorised fraudulent payment is received or it’s claimed that a purchased item does not arrive, they will be reimbursed for the full amount of eligible sales)

For more information: www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/paypal-safety-and-security