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Ask an expert: How to dispute a rejected Section 75 claim

Find out how to take your Section 75 claim to the Ombudsman

Every week, Which?’s money experts answer your financial queries. You can submit your questions to money-letters@which.co.uk, or via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Q. I thought that Section 75 claims are supposed to be resolved within eight weeks. I wrote to M&S Bank to make a Section 75 claim using the Which? template letter, but 11 weeks later it still hadn’t replied.

I then took it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), but it said it couldn’t look into my case as making a Section 75 claim isn’t regarded as making a complaint.

It said I’d first have to tell M&S I was unhappy with the outcome of my Section 75 claim, and M&S would have eight weeks to respond. Is that right?

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A. There’s no set timeframe in which banks must resolve Section 75 claims, but if you’re unhappy with the outcome of the claim, or how long it’s taking, you can complain to your bank.

Your bank has eight weeks to deal with this complaint. You need to wait until the bank issues you with a final response, or the eight weeks have elapsed, before you can take the complaint to the FOS.

You can also approach the FOS before the eight weeks are up if the bank has given consent for you to do so.

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What is Section 75?

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which came into effect in 1974, states that the card provider is liable to refund you if something goes wrong with an item purchased on your credit card.

The item has to be worth £100 to £30,000 to be eligible for Section 75 protection. However, the card company is liable even if you made only part of the payment (a deposit, for example) on your card.

As long as there is a direct contract between the consumer, credit card provider and retailer or service provider, you can claim a refund. This might be on faulty goods, services that weren’t as described or purchases you didn’t receive, among other things. Section 75 is also useful if the company you bought an item from goes bust and you are owed a refund.

Section 75 doesn’t apply to debit cards, but you could use chargeback instead.

What’s the time limit for making a claim?

If you’re making a Section 75 claim in the UK, there isn’t a time limit. However, statute of limitations laws state you’ll have six years (five in Scotland) to make a claim through the courts.

What’s the quickest way of getting my money back?

It is usually quicker to request a refund directly from the retailer or service provider first before making a Section 75 claim. However, Section 75 provides a reliable alternative if you’re request from the retailer is ignored or refused.

Section 75 claims and the Ombudsman

If you’re unhappy with the outcome of your Section 75 claim, or how long it’s taking, you must first complain to your card provider. It then has eight weeks to deal with this complaint.

If your credit card company doesn’t accept your claim, you can ask for a letter of deadlock in order to take your dispute to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

If more than eight weeks have passed since you submitted your claim to your credit card provider, you can refer your claim to the FOS without the need for a deadlock letter.

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