Chargeback allows you to ask your card provider to reverse a transaction if there's a problem with something you've bought on your credit or debit card.
You also have rights under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit if you spend more than £100 on your credit card.
But, for the lowdown on chargeback, read our guide.
Chargeback vs Section 75
Chargeback is not enshrined in law but is part of Scheme Rules, which participating banks subscribe to.
Debit cards It applies to all debit cards for goods costing less that £100, although exact rules may vary between the Visa, Maestro and American Express networks.
Credit cards Chargeback also applies to credit cards for goods costing less than £100. For all credit card transactions over £100 you also have rights under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
- Chargeback applies to all Visa, Maestro and American Express debit cards for goods costing less that £100
- You also have rights under Section 75 for goods costing more than £100 if paid by credit card
- Chargeback can apply if goods are damaged, not as described, or the merchant has ceased trading
When can chargeback be used?
Chargeback can be used in cases of goods not arriving, arriving damaged, arriving not as described, or where the merchant has ceased trading.
You can ask your card provider to try to claw back the money you paid or part of it using our template letter to make a chargeback claim.
If, for example, you ordered two items but only one arrived, you can ask for the money back on the item you didn't receive. But you can't claim back the cost of fixing a faulty item.
Chargeback doesn't mean there is joint liability on the card company. Claims must be addressed to the bank that provides your debit or credit card, which in turn will put in a request to the merchant's bank.
As a result, you could get your money back from the merchant's bank if the money is there to be recovered.
But, there are no guarantees your bank will be able to recover the money through chargeback, or that the trader will accept that you were justified in taking the money back.
The trader could argue that you're in breach of contract for not paying.
Conditions of chargeback
The main requirement for getting your money back through chargeback is evidence that there's been a breach of contract.
Time limit There is a time limit on chargeback claims - typically 120 days - which starts from the day you become aware of a problem. There is also an overall cut off point of 540 days for Visa chargeback. Therefore, your deadline for requesting a chargeback is 120 days from discovering you have a problem, or 540 days from the transaction date, whichever comes first.
Shop/online purchase In the case of tangible goods that you've purchased from a high street shop or an online retailer, the time limit on chargeback would start from the day you receive your items.
Flight purchase In the case of an airline going bust after you've booked a flight, the breach of contract would be from the day the flight was due to depart. However, if an airline had told you at an earlier date that the flight would not be going ahead, the breach of contract that allows for chargeback would not apply.
If you have any trouble when putting in a claim to your credit or debit card provider, ask to speak to a supervisor.
Chargeback is not very well known about and some bank staff may not be aware of this rule.
If your card provider rejects your chargeback claim, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service within six months of your final correspondence.
PayPal and chargeback
Watch out if you use your credit or debit card to load money into your PayPal account or other similar online accounts, as it is the loading of the money that is considered to be the card transaction.
If the money that you load into your account is then subsequently used to buy goods and services, that transaction is not classed as a card transaction and is unlikely to be covered by chargeback.
If you're making a card purchase through PayPal it's best to empty your PayPal account regularly so there is no credit balance.
That way, when you make a card purchase through PayPal, the same amount will be debited from your bank account or credit card as goes immediately to the seller.
This will make it easier for your bank or credit card provider to match the purchase with the debit.