Which? exposes poor credit card claims adviceCompanies fail to pass test in 71 out of 120 calls

23 January 2011

Store cards for high-street credit

Many high-street retailers offer store credit cards

Credit card companies are regularly giving consumers false or misleading information when they call to make a credit card claim enquiry, according to new research from Which?.

In an undercover investigation, Which? researchers found that 71 out of 120 calls to credit card companies failed to give researchers useful and correct advice about making a claim.

Mystery shoppers called the 12 biggest credit card providers to ask on behalf of a friend or relative about making a claim for goods bought or ordered using a credit card. Only ten out of the 120 advisers mentioned Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act by name, and our researcher was given the correct money limits for claiming on Section 75 in just one of the 120 calls.

'Claim through ATOL for your undelivered sofa'

Many of our researchers were given incorrect information about where they could reclaim their money or get more help. Lloyds TSB told the caller to contact the Ministry of Justice, Barclaycard recommended their local authority and NatWest suggested pursuing the claim for an undelivered sofa through ATOL, the insurance scheme that covers airline failure.

Although there is no time limit to putting in a Section 75 claim, many advisers cited the Visa chargeback time limit of 120 days, and one Lloyds TSB adviser even quoted a week.

Two credit card providers failed 10 telephone tests

Tesco and Nationwide were particularly poor – not one call to them passed the Which? test. Our researchers found HSBC staff particularly unhelpful. MBNA were the best of a very bad bunch, passing our test in seven out of ten calls - more than any other firm.

Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith says: 'It’s not as if the rules on credit card claims are complicated. This situation is unacceptable - companies must accept that advice really matters. Consumers are potentially missing out on money they’re owed because they’ve been misinformed. The industry must know the rules, and it shouldn’t be up to the consumer to remind them of their rights.'

Take action to get the most from your credit card

Which? is writing to each of the 12 credit card providers we investigated to suggest ways they can improve the information they give consumers.

People who want to make a claim against their credit card provider can find sample letters in our free guide .

For more details on section 75, read our news story 10 things you need to know about section 75 and chargeback.

Which? debt, credit and loans surgery

Which? Money is running an online debt, credit and loans surgery between 12pm and 1.30pm on Monday 31 January. Which? members can ask our panel of experts all their credit and debt questions.

Whether you're looking for the best credit card to use abroad, hunting for the best personal loan, want to ask about credit card protection or need independent help in finding the best debt advice service, sign up now for an email reminder and join us on the day with all your questions.

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